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Launch of Men in White – The untold story of Singapore’s ruling party

Singapore, 27 August 2009 – Men in White, a new book narrating the story of the People’s Action Party (PAP) through the voices of the victors and vanquished in their epic struggle for the hearts and minds of the people, will be launched by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) on 8 September.

Commissioned and published by SPH, the 692-page book comes with a four-page foreword by Minister Mentor (MM) Lee Kuan Yew who will be the guest-of-honour at the launch at The Arts House formerly known as Old Parliament House.

The launch will be attended by some 150 past and present PAP and non-PAP politicians. The guests included former legislative assemblymen who fought for and against the PAP in many crucial debates in the 1960s.

By capturing and distilling the voices of some 500 players and eyewitnesses to unfolding history, the book seeks to fill a void in Singapore history and unravel many of the mysteries, puzzles and questions surrounding the PAP story.

Men in White marks the culmination of seven years of planning, research, interviews and drafting by a seven-person project team headed by former SPH editor-in-chief Cheong Yip Seng, and subsequently, after Mr Cheong’s retirement, by Straits Times editor Han Fook Kwang.

The book was written by three Straits Times journalists, Sonny Yap, Richard Lim and Leong Weng Kam supported by four researchers, Leong Ching, Tan Mui Leng, Goh Sue Lin and Sia Boon So. It was designed and produced by Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) Pte Ltd.

Men in White is the untold story of one of the world's most successful and longest ruling political parties. The party had won 12 successive general elections since it assumed power in 1959. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the PAP in power.

Narrated in three parts, it is oral history told in a journalistic mode spiced with anecdotes, quotes and human interest. To re-enact this political theatre-cum-human drama, the writers conducted some 300 interviews in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and China. This was supplemented by about 200 oral history interviews from the National Archives of Singapore.

An important consideration when doing the book was that it should represent the writers’ version of the PAP story and not the party’s. In his foreword, MM Lee said: "This is their book, not the PAP’s."

Commenting on the book, Straits Times editor Han Fook Kwang said: “One of the attractions of the book is that it's done in a journalistic style. It’s not a history book or an academic book. Journalists are trained to extract the most compelling material from those they interview and to write the story in the most engaging way for readers. I think we've succeeded in doing this because it is a fascinating story to begin with, and we fielded some of our best story-tellers to do the book.”

30,000 copies will be printed. The book will be available at leading book stores from 8 September after the launch at $39.90 a copy (before GST).

MM Lee will autograph 20 limited edition copies of the book to be sold for charity at $10,000 a copy on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested donors can email Proceeds from this charity sale will go to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund which helps needy students.

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Co. Registration. No. 198402868E

For media enquiries, please contact:

Chin Soo Fang (Ms)
Corporate Communications Division
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
Tel: 6319 1216

Yeo Siew Chi
Assistant Manager
Corporate Communications Division
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
Tel: 6319 1586

About Singapore Press Holdings

Main board-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) is Southeast Asia’s leading media organisation, engaging minds and enriching lives across multiple languages and platforms. It publishes 17 newspaper titles in four languages and over 100 magazine titles in Singapore and the region. Every day, 2.9 million individuals or 79 percent of people above 15 years old, read one of SPH’s news publications. SPH’s internet editions of its major newspapers enjoy over 150 million page views with 9 million unique visitors each month. Other new media initiatives include AsiaOne, omy,, ST701, STOMP and The Straits Times RazorTV. SPH has also ventured into broadcasting, outdoor advertising and properties.

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