Publication: Speaking of Children

March 2016

Singapore Children’s Society has collated the topics covered in its annual Lecture series in a new book, 'Speaking of Children: The Singapore Children's Society Collected Lectures'. It was launched on 16 October last year by Prof Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large, at the National Library Building’s function area, The Pod.

Children’s Society has organised an annual Lecture since 2007, inviting thought leaders to share their views on topics relating to children. Past speakers included then-Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports and Second Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, social work and social services veteran Prof Ann Wee, then-Attorney-General of Singapore Prof Walter Woon, then-academic advisor of SIM University Prof Aline Wong, Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings Limited Mr Ho Kwon Ping, National University of Singapore Faculty of Law Professor Prof Leong Wai Kum, Speaker of Parliament Mdm Halimah Yacob, and Director of the Institute of Policy Studies and Chief of Government Communications at the Ministry of Communications and Information, Mr Janadas Devan.

Each of the book’s eight chapters features a brief speaker biography, the lecture transcript, photographs and illustrative cartoons. The book committee, headed by Assoc Prof John Elliott who also served as editor, also conducted interviews with the speakers post-lecture, capturing his or her reflections.

Assoc Prof Elliott delivered the opening address at the launch event, offering the audience a glimpse behind-the-scenes of the making of the book.

“We had no thought or expectation that the lectures might become chapters in a book. However, when we considered options for marking the 50th year of independence (and incidentally the 63rd year of the Society’s existence), it seemed clear these lectures were an eminently publishable collection of personal perspectives on children by distinguished people,” he said.

Some of the threads that run through the lectures, including the value and importance of family, the problems of modern living, communication across generations, and contemporary morality, have  prompted the Society to re-examine its focus.

“Maybe we need to consider broadening our thinking in the Society towards considering issues that concern all families and all children, and not only those who have immediate and specific needs for help. Perhaps, too, we need to listen more to children, and be more prepared to adopt advocacy positions,” he said.

These words provide much food for thought and the Society has strived to hear more children’s voices, including during the two most recent instalments of the Singapore Children’s Forum. The Society will continue to invite leaders from various fields to share their opinions on what more can be done in the interest of all children.

'Speaking of Children' is available for sale online at World Scientific's official website and in major bookstores.


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