SMU launches new book as gift to the nation in SG50 and SMU15: “Singapore at 50: The Business of Nation-Building”

21 Aug 2015
  • Commemorative book pays tribute to pioneers and pillars of nation’s development
  • Content spans several industries and knowledge areas such as building peace, identity, businesses, brands, and skills
  • Reflections of the past and visions for the future in milestone year

Singapore, 21 August 2015 (Friday) – In celebration of Singapore’s Golden Jubilee in its birthday month, the Singapore Management University (SMU) has launched a coffee table book “Singapore at 50: The Business of Nation-Building”. Dr Maliki Osman, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development & Ministry of Defence, and Mayor, South East District, was the Guest-of-Honour at the launch event.

[Photo: Dr Maliki (second from left), launching the SMU SG50 Book “Singapore at 50: The Business of Nation-Building” with Professor De Meyer (second from right) and Professor Philip Zerrillo, SMU Dean of Postgraduate Professional Programmes and Executive Director of Centre of Management Practice (left).]

The book chronicles corporate milestones of 17 major local organisations and industries during Singapore’s first five decades of independence. Authored by writers from the university in partnership with the institutions that critically shaped people’s lives and the economy, the retrospective book pays tribute to industry stalwarts that led Singapore from infancy to a first-world nation, and marks SMU’s 15 years of contribution to the island-state.

With a vision in transformative education, SMU leveraged its core knowledge-building expertise and innovative spirit, and embarked on a bold project developing stories of 14 mover-and-shaker Singapore brands and three sectors that influentially set the country on the path of excellence. These iconic organisations and industries not only became major pillars for the nation’s development but are also outstanding ambassadors catapulting the little red dot to remarkable positions on the global stage.

[Photo: SMU launched an SG50 book “Singapore at 50: The Business of Nation-Building”, which chronicles corporate milestones of 17 major local organisations and industries in Singapore’s first 50 years of independence.]

Presented in 19 chapters, including a tribute and an overview of Singapore’s development, the 300-page book is a rare collection of Singapore’s past and also glimpses into its future, serving as both a memoir of history and a rich archive of knowledge for prospective directions, in multiple perspectives.

It is a repository of resources in a multitude of industries from banking, defence, education, healthcare, info- and tele-communications, infrastructure, retail, transport, tourism, science and technology, water solutions, to urban planning. The book is an excellent reference material not just on building businesses and the nation, but everything in between and beyond: building peace and security, identity and citizenship, an international economic and knowledge hub, fundamental skills and values. The nation’s achievements demonstrate results driven through visionary leadership, commitment, courage and innovation.

Whether through the eyes of local or international audience, young or pioneer generations, those in business or non-business sectors, the stories provide a myriad of learning opportunities for diverse people.

Singapore’s extraordinary business of nation-building is a rich legacy deservingly told through voices of forerunners, giants and heroes who have withstood the test of times. Guest-of-Honour Dr Maliki Osman commended, “I hope these 17 stories will be a source of inspiration for the younger generations, so that they can address the challenges facing our nation with the same passion, resolve and sense of unity possessed by our Pioneers.”

SMU’s President Professor Arnoud De Meyer said, “This book is SMU’s humble gift to the nation, in celebration of Singapore’s Golden Jubilee and SMU’s 15th Anniversary. It pays tribute to our founding Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and the pioneers and pillars of Singapore that helped build this country into an outstanding global city. Without this stable and thriving city-state, SMU would not exist. This book encapsulates the stories of the institutions and companies that have been the pillars of modern Singapore’s development. Their stories reflect their pragmatism, and the value of meritocracy, good governance, and multi-ethnic harmony. The collective achievements are the results of many diverse organisations and individuals coming together as one with common threads – a shared vision, resolution and cohesion, to excel and succeed. There is much to be learnt and shared.”

Professor Rajendra Srivastava, SMU’s Provost and Deputy President (Academic Affairs), congratulated the nation, “Singapore is blessed with visionary leaders whose foresight laid the foundation of success, which was built upon by the relentless pursuit of excellence by creative minds, aspirations fuelled by success, and by the willing and tireless hands of its citizens… Let us make its next 50 years more memorable.”

Professor Philip Zerrillo, SMU’s Dean of Postgraduate Professional Programmes and Executive Director of Centre of Management Practice (CMP), thanked all the organisations involved for generously contributing their time and resources to make the book possible, and the pioneer generation who created an unlikely nation through sheer force of will and hard work.

Pioneers of both SMU and Singapore penned insightful views of Singapore’s developmental years, and their outlook of hopes and challenges in the future. They include Professor Augustine Tan, Professor of Economics (Practice), SMU’s School of Economics; Professor Tan Chin Tiong, Professor of Marketing, SMU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business and Senior Advisor to the President; Professor Pang Yang Hoong, SMU’s Vice Provost (Undergraduate Matters and Student Development) and Professor of Accounting, SMUs School of Accountancy; and Professor Francis Koh, Professor of Finance, SMU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business and Vice Provost (Special Projects).

Professor Augustine Tan remarked in conclusion, “Singapore has shown to the world that you don’t have to be big to survive in this world, but you have to be tough.”

Contents of the book in 19 chapters (in chronological order as presented in book) include:

  • Tribute (by SMU’s President, Provost, and Dean of Postgraduate Professional Programmes and Executive Director of Centre of Management Practice [CMP])
  • Singapore
  • Singapore Armed Forces
  • Education
  • Urban Redevelopment Authority
  • SMRT Corporation
  • KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital
  • PSA
  • Changi Airport
  • Singtel
  • SingPost
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Keppel Corporation
  • DBS Bank
  • Tourism
  • Retail
  • Agency for Science, Technology and Research
  • Hyflux
  • Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

The book is available at Kinokuniya, Times, SMU Shop, Booklink SMU, Amazon.com, Select Books (e-store), and NUS Co-Operative bookstore, at S$69.

CMP has been connecting the University’s faculty with industry practitioners, to apply academic expertise on addressing real-life issues and practices in the business world. It works with SMU’s various Schools and industry partners, developing case studies and programmes that sharpen management thinking and practices. CMP conducts case writing workshops across the region, develops original work to support case competitions and students participating in such challenges, and produces publications and thought leadership articles. It recently landed two major award wins in the international EFMD Case Writing Competition, attesting to SMU’s edge in world-class case-writing for Asian case studies that have pragmatic connections and applications in the business community.

For excerpts, quotes and highlights from SMU’s Book “Singapore at 50: The Business of Nation-Building”, please refer to the Annex.

[Photo: Guest-of-Honour Dr Maliki Osman, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development & Ministry of Defence, and Mayor, South East District, with representatives of the SMU team and key organisations that contributed to the SMU SG50 Book.

Front row (left to right):

  • Professor Pang Yang Hoong, SMU’s Vice Provost (Undergraduate Matters and Student Development) and Professor of Accounting, SMU's School of Accountancy
  • Professor Tan Chin Tiong, Professor of Marketing, SMU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business and Senior Advisor to the President
  • Professor Rajendra Srivastava, SMU’s Provost and Deputy President (Academic Affairs)
  • Ms Karen Ngui, Managing Director, Group Strategic Marketing Communications, DBS Bank
  • Ms Lee Yueh Chern, Senior Manager, Public Affairs, Singapore Airlines
  • Guest-of-Honour, Dr Maliki Osman, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development & Ministry of Defence, and Mayor, South East District
  • Professor Arnoud De Meyer, SMU President
  • Professor Philip Zerrillo, SMU’s Dean of Postgraduate Professional Programmes and Executive Director of Centre of Management Practice (CMP)
  • Ms Lian Pek, VP, Group Corporate Communications, Singtel
  • Professor Augustine Tan, Professor of Economics (Practice), SMU’s School of Economics

Back row (left to right):

  • Professor Francis Koh, Professor of Finance, SMU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business and Vice Provost (Special Projects)
  • Mr Suresh Sachi, Deputy Managing Director, A*STAR
  • Mr Lim Wee Ping, Senior VP, Corporate Strategy & Business Development, Changi Airport Group
  • Mr Foo Hee Kiang, Advisor, Hyflux
  • Mr Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive, Development Group, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
  • Mr Peter Heng, Senior VP, Group Communications, Singpost
  • Mr Chris Chan, VP, Group Corporate Affairs, PSA
  • Mr Ng Lang, CEO, Urban Redevelopment Authority
  • Mr Patrick Nathan, Vice President, Corporate Information & Communications, SMRT]

[Featured Photo: SMU President Professor Arnoud De Meyer (right) presented the SMU SG50 Book for the Singapore Armed Forces, to Guest-of-Honour Dr Maliki Osman, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development & Ministry of Defence, and Mayor, South East District (left).]

– End –

Annex

Excerpts, Quotes and Highlights from SMU’s Book “Singapore at 50: The Business of Nation-Building”

  • “If we can put so much effort in our education, family and careers, we should also put the same effort in protecting our community because without social stability and security, all the education and career opportunities would not exist.” — James Suresh, Warrant Officer from page 30
  • “In our multi-racial situation, English, being a common language, also serves as a bridge between the various ethnic groups. But we will also not do away with Mandarin, Malay and Tamil because together with English, they are what distinguish us as Singaporeans, linguistically and culturally.” —Parliamentary Secretary (Culture) Ow Chin Hock in 1979 from page 43
  • “Long before the term ‘sustainability’ became popular, Singapore prioritised sustainable development, and pursued concurrent goals of supporting economic growth to provide jobs for our people, enhancing our environmental quality, and strengthening our social resilience.” — Lim Eng Hwee, Chief Planner and Deputy CEO, URA from page 62
  • “It’s not just about transporting people from one location to another, but it’s also about how we can touch the lives of individuals and make a difference. And not only the commuters, our station staff are part of the community — people come into the station for all kinds of reasons, often in need of help. Maybe they’re lost, or not feeling well. Our staff is trained to handle emergencies.” — Kang Huey Ling, Principal, SMRT Institute from page 80
  • “Earlier, when resources were limited, we made the best of what we had for the sake of the patients. When more national resources were invested into healthcare, we asked ourselves how we could do better and anticipate what new services would be needed. Having been part of this journey in healthcare, I can say with confidence that any patient at KKH will be given the best possible care. That is the reason why my children, and their children, were delivered here.” — Assistant Director of Nursing Pauline Wee from page 92
  • Former PSA chairman Howe Yoon Chong, believed in the potential of containerisation, and took the bold decision to build a container port against the advice of international experts. This resulted in Singapore becoming one of the first container ports in Asia outside of Japan to have the capability to handle containers. — From page 108
  • “If a passenger has had a negative experience, they will talk about it when they get home. I make sure they spread good stories about Singapore instead.” — Tan Beng Luan, Duty Manager, Baggage Lost & Found, SATS from page 129
  • “I have been with this company for 46 years. I joined Singtel as a technician in 1968. Singtel is like my second home. I have been given many opportunities to grow and learn. For example, the company sponsored me to complete a course to help me manage people as I transitioned from a technical role to a management role.” — Tong Kong Yeo, Associate Director, Singtel Recreation Club from page 144
  • “We were on a burning platform! We were facing so many challenges — e-substitution, competition, rising costs, changing lifestyles. We knew we had to take a different route or face the consequences. It was not easy but we are better off today having taken the bold step to transform our business and diversify.” — Lim Ho Kee, Chairman, SingPost from page 156
  • “There are two things more famous than Singapore, the further you go from Singapore — Singapore Airlines and [Singapore’s Founding Prime Minister] Lee Kuan Yew.” — Tan Pee Teck, Senior Vice President Product & Services, SIA, from page 168
  • The Dockyard Department of the Port of Singapore Authority was spun off to form Keppel Shipyard, marking the beginning of the Keppel Story. Hon Sui Sen, who became Keppel’s first chairman, hired the U.K.-based Swan Hunter Group to manage Keppel for four years in order to transition the small ship-repair yard into an international entity. However, a group of young Singaporean officers planned a takeover from the British managers and developed a detailed blueprint for the ‘localisation’ of the yard. Lawrence Mah, who was then Keppel’s personnel manager, explains, “We were young, and we were inspired by Lee Kuan Yew and his people in the PAP government. We said: why can’t we run the show ourselves? And so we were all driven by this mission.” Sim Kee Boon, Chairman, Keppel Corporation (1984-2003), adds, “The spirit they displayed in building Keppel was also the spirit that built modern Singapore.” — From page 184
  • “DBS’ strong balance sheet, and the skills and experience of our staff, helped us fare better than other banks during the crisis, and we used it as a springboard for growth in international markets.” — Sim S. Lim, Singapore Country Head, DBS from page 211
  • Singapore’s policy is one of inclusivity of races and cultures. Its effort to create a safe environment for all to live, work and play in encourages people to move about freely in the island state and travel to and from other countries. — From page 218
  • Singapore has, over the decades, gained a reputation as a tourist’s shopping hub, attracting visitors who come for the variety of shopping and food options on the island. — From page 232
  • “We create value through synergy and integration… The more Singapore works as Singapore Inc., the more competitive we are.” — Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman, A*STAR from page 256
  • “There were many sceptics who expected us to fail to deliver on SingSpring, but we completed it three months ahead of schedule. We had to rise to the challenge, and we did.” — Foo Hee Kiang, Senior Advisor to the CEO, Hyflux from page 267

__________________________________________________

Media Contact:

Charlene Liew

Assistant Director, Corporate Communications

Singapore Management University

Tel:         6828 0020

Email:     charleneliew@smu.edu.sg

Book Purchase/Retail Contact:

Sheila Wan

Publication Editor, Centre for Management Practice

Singapore Management University

Tel:         6808 5403

Email:     sheilawan@smu.edu.sg

 

Last updated on 7 Sep 2015.

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