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 unafraid 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 colorful 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 authorized biography brings out the private man behind Philip Yeo's public figure and uncovers the behind-the-scenes stories of some of Singapore’s biggest post-independence military, economic, and political adventures.
Neither Civil nor Servant is an engaging and enthralling audiobook, offering fascinating insights into one of Singapore's most unconventional pioneer civil servants.
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Story behind Singapore’s success
Philip Yeo shares his ways of how to get things done. He broke rules where needed as long as it was in the public interest and not for personal gain. He drove several industries into setting up their offices and operations in Singapore. He was always looking for the next industry to bring to Singapore. He was committed to talent development and backed his people when he saw they made the effort. He got rid of managers who were causing problems as his belief was that people cannot change.
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- Mark LTC
A very very good read. An entertaining and insightful view of Singapore development and progress