This book would not have been possible without a great deal of help from many people. Most importantly, we would like to thank Linda Lim and Thum Ping Tjin for their contributions. Their essays add immeasurably to the diversity of this book and expanded significantly the range of expert opinion represented here. Peter Schoppert, the Director of NUS Press, provided invaluable advice throughout the entire process—from how the book should be positioned to how the arguments in each of the chapters could be refined and enhanced. We are grateful for his expert guidance.

Below are the individual authors’ own words of appreciation:

Donald Low: I am indebted to my colleagues at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy for allowing me the space and time to work on this book, and for being a source of good advice. I am especially grateful to Kishore Mahbubani, Kanti Prasad Bajpai, Kenneth Paul Tan, M Ramesh, Dodo Thampapillai, Hui Weng Tat, Wu Xun, Norman and Susan Fainstein, Eduardo Araral and Peggy Kek. My comrades at the Economic Society of Singapore—Manu Bhaskaran, Yeoh Lam Keong, and Tan Kim Song—provided me intellectual comradeship; David Skilling can always be counted on to offer honest counsel; and my students at the LKY School continually inspire me with their curiosity and energy. I am also thankful for the advice given by Jeremy Lim and Devadas Krishnadas—like me, former civil servants who have written about public policy and governance in Singapore. Many of my former colleagues in the Singapore government continue to engage me; they would prefer not to be named here, but I am very grateful for their encouragement.

Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh: I am grateful to the following people for providing comments and suggestions that helped with the essays in this volume: Farah Cheah, Sharon Siddique, Laurel West, Andrew Loh, Simon Long, Sumana Rajarethnam, and Justin Wood. For sharing broader insights into Singapore that have helped shape my understanding of the issues discussed here, I would like to thank Chia Soo Hui, Jen Wei Ting, Phua Mei Pin, Karishma Vaswani, Prem Anand, Manu Bhaskaran, Andre Cheah, Richard Cockett, Farouk Khan, Ler Kuang Yuan, Lien We King, Ron Luhur, Harveen Narulla, Quek Yong Hai, Allanjit Singh, Terry Smagh, and Tan Kane Juan. Most importantly, for their undying moral support of my writing career, I must thank my wife and mum.

There are many other people who provided commentary, feedback and quotes for my pieces, but for various reasons prefer to remain anonymous. I am indebted to all of you. Finally, at a larger level, I would like to thank all the Singaporeans—activists, artists, businesspeople, citizens, journalists and politicians—who have, through their own actions, resisted the tyranny of national groupthink, and consistently encouraged Donald and I to complete this book. It is, we can only hope, another small step in a long journey towards a more diverse civil and political society.


Hard Choices: Challenging the Singapore Consensus Copyright © 2014 by Donald Low and Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh. All Rights Reserved.


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