Neither Civil Nor Servant
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NEITHER CIVIL NOR SERVANT
by Peh Shing Huei
published by Straits Times Press
Don’t call me a civil servant. I consider that an insult.” – Philip Yeo
Philip Yeo is unlike any civil servant. He prefers action over talk, cartoons over words and speed over due process. The maverick was blunt, direct and not afraid to challenge the status quo, earning him a reputation not only as one of Singapore’s most accomplished government officials, but also among its most colourful bureaucrats.
Neither Civil Nor Servant captures the half a century career of the former Economic Development Board chairman, telling the stories of brilliant achievements almost unparalleled in the history of the Singapore civil service. Yeo was the man who turned Batam into a household name in Singapore, created Jurong Island from seawater and put the country on the biomedical map globally with its iconic Biopolis. The famous rule breaker bulldozed his way through the bureaucracy he was a part of, blazing new paths in a manner more akin to an entrepreneur than a civil servant. In the process, he offended more than a few and was never afraid to challenge naysayers publicly, regardless of status and background.
In the hands of acclaimed journalist and author Peh Shing Huei, this authorised biography brings out Philip Yeo the private man behind the public figure and uncovers the behind-the-scene stories of some of Singapore’s biggest post-independence military, economic and political adventures. Neither Civil Nor Servant is an engaging and enthralling book, offering fascinating insights into one of Singapore’s most unconventional pioneer civil servants.
- paperback: 276 pages
- product dimensions: 152 x 227 mm