No prize for guessing who the character “Panjang” takes inspirations from in real life.
Published by homegrown publisher World Scientific and supported by Mapletree Investments, Panjang was officially presented on 16 November 2019 at Marine Parade’s PAP Community Foundation Family Day.
The book is written by Singapore Literature Prize-winning author Peh Shing Huei (who also wrote ESM Goh’s memoir, Tall Order: The Goh Chok Tong Story) and illustrated by Drewscape aka Andrew Tan.
Panjang, which means “long” in Bahasa Melayu, is the childhood nickname of Singapore’s second Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, who was the tallest kid in his class. In this children’s book, Mr Goh’s growing up years are fleshed out in colourful detail, including how Mr Goh discovered what made him stand out and how he eventually became class monitor, prefect, scout troop leader, captain of the swim team and chairman of the historical society of his school. This children’s tale, closely accompanied with thoughtful illustrations, is an inspiring story of how one can embrace the things that make one different.
In his remarks at the event, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong thanked Mapletree for donating copies of Panjang to kindergartens located at their premises. He also said that the book is meant to inspire young people and motivate them to seize opportunities in life and education.
Mapletree Investments will be sponsoring 8,000 copies of Panjang to kindergartens islandwide.
“This children’s book gives us a glimpse of Goh Chok Tong’s early years. The vivid drawings capture the events that shaped our second Prime Minister. Shing Huei, Andrew and the team have done a great job in taking us on a walk down memory lane. The support of Mapletree will go a long way in sharing the values that have stood the test of time.” Shared Max Phua, Managing Director, World Scientific.
Panjang: The Tall Boy Who Became Prime Minister will be sold at all major bookstores including Kinokuniya, Times the Bookstore, Popular and retails at S$19.80 (hardcover) and S$9.95 (paperback) inclusive of GST.
Drewscape aka Andrew Tan is a freelance illustrator and an Eisner-nominated comic artist. He is the author of the graphic novel The Ollie Comics: Diary of a first-time dad.