Singapore and Asia is a profile of the city-state of Singapore in the context of 21st century globalization. The father-and-son co-authors present Singapore as an example of a multiracial society with a highly developed economy that offers an alternative to Western models of globalized societies.
The book covers Singapore’s historical background, as well as recounting social and economic developments in Asian, European and American history. The reader learns about medieval Europe, current Chinese ecological policy and the Cold War space race to provide parallel development stories in a variety of sectors. The book also attempts to define an alternate form of globalization based on the idea of constructive postmodernism. The authors define this concept as a modern recognition of the limits of modern science and philosophy and offer the idea that indigenous Asian belief systems such as Taoism and Buddhism could provide a more reliable guide forward than Western beliefs.
In attempting to establish a broad context for the presentation of modern-day Singapore, the authors touch on an unmanageably wide range of topics, from ancient civilizations to the Arab Spring and the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster of 2011. There is very little original research or material in the book, with most footnotes referring to international news articles published in Singapore’s English-language newspaper Straits Times. Furthermore, the idea of constructive postmodernism is presented as crucial yet remains so vague and undefined as to be meaningless.
The book suffers from uncertain use of English, with repeated mistakes and use of slang expressions (e.g. numerous references to the US as “top dog”) that seem inappropriate in an academic context. There are also numerous mistakes in names such as “Golden Sachs” (Goldman Sachs) and former U.S. Vice President “El Gore” (Al Gore).
Singapore and Asia ultimately casts its net too wide and, in trying to be encyclopedic, is too superficial to provide the in-depth examination of the issues it raises.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.