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Rachel Shiying

Rachel Shiying


At the late Goh Keng Swee's wake, Rachel was interviewed by curious reporters who was wondering what a young chap like her was doing at the funeral of a forgotten hero.

Passionate about raising awareness about Singapore's forefathers to millennials, Rachel has spent a decade trawling the country's archives and interviewing the immediate family members of the notable men.

The author of a popular book review blog, 'Rachel's Book Reviews', she has worked with publishers locally and internationally to market their books and do exciting giveaways. After 8 years of blogging, she now possesses a writing style that is relatable and effusive.

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About the author

Possessing a love for good writing and a passion for history, Rachel Tan is a third generation Singaporean who is keen to tell the story of her country's forefathers. She has done extensive research for about a decade and is deeply aware that there is a hunger for a good narrative, hence, 'Our Forefathers' was born.

The author of a book review blog, she has worked together with a major Christian publisher in the United States to do giveaways to promote their titles. In addition, she has receives several titles from local publishers (Math Paper Press and Ethos Books) and authors to review. You can view her blog over at[1].


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Success! Our Forefathers has already sold 7 pre-orders , and is in discussions with publishers .

$20 A copy of 'Our Forefathers'!

3 readers

For those on a budget, this is for you. For $20 you will receive a copy of the completed book. This is for all lovers of Singapore who wish to find out more about the country that went from Third World to First.

1 copy + ebook included

$5 shipping

$25 A signed copy of 'Our Forefathers'!

2 readers

For $25, you will receive a signed copy of my book. This is for friends, family and book lovers who would like an autographed copy of the new book so as to make the experience a special one. You will be enthralled with the adventures our forefathers had to develop the country to where it is today.

1 copy + ebook included

$5 shipping

$50 2 signed and personalised copies of 'Our Forefathers'!

1 reader

For those who would like to share the book with another, why not take up this reward in order to get 2 copies of the book? Get a copy for yourself and another as a gift for a loved one so that both of you can share the experience together. In addition, you also get a personalised message specially crafted just for you.

2 copies + ebook included

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$100 Coffee with author + 4 signed copies of 'Our Forefathers

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For the most generous, you will receive 4 signed and personalised copies of 'Our Forefathers' and coffee with the author. This is for the curious reader who would like to know more about the process of how this book came to be, the challenges and joys of writing it. If you are a reader that loves to know what goes on behind-the-scenes, this reward is for you!

4 copies + ebook included

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Our Forefathers

5 men who helped Singapore succeed

Without the grit and creativity these 5 of Singapore's forefathers possessed, the tiny island in Southeast Asia would have never succeeded.

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This book is a story about how 5 of Singapore's forefathers helped build the country to where it is today. Many biographies have been published over the years as the leaders of this island have faded away. However, they are lengthy, dry, and almost impossible for the layman to read and appreciate.

'Our Forefathers' aims to be the missing puzzle piece in the grand narrative that is Singapore's history. Written in accessible verse, it will appeal to both youths and adults hungry to understand how the country went from third world to first in a matter of decades. Riding on the strong desire in citizens to understand their country's past, especially witnessed by the dozens of books published on the 50th year of Singapore's independence, this book aims to educate and inspire.


Chapter 1: David Marshall - The First Chief Minister

1.1 Opens with David Marshall's impactful article titled 'I Believe' in local newspaper, 'The Straits Times'. Weaves in setting of 1950's of Singapore under colonial rule.

1.2 Describes the first democratic elections and how, with his fiery speeches under the apple tree, that he came to be Chief Minister. 

1.3 His short reign in power was marked with several innovations that are still in place today, such as 'Meet-the-people' sessions for locals to directly seek help from their Member of Parliament in the constituency they live in.

1.4 Details his fall from power after a disastrous bet.

Chapter 2: Lim Kim San - Housing Honcho

2.1 Describes how he was suddenly appointed the Chairman of the Housing and Development Board (HDB) and tasked to house a million people.

2.2 How he got down and dirty, making sure that the wires and fixtures were properly adhered to agreed on standards, that crooked buildings were torn down and getting rid of corrupt practices.

2.3 How he dealt with a massive fire that caused hundreds to become homeless.

2.4 How he had an accurate, innate intuition on the character of people he met for the first time. How he loved food and would treat his subordinates for meals after a long day at work.

Chapter 3: Goh Keng Swee - Minister Extraordinaire

3.1 How he became Minister for Defence and built Singapore's armed forces from scratch.

3.2 How as the Minister for Finance he kickstarted Singapore's economy with innovations like the Economic Development Board of Singapore to attract foreign investments.

3.3 How as Minister for Education, he made some policies that were unpopular but halted the dropout rate, creating a 100% literate country.

3.4 How he appreciated music and nature, subsequently setting up the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and the Jurong Bird Park.

Chapter 4: S. Rajaratnam - Culture Creator

4.1 His job as a journalist - to write the truth, consequently upsetting the British colonial government.

4.2 How he wrote the Singapore pledge in the midst of racial unrest.

4.3 How he was a great foreign minister.

4.4 How he was a voracious reader.

Chapter 5: Toh Chin Chye - The other leader

5.1 How he pushed to set up the People's Action Party that propelled Singapore towards Independence

5.2 How he was almost made Prime Minister after Lee Kuan Yew wanted to step down as the leader due to a failed by-election

5.3 Designing the now iconic State Flag

5.4 What he did as party chairman


The primary target market would be people who love Singapore and want to find out more about its history.

However, they are unlikely to read very lengthy biographical tomes that have already been published on the notable figures. However, they still desire to know and learn about how the country came to be, judging from the dozens of books that local publishers have produced in the past two years.

For a brief overview of books published in the past year: 

- Ethos Books 

'Memoirs of a Migrant' by Francis Thomas and 'The Politics of Defeat' edited by Margaret Thomas, these are books about one of the first leaders in David Marshall's government.

- Epigram Books

'Where are all the birds' by Darel Seow and 'Mister HDB' by Asad Latif, two picture books for young children on Goh Keng Swee and Lim Kim San.

- Straits Times Press

'Lee Kuan Yew - A Life in Pictures', 'Lee's Legacy', 'LKY - Follow that rainbow, Go ride it', 'LKY on Governance, Management, Life', 'Vintage Lee - Landmark Speeches since 1955'. 5 books on Lee Kuan Yew might be an overkill, but it shows us how much this publishing house is banking on the popularity of the late leader to boost sales. I'm sure people must be tired of this, and my book will be a refreshing change of taste.


I have a blog at[1] and post regular updates on the progress of my book on it.

On my personal Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat accounts, I will also post similar updates and encourage people to not just pre-order the books but also share the love. 

In addition, I will be putting up inspiring quotes from actual speeches the 5 leaders have made to generate interest and post it up on all platforms on a fortnightly basis.

Finally, I will also tap on email subscribers and showing sample chapters to major publications in an effort to garner book sales.



1. Founding Fathers (Great Singapore Stories series)

1.1 The first in the Great Singapore Stories series comprises 10 books in an attractive collection on the “FOUNDING FATHERS” who were at the start of the Great Adventure of Independent Singapore. What do we know of the Singapore story today?

1.2 The difference

This book is one that is written in point-form targeted at primary (elementary) school children. A reader who is keen to uncover the leaders story in greater detail will be disappointed. My book provides an interesting read in verse and also a narrative that is distinctly different from the simplistic one-liners that is featured in this series.

2. Goh Keng Swee: A Portrait by Tan Siok Sun

2.1 Dr Goh Keng Swee’s public career spanned two eventful decades. He was a founding member of Singapore’s ruling political party, and played a significant role in creating and shaping the destiny of Singapore today. His areas of responsibility were wide-ranging, including finance, defence, and education.

Based on extensive research, including interviews with family members, friends and colleagues, this is an anecdotal account of Dr Goh’s life-story told by the author, his daughter-in-law. Tan Siok Sun traces Dr Goh’s footsteps from his humble beginnings in Melaka, to his days at Raffles College and the London School of Economics, to his service in the Singapore Government, and to his retirement.

Above all, his achievements in helping to create the modern landscape of values, institutions and environments that constitute Singapore today represent a vital legacy for the nation's present and future generations.

2.2 The difference

This focuses on only one person and might be too lengthy for readers keen on a brief overview of his life. Furthermore, my book includes the stories of four other great leaders, making it a value-added package.

3. The Singapore Lion: A Biography of S. Rajaratnam by Irene Ng

3.1 This is Volume 1 of the projected 2-volume biography of "Raja", Mr Sinnathamby Rajaratnam (1915-2006) widely recognised both as Minister of Foreign Affairs and as one of the three or four most significant figures in the early years of Singapore's emergence as an independent nation. The author's narrative draws on personal memories and informal comments as it describes Raja's family roots in Jaffna and Seremban, his time in London as a student and then as a journalist and broadcaster in World War II. His return to Singapore, anti-colonial stance, stormy career in journalism, and roles in the early years of the nascent PAP are all described. The final chapters of this volume give a view of the post-1959 period when as Minister of Culture and Cabinet Minister Raja, his idealistic, astute and sometimes acerbic views played a major role in the run up to Singapore's 1963 Merger with Malaysia. With black-and-white photographs, bibliography and index.

3.2 The difference

This dense biography is difficult to read even though it is chockfull details on the late minister's life. My book aims to be accessible to the general public and highlights only the most important events in Rajaratnam's life. In addition to Rajaratnam, my book includes four other notable leaders in Singapore history, providing a more complete picture of the situation in the 1960's.

4. Marshall of Singapore: A Biography by Kevin Y L Tan

4.1 David Marshall (1908-1995) was one of Singapore's most remarkable sons. The eldest son of migrant Sephardic Jews, Marshall's brilliant academic career at Raffles Institution was brought to an abrupt end when he collapsed from tuberculosis. Sent away to recuperate in Switzerland, Marshall not only learnt the French language but also imbibed the French ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity and returned a strong opponent of colonialism. Qualifying as a barrister in half the normal time, he rose to become Singapore's greatest criminal and constitutional lawyer. In 1955, he unexpectedly found himself the leader of the Labour Front and Singapore's first Chief Minister. His fourteen tumultuous months in office led to the eventual withdrawal of the British from Singapore but his emotional personality and impatience made him an unlikely politician. In the twilight of his career, Marshall was appointed Singapore's first ambassador to France. This is the story of this extraordinary man who was, for many, Singapore's "missionary of democracy". Using previously unavailable sources, author Kevin Tan chronicles the remarkable life, times and achievements of the man many regarded as "Singapore's Conscience".

4.2 The difference

At 614 pages, this is a tome that busy Singaporeans living a hectic lifestyle would attempt to read. My book is more concise and focuses on the most important and critical periods of his David Marshall's life.

5. Lee's Lieutenants by Lam Peng Er and Kevin Y L Tan

5.1 Most books exploring the political and socioeconomic landscape of modern Singapore focus on the role played by longtime Prime Minister and now Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew. But by Lee's own admission, Singapore would not be what it is without his gifted and capable team of loyal lieutenants. These talented men were brought together in the most extraordinary of circumstances, and were no mere functionaries of Lee. Indeed, each was a leader in his own right; but they were prepared to accept Lee's captaincy in the shaping and moulding of Singapore. Lee's Lieutenants addresses the imbalance of scholarship, arguing that Singapore's unusual political and economic trajectory resulted from this impressive array of men and the political choices they made. Contributors examine the roles played by the key architects of modern Singapore: the organisational utility men, the ideologues, the economic and social architect, the Chinese politico-cultural vanguards, the Malay mobilisers, the legalists and even those who were vanquished in the struggle for power. 

5.2 The difference

This book has too many leaders featured and consequently, each entry is brief and written in a very academic style that would be a turn-off to those looking for a leisurely read.


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