One of the reasons we blog is so that we can share about things and experiences which matter to us, shapes us into who we are or are close to our hearts. Once in a while, we come across something truly exceptional and so closely tied to our values and beliefs that we just had to share it. This series of books by homegrown publishing firm, Epigram Books, is one of those:
The ‘Understanding Singaporeans‘ series consists of four illustrated handbooks, each with 20 questions and answers to promote understanding of the different races and cultures in Singapore.
Titles in this series:
Minorities of Minorities:
The issue of racial intolerance is something very close to my heart. Having grown up in another country (not Singapore) that not only tells me I’m a minority but has policies that disadvantage the minorities and then going on to study in another country (in the Southern Hemisphere) where, as a minority of minorities, I was at the receiving end of blatant racism and hate remarks, often during the course of everyday life as an undergraduate.
While Singapore is a multicultural country, our harmony came at a price paid by our forefathers. With the world getting ‘smaller’ and increasingly more globalized, it is essential that our children learn about the uniqueness of different races and to respect and embrace one another’s differences and see the beauty in humanity as a whole rather than being differentiated by religion and race. This to us is essential for our children to thrive in their future world as world citizens.
Like most good values and behavior, the best way to learn is through parents’ role-modelling. This is where this series of books come in.
Why we love these books:
1. Easy to Read and Understand: Yes, written in simple English with big fonts and colourful hand-drawn illustrations, these books appeal to children and adults as well. Hence, it’s perfect any families! In fact, my wife Angie and I learnt quite a bit from reading them as well.
2. Big, Bold and Colourful: From the cover to the pages within, the books are very colourful and welcoming. Every page draws the readers with its attractive illustrations and bold colour scheme. They truly appeal to readers of all ages…including parents!
3. Comprehensive: The topics covered range from the everyday practices to slightly more sensitive ones which, given any other ordinary day, would be culturally sensitive topics that may not be so easy to broach. However, the details in the books are general, and not meant to be exhaustive. The books serve to create general awareness of the unique beliefs and practices of the different races in Singapore, in the hope that readers will take a personal interest to discover more about other races and religions.
4. Self-explanatory: The content is simple and very self-explanatory. Even my Primary 3 girl has no difficulty reading them on her own.
5. Great Conversation Starters: The books are designed in a questions-and-answers format for parents to use as conversation starters and family discussions. The books, produced for children between 5- to 8-year-olds in mind, can only “scratch the surface of otherwise complex topics” but the publishers hope that it would be an opportunity for adults to address these “awkward” questions with their children with more confidence.
Here are some samples pages from the books:
Start the Conversation…towards Racial Integration:
Race and religion matters will always be sensitive but learning about them need not be always in a sensitive and taboo context. These series of 4 family-friendly books is proof of that.
The ‘Understanding Singaporeans‘ series of 4 books are written by Edmund Wee and illustrated by Chee Jia Yi are a staple every home should have. Each handbook contains 20 questions, with answers as well as useful tips, to some of the most asked questions young Singaporeans have revolving around the country’s four main races. It is a great resource for learning about unique beliefs and practices of our 4 major races in a non-sensitive, easy yet respectful way. It is a great conversation starter for parents to have with their children in nurturing greater racial tolerance where we can go from racial tolerance to racial integration – where the world truly belongs to all, regardless of race, language or religion.
Details and Price
The ‘Understanding Singaporeans‘ books are sold at S$12.90 individually or S$46.40 as a bundle (The bundle is available only at the Epigram Books online while individual books are available at all leading Singaporean bookstores). Enjoy FREE LOCAL SHIPPING with online orders above S$15.
In celebration of Racial Harmony Day 2017, we have 2 ‘Understanding Singaporeans‘ bundles (each worth SGD46.40) to be given away to 2 loyal readers.
To participate, simply do the following:
3. Leave a comment below this post with your name and email address, tell me why you would like to win these books.
Bonus Entry: Share the FB Giveaway Post with 2 other friends from other races/religions in your circle on your personal FB page.
Contest Rules: The giveaway ends Wednesday 26 July 2017, 11.59pm and is open to readers in Singapore. The winner will be contacted using the email address provided when entering this draw and will have 24 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. Winners will have to self-collect the books near Ngee Ann Polytechnic at a mutually-convenient date/time.
All entries will be verified before the winner is announced, incomplete and unverified entries will be disqualified. Please note that all Facebook and Instagram accounts (e.g. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no authentic posts or very few real friends) will be disqualified. Happy Racial Harmony Day!