The Naysayer's Book Club: 26 Singaporeans You Need to Know
"An inspiring collection of interviews with respected Singapore civil society activists. Not only do we hear how they came to be, why they do what they do, we take a peak into their bookshelves to understand the ideas that galvanised them. A book lover’s book!"
—Tan Pin Pin, director of In Time to Come and To Singapore, with Love
Book of the Year, 2019 Singapore Book Awards
In 26 conversations with 26 naysayers, this book is aimed at reflecting the spectrum of naysaying in Singapore's civil society. Each person is interviewed against the backdrop of his or her bookcase, putting front and centre a life of ideas and imagination.
This is a book club for curious minds.
"We need more naysayers... We need to create new formulas, which you can't until you attack and challenge every sacred cow."
— Kishore Mahbubani, former dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
Tan Tarn How
William SW Lim
Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib
Thum Ping Tjin
"Right book, right time; read and be inspired by the naysayers in our midst as they battle against the odds."
—Ismail Kassim, political journalist and author of No Hard Feelings
"The 26 essays are inspiring accounts of the subjects: who they are, what they are, what they do, their exemplary efforts to speak up and their brushes with the law and the authorities in a society constrained by a matrix of repressive laws. Edifying and a must-read, especially for civil society activists."
—Peter Low, human rights lawyer and founder of Peter Low & Choo LLC
"I was not disappointed in the depth and authenticity of the interviews… The chapters on Sonny Liew, the award-winning comic book maestro, and Thum Ping Tjin, the controversial historian who startles with his honest interpretation of history, will be among those I will turn to first."
—Clement Mesenas, journalist and author of Dissident Voices and The Last Great Strike
"In Singapore there is a fine line between co-option by the establishment and ostracism by society. These delightful vignettes are about the brave men and women who tread it—often at great personal cost—expanding our collective imagination in ways the elite never can. Instead of calling for more naysayers, Singapore would do well to listen to those it already has."
—Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh, author of Floating on a Malayan Breeze
"Simon captures the other ways of thinking in Singapore with these rich and colourful profiles, revealing to us a Singapore that could have been, or perhaps a Singapore that might someday be. Naysayer's is a book about those who swim against the flow, but it isn’t about tiredness; it’s about hope."
—Daniel Yap, publisher of The Middle Ground
"My Singapore book of the year is The Naysayer's Book Club—what wonderful, bibliophilic counter-discourses Simon Vincent has assembled. A much needed alternate reading list."
—Joanne Leow, literary scholar and writer
About the Author
Simon Vincent is a multimedia journalist who covered the 2015 general election, among other news, for Six-Six News and is currently a freelance writer. His work has also appeared in The Middle Ground, Yahoo! News and other media. A graduate of the National University of Singapore, he has also dipped his toes in civil society, with Maruah and the Singapore Advocacy Awards. During National Service, he picked up a habit of reading and has since amassed a collection of a few hundred books.
Size: 152mm x 225mm
Published: April 2018