Useful Christmas Gifts #3: Singapore’s Greatest Disasters

This collection of short stories is written by Malcolm Oei. Set to some of Singapore’s most notorious events like the Nicoll Highway collapse, the Bukit Ho Swee fire and the SQ hijack, they are made all the more compelling by the fact that we have a piss poor reputation of investigative journalism.

You’ll want to read Mr Oei’s retelling of these chilling events and you won’t be able to stop yourself thinking if they really happened like that. The shorts are intricately researched, and you know this bugger has gone around asking the right people the right questions and has come up with a reasonable return of the right answers.

It’s almost as if these accounts were taken off something like and classified as fiction so that no one would be put in an uncomfortable position.

There is a scorcher of a story on the SQ117 hijack – where our fine commandos stormed a plane and shot four desperados armed with bread knives and killed them dead – and I suspect there might have been a missing chapter on the series of monumental cock-ups that led to Mas Selamat’s escaping into Malaysia, but the author denies having even considered it.

Don’t be put off by the book’s damned ugly cover, as local publishers tend to have crap cover designers. Go and buy yourself and your friends a copy of Malcolm Oei’s Singapore’s Greatest Disasters ($17 at all good bookshops and online).