Singapore, 14 Dec 2007 - A straw poll conducted by The New Paper showed that most teens are clueless about the names of key political pioneers of Singapore.
While all have heard of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, only a third have heard of the young nation´s economic architect, Dr Goh Keng Swee.
Only a quarter have heard of Lim Kim San, the National Development Minister who spearheaded the public housing programme.
Mr Othman Wok, the first Social Affairs Minister, who helped to hold the country together in the aftermath of the race riots in the 1960s, drew recognition of only 7 per cent .
The poll was conducted among 100 students, aged 12 to 16, from schools across the island.
The finding confirmed a long-standing hunch of The New Paper’s editorial team that important parts of the nation’s history are slipping away from the young.
This inspired the team to hatch a concept that would make the stories of political pioneers come alive. The result is an engaging set of stories, cartoons and photos. Designed for busy and younger readers, pocket guide "Founding Fathers" is a handy primer for anyone interested in what makes Singapore tick.
The 10 pioneers featured are Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Keng Swee, S. Rajaratnam, David Marshall, Toh Chin Chye, Lim Kim San, Eddie Barker, Devan Nair, Othman Wok, and Ong Pang Boon.
"Why bother to know more about our founding fathers? Because when you live in a place you did not create, it´s easy to lose grip on the connections that matter. Connections that bind you to all that we value about the tiny dot we call home," said the newspaper’s editor, Ivan Fernandez, in the books’ foreword.
"How can we not know where we came from and who we are as a people? Imagine young Americans who are clueless about Abraham Lincoln – he is a big part of the American story. If you see yourself as a continuing part of a great story, how can you not know the beginnings?"
The team relied on telling stories in the style of The New Paper to connect with its target audience. A team of 15 reporters of The New Paper conducted interviews and pored over books and news archives between 2005 and 2006 to produce these series.
Book editor Leong Ching said: "This was a project that came from the ground - all of us volunteered for it, we picked our own man, and we decided how the books would turn out. So reporters who usually reported on entertainment and glamorous overseas screenings would be poring over legal documents, writing about Singapore’s first Law minister. Even for those of us who have interviewed our subjects before, trying to come up with 10 little known nuggets proved to be a big challenge.
"My favourite part of the book is actually the line drawings at the margins. They are a brilliant touch, adding humour and panache to the stories. Very like the founding fathers themselves."
Each book in the series adopts the following format: A profile of the man & his contributions, roughly 10 things you never knew about the man and a quick primer linking the past to the present. It is priced at $37.00 (before GST) for a boxed set of 10 and will be sold at all major bookstores including Borders, Harris, Kinokuniya, MPH, Popular and Times. All bookstores will have stocks of the books from December 12.
The pocket guide is published by SNP International. Said Shirley Hew, SNP’s publisher : "These books give a context and perspective to how we, as a country came about and how we got to where are today. It’s for every Singaporean - from 10 to 100 - and for the visitor who wonders how it all started. It’s a great first introduction to Singapore."
Straw poll of 100 teens conducted by TNP in Dec 2007
Do these names ring a bell?
Percentage who answered ‘yes´
Lee Kuan Yew: 100%
Goh Keng Swee: 38%
S. Rajaratnam: 77%
David Marshall: 87%
Devan Nair: 33%
Toh Chin Chye: 29%
Lim Kim San: 25%
Eddie Barker: 10%
Othman Wok: 7%
Ong Pang Boon: 4%
Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Co. Regn. No. 198402868E
For more information, please contact:
Leong Ching (Ms)
The New Paper
DID: (65) 6319 5571
Mobile: (65) 9271 9693
Singapore Press Holdings
DID: (65) 6319 1280
About Singapore Press Holdings Limited
Newspapers and Magazines
Main board-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) is the leading media company in Singapore, delivering news and information through print, Internet and broadcasting platforms. In Singapore, it publishes 14 newspapers in four languages. Every day, 2.9 million individuals or 81 percent of people above 15 years old, read one of SPH’s news publications. SPH also publishes over 90 magazine titles in Singapore and the region, covering a broad range of interests from lifestyle to information technology.
Internet and Mobile
Beyond print, the Internet editions of SPH newspapers enjoy over 110 million pageviews with 7 million unique visitors every month. Apart from SPH AsiaOne portal, SPH’s online and new media initiatives include a revolutionary mobile advertising and information service, ZapCode; online marketplace for products, services and employment, ST701; and STOMP (Straits Times Online Mobile Print), a portal that connects, engages and interacts with readers on the Web and via mobile phone messaging.
SPH has a 20 percent stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8, U and TV Mobile, and a 40 percent stake in MediaCorp Press Pte Ltd, which publishes the free newspaper, Today. In the radio business, SPH has a 80 percent stake in SPH UnionWorks Pte Ltd, which operates entertainment stations Radio 100.3 FM in Mandarin and Radio 91.3 FM in English.
In addition, SPH has ventured into outdoor advertising through its wholly-owned subsidiary, SPH MediaBoxOffice Pte Ltd, Singapore´s largest outdoor motion display advertising network media company, and a 35 percent stake in TOM Outdoor Media Group, a leading outdoor advertising company in China.
SPH owns and manages Paragon, the prime retail and office complex in the heart of Orchard Road, Singapore’s main shopping belt. SPH’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Times Development Pte Ltd, is also developing a 43-storey upmarket residential condominium, Sky@eleven, at Thomson Road.