FOREWORD OF “AN UNCOMMON NATION”
"An Uncommon Nation" is written by a good friend of more than 40 years. Candid in his opinions, Andrew James Ong is at the same time objective in his analyses and assessments. Following “Common To Uncommon”, this sequel is another masterpiece.
“An Uncommon Nation” is a collection of the trials, tribulations and triumphs of tiny Singapore in her first 50 years of independence. I remember 1965 vividly. Staring at a black and white television, my family and I were awe-struck when our then Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew announced, with tears in his eyes, Singapore’s separation from Malaysia. I was a teenager; 13 years old. The future looked bleak and uncertain.
Fifty years on, “An Uncommon Nation” is a walk down memory lane. As a baby boomer, how can we forget the challenging days? From the "night soil carrier" in the bucket toilet system to carrying buckets of water from nearby wells, life was a lot tougher. And from the thunderous "Kallang Roar" that shook National Stadium to the US uproar when Michael Fay was caned, this read will jolt you.
Singapore has come a long way from those early troubling times. Without giving much away, I know you will sit up, reflect and appreciate the monumental task of nation-building. When we know deeper how we got here, we can prepare better for the future.
Happy 50th Birthday, Singapore!
Jeremiah Chin, proud to be Singaporean.
Do you know that in 1947, the British Housing Committee Report noted Singapore had “one of the world's worst slums … a disgrace to a civilised community”? It was a wake-up call.
Sixty-five years on, in 2012, Singapore was placed 1st in the world; Frankfurt and Munich- jointly in 2nd place. Copenhagen (4) and Dusseldorf (5) filled the next two slots, while Hong Kong and London shared 6th place. Port-au-Prince (221) ranked at the bottom of the list. The highest-ranking US cities were Atlanta (13) and Dallas (15). What a transformation! How is this possible?
New challenges have now emerged; rising cost of living, ageing population, global competitiveness, clamour for more political space and rising expectations of a younger population who is accustomed to expect nothing but the best. To win the hearts of Singaporeans, the nation needs a response that unifies the myriad issues, offering clarity of purpose and long-term vision. And more importantly afterwards, communicate that purpose, vision and action plan simply and clearly. Whether for the ruling party or the opposing parties contesting for the right to rule, the same yardstick applies.
“An Uncommon Nation” attempts to provide answers on the basics of nation-building and help uncover the secrets for Singapore’s transformation, highlighting along the way, some pressing issues and challenges confronting the nation and the unconventional approaches to solving them.
“No problem can be solved at the same level of consciousness that created it”
PRAISES FOR "AN UNCOMMON NATION"
“The success of public housing can be exported to the world”- Pamela PS Lim, Marketing Specialist
“Singapore, a nation to be admired; the envy of many”- Veronica Paran, Entrepreneur
“Singapore is the pride of Asia and the world of what is possible” Eugene Chia, Entrepreneur
“Your country’s leaders had vision and the resolve to see through that vision and bring about a dream.”- Pastor Ferdinand M. De Leon, Senior Pastor
“A poignant account of a nation’s trials, tribulations and triumphs.”- John AT Chong, Retired Army Officer
“Brilliant anecdotes of a success story of an outstanding nation”- Leila Ayo, Businesswoman Entrepreneur, Philippines
“This book captures the pride of a nation”- Sharon Tan Thilagarani, Financial Consultant
“Affordable healthcare, transportation, housing are real costs of living issues affecting all countries. The government that can appease most will earn the right to govern”- Johnny Sy, Entrepreneur, Inventor
“Your ban on chewing gum is remarkable; even Wrigley could not have their way, all the way”- Christine Roque, Businesswoman
“A handbook on nation-building, a must-read for all aspiring nation-builders”- Vincent Soo, Positive Psychology Coach
“Singapore- a nation who faces problems bravely and squarely and created her own solutions”- MADAM MARIDES FERNANDO Former Mayor, Marikina City. Philippines
About the Author: From his early Army days bashing through tropical rainforests to leading business leaders in more than 35 countries, Andrew James Ong always desires the best for himself, friends and colleagues. Naturally, this desire extends to Singapore- the country he was born and raised. Just as Singapore survived her early tumultuous years to become a model country, Andrew too, survived harsh poverty in early childhood and with true grit honed, overcame numerous setbacks during his illustrious 21-year military career. Beyond the military, he achieved the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) in less than two months, an exceptional feat in the insurance industry and he was nominated Singapore Insurance Practitioner of the Year 2001. He also led efforts to help the diabetics in the region regain their health.
In 2014, he authored “Common To Uncommon”, a book about razor-sharpening life skills and attitudes for empowerment and purposeful living. Exemplifying his life, he speaks passionately about “forgiveness” and as a motivational guru, mentor, life and executive coach, Andrew empowers individuals and audiences in the region. He lives in Singapore with his wife and three grown-up children.
In mid-2015, he authored “Uncommon Mentorship”, capturing his mentorship journeys and experiences both as a mentor and mentee. And a year later, in mid-2016, he authored “Uncommon Clarity”.
Andrew James Ong, +65 9022 1786; firstname.lastname@example.org
Unit 04-16, 304 Orchard Road, Singapore 238863