Diversity, even—or perhaps especially—Asian diversity, in crime novels and dramatizations is of course nothing new: Inspector Ganesh Ghote first appeared in 1964; Priyanka Chopra debuted in Quantico in 2015. But, mirroring the real world, there is now diversity within the diversity. Bloody Foreigners, Neil Humphreys’s latest “Inspector Low” novel, this time has the bipolar Singapore detective being called upon by London’s Detective Inspector Ramila Mistry to help with the murder of moonlighting Singapore student Mohamed Kamal in Chinatown. 

Refreshing the Singapore System: Recalibrating Socio-Economic Policy for the 21st Century, Terence WL Ho (World Scientific, August 2021) By (author): Terence W L Ho
Refreshing the Singapore System: Recalibrating Socio-Economic Policy for the 21st Century, Terence WL Ho (World Scientific, August 2021)

Entering the 21st century, however, slowing economic growth, an ageing population, global competition, and widening income dispersion have put the Singapore System under strain. This has prompted a significant refresh of social and economic policies over the past 15-20 years.

Joseph Conrad’s Eastern Voyages: Tales of Singapore and an East Borneo River, Ian Burnet  (Alfred Street Press, April 2021)
Joseph Conrad’s Eastern Voyages: Tales of Singapore and an East Borneo River, Ian Burnet (Alfred Street Press, April 2021)

Joseph Conrad’s favored destination was Asia, the bustling transit port of Singapore, the remote islands and ports of the Dutch East Indies. It was from Singapore that he made four voyages as first mate on the steamship Vidar to a small trading post which was forty miles up a river on the east coast of Borneo. A river and a settlement which he described as “One of the last, forgotten, unknown places on earth”. His Borneo books—Almayer’s Folly, An Outcast of the Islands, The Rescue and the latter part of Lord Jim—were all based on the places he visited, the stories he heard, and the people he met during these voyages.

George F Kennan believed that in examining the history of the 20th century, all the lines of inquiry led back to the First World War. Westerners tend to view the First World War through the narrow but compelling lens of the Western Front, but the war was truly global, in part because Britain, France, and other European powers had colonies and allies throughout much of the world. India then was the jewel in the British imperial crown, but as Umej Bhatia shows in his meticulous new book Our Name is Mutiny, the jewel was coming loose due to Indian nationalism and global jihadism, and for a brief moment the Indian revolutionary ferment exploded in Singapore.