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Straits Times Press launches new book "Neither Civil Nor Servant – The Philip Yeo Story"

Singapore, 11 November 2016 – Straits Times Press, the book publishing arm of Singapore Press Holdings, today launched "Neither Civil Nor Servant – The Philip Yeo Story", a biography on Philip Yeo by author Peh Shing Huei.

The book launch was held at the National University Health System Tower Block Auditorium. The launch was attended by 300 guests, including current and former politicians, government officials and members of the diplomatic corps.

"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. Mr 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.

Mr Yeo 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. The maverick was 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. This is the first time his biography has been published.

The 276-page book brings out Mr Yeo, the private man behind the public figure and uncovers behind-the-scene stories of some of Singapore’s biggest post-independence military, economic and political adventures.

On his new book, Mr Yeo said: “After I left my last paid job in the Government working under Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, many of my friends and colleagues suggested I could allow someone to write my biography.
“They thought my years of experience contributing towards Singapore’s economic and industrial development would provide useful lessons for the present and future generation. I was happy to work with Peh Shing Huei on the book and spent many hours with him recounting my 40-year career in the public service. I continue to promote Singapore in my travels and during my overseas assignments.”

The book author, Peh Shing Huei, is a Singapore Literature Prize-winning author of "When the Party Ends". He is a founding partner of The Nutgraf, a writing and consulting agency, and is a former news editor and China bureau chief at The Straits Times.

Mr Peh Shing Huei said: “This book has something for everyone. For those who are not familiar with Philip Yeo, it will be a colourful introduction into one of Singapore’s most exciting pioneer civil servants. For those who are already familiar with Philip Yeo, there promises to be a lot more insights into the man whom many do not know.”

Ms Susan Long, General Manager of Straits Times Press said: “We are honoured to be the publisher of this pacey volume, Neither Civil Nor Servant, which attempts to capture – in both tempo and spirit – the personality, journey and life work of Philip Yeo.”

Economic Development Innovations Singapore (EDIS), who was part of the committee behind the book project, will donate receipts from its pre-launch sales of Neither Civil Nor Servant to the EDIS Cares Fund. EDIS was founded to render economic development services and promote the Singapore development experience. The EDIS Cares fund is administered by Community Foundation of Singapore to support the creation of opportunities for underprivileged children to reach their full potential.

"Neither Civil Nor Servant" is available at all major bookshops at S$37.45 (inclusive of GST) and


Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Co. Regn. No. 198402868E

For more information, please contact:

Dr Ivan Choong
Economic Development Innovations Singapore
DID: +65 6908 7657


Ms Samantha Lim
Economic Development Innovations Singapore
DID: +65 6908 7644


Mr Yeo Siew Chi
Corporate Communications & CSR
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
DID: +65 6319 1586


About Straits Times Press (STP)

Straits Times Press is a publishing house with more than 100 years of combined international publishing experience as a team. The team has won international and regional prizes for excellence in editorial, design and publishing.

Straits Times Press publishes History, Biographies/Memoirs, Politics, Culture, Food and Lifestyle books. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.

For more information, please visit

About EDIS

Economic Development Innovations Singapore (EDIS) Pte Ltd is a privately-owned international economic development company that is headquartered in Singapore.

EDIS provides strategic advice and undertakes the development and management of integrated industrial and urban areas. Our management team comprises veterans who led successful township and industrial park developments in Asia.

EDIS works with governments and investors to leverage Singapore’s development experience for the benefit of other countries. By structuring effective partnerships with key stakeholders, we aim to create quality jobs and accelerate economic development worldwide.

About Singapore Press Holdings Ltd

Incorporated in 1984, main board-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) is Asia’s leading media organisation, engaging minds and enriching lives across multiple languages and platforms, ranging from print, digital, radio and out-of-home media.

SPH owns award-winning newspapers, magazines and best-selling books in both print and digital editions, as well as online classified businesses in the region. In addition, SPH has two English radio stations and one Chinese radio station, an out-of-home digital advertising unit, a regional events and conferences arm, and runs a chain of modern retail convenience stores. SPH also has a 20 per cent stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8 and U, and a 40 per cent stake in MediaCorp Press Limited, which publishes the free newspaper, Today.

SPH REIT comprises Paragon, a premier upscale retail mall and medical suite/office property in Orchard Road and The Clementi Mall, a mid-market suburban mall. SPH’s latest retail development is The Seletar Mall located in Sengkang.

For more information, please visit