Welcome to another exciting issue of BiblioAsia. In this issue, we introduce a new section “Spotlight”. The article featured provides an overview of Singapore’s education system from 1819 to 1970s by examining the various policies and papers that were published since the founding of modern Singapore. These are available for reference at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library, National Library Singapore.
Three of our Lee Kong Chian Research Fellows — Prasani Weerawardane, Khoo Sim Lyn and Tay Thiam Chye — have completed their fellowship and we are pleased to publish their research findings in this issue.
Prasani Weerawardane gives an account of three Chinese Buddhist monks, Faxian, Xuan Zang and Yijing, and their travels from China to India in their quest to locate the Buddhist Tripitaka. Much closer home, Khoo Sim Lyn introduces us to children’s books in English which depict World War II in Singapore. She has highlighted some interesting titles such as Roise’s War by Rosalind Sharbanee Meyer and Aishabee at War by Aisha Akbar, which are available for research at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. By using the faction as the unit of analysis and a simple model based on narratives, Tay Thiam Chye examines why politicians leave a dominant party.
The Ya Yin Kwan (Palm Shade Pavilion) Collection was donated to the National Library by Tan Yeok Seong in 1964. The collection covers a broad spectrum of subjects such as philosophy, education, economics, archaeology, ceramics, geography, history and culture. From the collection, one can obtain insights into the perspectives of various writers on Southeast Asia and the Chinese overseas from the 18th century to the mid-1960s. Find out more about the Ya Yin Kwan Collection from this issue of BiblioAsia. The collection, located at Level 10 of the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library, is available for research and study only.
Pantuns or traditional Malay verses (quatrains) are important social and cultural sources of reference of the Malays. We are pleased to present an article written in Malay, which features some interesting pantuns. In this issue, we also highlight some Chinese books and resources on Deng Xiaoping, former leader of the Communist Party of China, and his visit to Singapore in 1978, which are available at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library’s Chinese Collection.
The National Library Board has recently published a bibliography with the Centre for Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, titled Singapore Literature in English: An Annotated Bibliography. Edited by Professor Koh Tai Ann, this is the first annotated and comprehensive bibliography on Singapore English literature. Read a review of this bibliography in this issue.
This year’s Heritage Road Show commemorates 50 years of Singapore’s self-governance by tracing the journey of Singapore’s history from 1959 till 2009. Look out for the interesting events we have lined up for you. Last but not least, do make it a point to view the exhibition Early Travels and Voyages in Southeast Asia located at Level 10 of the National Library from 25 March to 24 September. The exhibition tells the story of voyages and travels made by early Europeans, Arabs, Indians and Chinese to Singapore and the region.
Happy reading! We look forward to your comments and feedback.
Ms Ngian Lek Choh