Psychological Capital: Essays by David Chan (2015–2017)


Authors : David Chan (Singapore Management University, Singapore)

Publisher : World Scientific

ISBN : 978-981-3235-21-2

FROM NATIONAL LEADERS

"David is an astute observer of Singapore society, and his essays provide timely insights into what it means to be Singaporean, now and in the future. In an increasingly complex world, the need to ensure a caring, confident and cohesive Singapore has become ever more important. This book takes an even-handed and constructive view to local and international issues, and urges us to come together to build trust and commitment towards one another as fellow Singaporeans, as one nation."
-- Ms Grace Fu
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Singapore

"David has produced a thoughtful collection of essays that not only offers useful observations and perspectives on national issues, but invites us to consider the role we each can play towards building a stronger, more cohesive society. By analysing the complexities of public policy formulation and implementation, and sounding out ideas for building upon common ground and shared values, he shows a way forward for us to build up psychological capital."
-- Mr Heng Swee Keat
Minister for Finance, Singapore

"As our society matures, we begin to see shifts in our social fabric and the rise of more complex issues that need to be addressed and debated. Professor Chan's analyses are insightful and help readers make sense of these issues. Like many of his previous works, Psychological Capital is a worthy read."
-- Dr Yaacob Ibrahim
Minister for Communications and Information, Singapore

"Professor David Chan has contributed widely to the public sphere as an academic, writer and volunteer. His essays not only provide keen insight on issues of the day, but are also penned with a sincerity that shows how he cares about our society and its people. In an increasingly diverse society, Professor Chan reminds both policymakers and the public that behind every differing view is a person, and that the answer to difference is always empathy."
-- Mr Desmond Lee
Minister for Social and Family Development, Singapore

"David's essays examine critical issues that are close to the heart of our people. He shares astute and thoughtful behavioural insights on why and how engaging our people in critical discussion can contribute to our people's well-being and our nation's progress. Psychological Capital provides a springboard for such discussions, which foster deeper reflection on how policy deliberations can foster shared understandings that are vital in moving our country onwards to the next lap."
-- Mr Ng Chee Meng
Minister for Education (Schools), Singapore

"It is always enriching to read David's work. Not only is it fascinating in its own right, but it is socially relevant and insightful on so many levels."
-- Mr Tan Chuan-Jin
Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore

FROM ACADEMIC AND UNIVERSITY LEADERS

"David Chan's second collection of essays from his columns in The Straits Times, titled Psychological Capital, is well-worth reading and a book to keep. A renowned behavioural psychologist who is well-respected internationally by his peers and cited frequently for his research papers, David has an unusual ability to write seriously for the non-specialist on critical topics of timely and general concern from his professional perspective and to examine the issues clearly and honestly. Policymakers will benefit from the perspectives, so will the general reader."
-- Professor Chan Heng Chee
Chairman, Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities
Singapore University of Technology and Design

"The strength of a society is influenced by its people's mindsets. David has provided us many practical suggestions on how we can develop mindsets that will contribute positively to self, others, and the larger good of the community, whether we are going about our daily lives or finding our own meaning and purpose in life."
-- Professor Chong Tow Chong
Provost
Singapore University of Technology and Design

"David Chan's regular contributions on the evolving psychological drivers in Singapore have had a real impact on the debate in our society. Each of his articles hit a real issue in our collective thinking. But the collection of twenty-one articles is really powerful. David gets to the core of what the psychological identity of Singapore is all about. I think all engaged Singaporeans should read this."
-- Professor Arnoud De Meyer
President
Singapore Management University

"David Chan is a 'public intellectual' in the best sense of that term: He is capable of writing for the 'common reader', like the best of journalists, and not just for his fellow experts. But he is an expert in his field, not an amateur, unlike most journalists."
-- Mr Janadas Devan
Director, Institute of Policy Studies
National University of Singapore

"Time without number Singapore has been described as lacking all resources save its harbour and its people. Its people embody its psychological capital. David Chan analyses what this really means in a second series of insightful and topical articles. David is unrivalled in his ability to use serious research to inform his comments. At a time when it has become increasingly difficult to know just what can be believed in the news or online, David's scholarly use of facts lends great credence to his articles."
-- Dr John Elliott
Associate Professor of Psychology
National University of Singapore

"I highly commend this book of essays by Professor David Chan, Singapore's most eminent psychologist and thought leader."
-- Professor Tommy Koh
Ambassador-At-Large
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore

"David has brought together a second volume of his opinion editorials, which have themselves been very widely circulated and read. Like the previous volume, People Matter, I fully expect this one to be well distributed, creating significant impact in many domains, in the public, private, and people sectors, and giving each of us as individuals much food for thought. Working as a scientist-practitioner, David has the knack of analysing deeply while explaining clearly, as this readable volume amply demonstrates."
-- Professor Lily Kong
Provost
Singapore Management University

"I find this collection of essays fascinating. They are intellectually stimulating and practically useful. David's expertise and experiences have enabled him to integrate what really matter in both rationality and emotions. This book offers a unique blend of analytical rigour and grounded realism that will help us deal with many contemporary issues facing our nation and society."
-- Professor Kishore Mahbubani
Dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
National University of Singapore &
Co-author of The ASEAN Miracle: A Catalyst For Peace

"Wonderfully perceptive, and engaging, is this collection of twenty-one essays which discusses a wide range of topics, from what contributes to individual well-being, to the things which matter to society. With lucid clarity, and with great insightful assessment, David Chan's book should be made compulsory reading to decision-makers and policymakers because it provides superb analysis on why such issues arise, why they matter, and how best to deal with them. Values such as integrity, fairness, and social harmony are non-market goods in economics, and such goods are extremely important in the allocation of resources for informed decision-making. A must-read for all."
-- Professor Euston Quah
President, Economic Society of Singapore &
Head of Economics, Nanyang Technological University

"David is an outstanding Singaporean academic who has shaped social awareness, reflection, and public discourse among Singaporeans. He consistently and committedly delivers reasoned and thoughtful pieces published in The Straits Times. In each essay, David skillfully combines his academic grounding and astute observations of a wide range of issues, with the heart of an educator, to analyse issues from multiple perspectives and present them in a persuasive way. Psychological Capital recollects the unique journey and pertinent issues that matter to Singaporeans over the past two years in a highly readable and engaging manner. David's writings resonate with all walks and generations of Singaporeans."
-- Professor Tan Eng Chye
Provost
National University of Singapore

"The prolific David Chan has produced yet another valuable collection of thoughtful and incisive essays that address issues which we are all grappling with in contemporary Singapore."
-- Professor Tan Tai Yong
President
Yale-NUS College

"Just like his previous book, People Matter, David once again has brought his unique and original perspective to examine a range of issues that are topical and help the readers understand better their biases, and in the process helps all of us to see that 'things can and will get better in the future'."
-- Professor Tan Thiam Soon
President
Singapore Institute of Technology

"In a secular world that is focused on material well-being and technological determinism, David Chan continues to explore a range of social experiences for a moral compass. In these clearly presented and persuasive essays drawn from his study of psychology, he marks out signposts towards living life with minimal fears in a fast-changing and uncertain world."
-- Professor Wang Gungwu
Chairman, East Asian Institute &
University Professor, National University of Singapore

"Professor David Chan's collection of essays in Psychological Capital are both courageous and constructive by his own definition — they are based on rigorous evidence and analysis, as well as relevant to the social and policy problems they address without fear or favour. A must-read for all contemporary policymakers, especially in Singapore."
-- Mr Yeoh Lam Keong
Adjunct Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
National University of Singapore

FROM PUBLIC SECTOR LEADERS

"This collection of Professor Chan's essays is a must-read for policymakers around the world but it is particularly pertinent to Singapore because of our National Pledge to be 'one united people, regardless of race, language or religion'. This pledge is an aspiration that will not happen naturally but requires continuous and conscious work. Work by you and I, by the community, and by the Government. However, as David puts it in the preface of the book, it is not enough to know the 'what' and 'why'; we need to know the 'how' and 'when'. These essays by David provide deep insights on the 'how' and 'when'."
-- Dr Beh Swan Gin
Chairman
Economic Development Board, Singapore

"David Chan's essays are always topical, enjoyable, and accessible to the general reader. He blends deep insights into the human condition into a larger commentary on societal trends."
-- Mr Peter Ho
Chairman, Social Science Research Council &
Chairman, Urban Redevelopment Authority, Singapore

"Readers will greatly benefit from the ideas contained in this book as it has more to offer than just intellectual insights. I have known David for twenty-five years, seeing his work first as a police officer and subsequently as a psychologist assisting the Singapore Police Force. I have also followed his scholarly accomplishments, observed his public service work, and admired his thought leadership. The essays in this book reflect scientific objectivity, grounded life experiences, social conscience, practical wisdom, and love for the country. They illustrate how these values are complementary and can be integrated to advance a position or cause. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to make a positive difference to society and the lives of others."
-- Mr Khoo Boon Hui
Senior Fellow, Home Team Academy & Civil Service College
Former Commissioner of Singapore Police Force &
Former President of INTERPOL

"In his column in The Straits Times, David Chan writes about things which genuinely matter to him as a Singaporean. While his analyses sit on a foundation of scholarship and research, he does not allow this to distract from the vernacular ease of his writing which has made his column accessible to the general public. He writes as a social scientist — sharing dispassionate analysis to explain and to offer a perspective; he also writes with a heart to connect with ordinary Singaporeans, to provoke pause and reflection — to cultivate a habit of rational, thoughtful, and balanced discussion when dealing with negativity and challenges, to cultivate a positive psychological capital which we cannot do without if we are to continue to thrive as a nation."
-- Mr Benny Lim
Chairman, Temasek Foundation Connects CLG
Former Permanent Secretary
Ministry of National Development &
National Security Intelligence Coordination
Prime Minister's Office, Singapore

"We are supposed to be living in a world that is more connected, where we can access the latest information and everyone has a voice through social media. Yet, we have never felt more divided as a global community, where walls are being erected between and within nations, communities, and in our own minds. This book, Psychological Capital, is a timely reminder of a key aspect of Singapore's Total Defence — Psychological Defence, that of 'Being a Resilient People'. More than that, with his academic rigour and belief in the scientist-practitioner model, David has made insightful suggestions in how each of us, in our own roles, and collectively as a people, can take practical actions to contribute to the Psychological Capital of Singapore."
-- Mr Lim Chuan Poh
Chairman
Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore
-- "Businesses and even nations often miss the strengths that come in the human dimensions of social capital, emotional capital, and psychological capital. These are the mental strength of the individual and community power of the group. In this series of essays, David shares important insights and practical suggestions on how we can make a positive difference for ourselves and others as we go about making decisions and responding to events. His expertise in the social and behavioural sciences brings fresh perspectives to the issues hotly debated in Singapore. Many of these issues are also relevant for other countries striving for economic progress and social cohesion. I strongly recommend these essays for ideas and understanding which can benefit both Singaporeans and non-Singaporeans"

Professor Lim Siong Guan
Advisor to the Group Executive Committee of GIC
Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
National University of Singapore &
Co-author of The Leader, The Teacher & You and Winning with Honour

"David Chan's articles are always insightful, relatable, and enjoyable to read."
-- Ms Lim Soo Hoon
Chairman
Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, Singapore

"As Singapore matures as a society, it is the spirit of its people that will matter most for its continued success. In this collection of thoughtful essays, David Chan describes the key ingredients that make up that spirit: resilience, self-confidence, optimism, and hope. David's trademark intellectual honesty, clarity of thought, and people-centricity shine through these essays, appealing to both head and heart."
-- Mr Ravi Menon
Managing Director
Monetary Authority of Singapore

"Whether one agrees or disagrees with David, he has the knack of giving a different perspective to a wide range of current issues which policymakers grapple with. He does so from the perspective of a top psychologist's point of view, grounded on empirical data and a deep understanding of the human psyche. His deep insights and analyses often help one to understand the increasing complexities of society and the difficult trade-offs policymakers have in governing."
-- Mr Niam Chiang Meng
Chairman, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore &
Former Permanent Secretary, National Population and Talent Division
Prime Minister's Office, Singapore

"David always has a pertinent and useful perspective to offer on issues of the day that affect Singapore and Singaporeans. His views provide a relevant conceptual framework for policymakers to use in reflecting on such issues."
-- Mr Eddie Teo
Chairman
Public Service Commission, Singapore

FROM PRIVATE SECTOR LEADERS

"As in everywhere else, it is not easy for public intellectuals in Singapore to comment on critical and controversial issues in a way that is grounded in scientific evidence, empirical facts, intellectual honesty, political courage, and practical realities of the day. Professor David Chan managed to combine all these as the foundation upon which he produced this series of thought-provoking and constructive essays. Read this book in its entirety if you have an interest in the future of Singapore and the well-being of its people."
-- Mr Ho Kwon Ping
Executive Chairman
Banyan Tree Holdings

"It is no surprise that each essay in this book is food for thought. David provides insight of the Singapore situation that both policymakers and the public should consider. He offers guideposts that business and community leaders could apply to their work. His views are anchored on values that resonate with Singaporeans and will benefit many in their personal lives. This book is a great source of inspiration."
-- Mr Lim Hock San
President and CEO
United Industrial Corporation Ltd

"Psychological capital is the bedrock of a successful society and David Chan has put his finger to the pulse of Singapore society, offering sometimes sharp but always insightful comments about the state of affairs. Anyone interested in how societies build up and use this invaluable resource must read Psychological Capital."
-- Dr Jeremy Lim
Partner and Head, Health & Life Sciences Practice
Asia Pacific, Oliver Wyman &
Author of Myth or Magic: The Singapore Healthcare System

"In an increasingly fragmented world and society, David's research and essays are now more pertinent than ever. Through a detailed analysis of current affairs and societal constructs, his work gives us insights into complex issues and how to better understand the seemingly unpredictable and tumultuous swings of public sentiments and concerns in our nation."
-- Ms Lim Sau Hoong
Former CEO & Executive Creative Director
10AM Communications

"I have always appreciated reading the essays by David. He manages to accurately identify the critical issues of our society and provide practical solutions, convincingly backed by scholarly theories."
-- Dr Liu Thai Ker
Chairman, Centre for Liveable Cities &
Architect-Planner & Senior Director,
RSP Architects Planners & Engineers Pte Ltd

"The essays collected in this book offer many substantive insights, but equally important they provide useful examples of how to present an argument or a point of view constructively and effectively. Whether you are a student, a business or community leader, or someone who cares for the future of our country and wants to speak up to make a positive difference, this book is well worth reading and re-reading."
-- Mr Gerald Singham
Deputy Managing Partner
Dentons Rodyk & Davidson LLP

"David Chan comments courageously and constructively, on complex issues facing us. I have always found his views as an academic, interesting and pragmatic, stimulating and reasoned. He has in the last few years focused on challenges facing Singapore's long-term future and argues for the need to build resilience and psychological capital for Singapore to survive. The commentaries challenge and are always worth the time."
-- Ms Debra Soon
Chief Customer Officer
MediaCorp Pte Ltd

"In the initial years, David's essays set me thinking seriously about policymaking in Singapore, as a stakeholder but through the lens of an observer. Over the years, as he addressed issues and situations as they unfold, I learnt the importance of according a higher weightage to people's concerns and sentiments when making or influencing policies. Through his insights, there appears room for corrective action in a collective action which touches and affects lives. David's energy and bandwidth remains an inspiration to many of us who are challenged to find time in a complex and fast evolving Singapore."
-- Mr Tan Kian Hoon
Managing Director, Suntec Real Estate Consultants,
Chairman, National Crime Prevention Council &
Chairman, National Council on Problem Gambling

"With his insightful perspectives, David makes everyday issues come alive, captures what really matters, and provides balanced narratives of life and living in Singapore. Whether it is about our emotional commitment to the nation or learning to listen to others, David nailed it. This book is a fascinating read!"
-- Ms Mildred Tan
Managing Director
Ernst and Young Advisory Pte Ltd

"Scattered throughout these twenty-one essays by David Chan are nuggets of ideas and insights about living in Singapore. The reader picks them up at leisure and with profit."
-- Mr George Yeo
Chairman
Kerry Logistics Network

FROM PEOPLE SECTOR LEADERS

"I always look forward to David's articles in The Straits Times for a different take on the current issues of the day. And I continue to be amazed by his understanding of our human makeup, and putting his observations across in an insightful 'that-makes-sense' manner. A re-read will help drive the lessons home."
-- Mr Willie Cheng
Chairman, Singapore Institute of Directors &
Author of Doing Good Well and Doing Good Great

"In an era of disruption, building psychological capital is increasingly important to individuals, companies, organisations, communities, and countries. In his new book, David Chan had highlighted the way forward in this volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world."
-- Mr Chng Hwee Hong
Chairman
Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises

"I have been following the writings of David Chan for a long time. This latest book of his, Psychological Capital, will definitely be another thoughtprovoking work. It is almost impossible to read any of David's writings without broadening one's mind. He continuously provides a diet of ideas to ponder on and broaden perspectives on his chosen topics. It will be another treasured collection to my precious library."
-- Mr Gerard Ee
President
Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants

"David Chan writes with piercing clarity and simplicity to explain, unpack, and probe the psychology behind both the unusual and mundane through the frame of current affairs. His practical wisdom makes his writings insightful and useful to anyone seeking to better understand social dynamics and make wise choices to create a better world."
-- Ms Melissa Kwee
Chief Executive Officer
National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre, Singapore

"Singaporeans are largely a functional lot, not giving much attention beyond the logical. Yet, under the surface, emotions run deep, driven by our values and hopes, and by what gives us purpose and meaning. Hence, I do recommend reading David Chan's work in its entirety. He is a rare commentator who focuses on strengthening the psychological capital critical in building a nation. He writes lucidly and incisively, not only as an eminent social scientist that he is, but also as a patriot who wants Singapore to succeed."
-- Mr Laurence Lien
Chairman
Lien Foundation

"Psychological capital pervades every aspect of our lives and strengthens us, through successes and failures, as individuals and as a community. In this series of essays written in his usual readably style, David explains how psychological capital concepts like hope, optimism, resilience, and self-efficacy are powerful tools that develop the inner strength of an individual and also prepare us to deal with the societal challenges that we face now and those that we may face in the future. This is a must-read book for all."
-- Dr Sudha Nair
Executive Director
PAVE


"Professor David Chan writes about serious issues but in an easy to understand, and often light-hearted manner. He provides insights and analysis to things that are happening around us, and helps individuals deal with potentially difficult and complex issues, such as ambivalence and living meaningful lives, by providing frameworks and guiding principles. A must-read."
-- Mr Sim Gim Guan
Chief Executive Officer
National Council of Social Service, Singapore

"Technology, connectivity, and disruptions are changing the way we think, learn, work, and live at personal and national levels. We need greater diversity in perspectives and active participation in community and national life to better understand issues and create effective solutions. David's essays in this book provide a rich source of ideas for us to reflect on our views and actions, and sharpen them. An important read for anyone who is invested in Singapore's future."
-- Ms Mary Ann Tsao
Chairman
Tsao Foundation

"The ideas expressed in this book deal with issues on human psychological capital, which is indeed a critical asset for community building in Singapore. It is a highly recommended reading particularly for people developers."
-- Dr S Vasoo
Associate Professorial Fellow of Social Work
National University of Singapore

"Another most welcome book from Professor David Chan! Those readable and thought-engendering Saturday Straits Times articles may well have slipped out with the newsprint recycle. Now we have them in solid, book form, to dip into at leisure, and refresh memories of the highly significant themes. In an era when too many social scientists communicate only with each other, in a vocabulary unhelpfully (and unnecessarily) esoteric, Professor Chan is master of a plain English, which can be appreciated by a general educated readership. His sharing of thoughts is welcome indeed!"
-- Mrs Ann Elizabeth Wee
Associate Professorial Fellow of Social Work
National University of Singapore
This book is the second collection of twenty-one essays by behavioural scientist Professor David Chan. The essays in the book first appeared in The Straits Times from March 2015 to September 2017. They discuss a wide range of topics including the different types of commitment to country, diversity and cohesion, people-centric policies and unintended consequences in policymaking, futures thinking, maladaptive cynicism and healthy scepticism, ambivalence from mixed feelings, terrorism, the psychology of power, separating sincere apologies from insincere ones, the impact of socio-political humour, and finding one's own meaning in life. A common theme that runs through these essays is developing "Psychological Capital" to build a strong society of individuals and communities — one that is able to pursue positive things but also able to handle shocks, failures and unmet expectations. This book goes beyond examining critical issues that matter to people, policymaking and nation building, and why they do, to focus on translating the "knowing what" and "knowing why" to "knowing how" and "knowing when". Endorsed by fifty leaders from different sectors, this book provides a powerful springboard for self-reflections, internal and public discussions, and individual and collective actions.
David Chan is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Behavioural Sciences Institute at the Singapore Management University (SMU), Adjunct Principal Scientist at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and Co-Director of the Centre for Technology and Social-Behavioural Insights jointly established by A*STAR and SMU. He has received numerous international awards and served as Editor or board member on several journals. His works have been cited over 4000 times in various disciplines. He serves on various national councils, boards and advisory panels in Singapore and United States. He is Elected Fellow of several international psychological associations.
FROM NATIONAL LEADERS

"David is an astute observer of Singapore society, and his essays provide timely insights into what it means to be Singaporean, now and in the future. In an increasingly complex world, the need to ensure a caring, confident and cohesive Singapore has become ever more important. This book takes an even-handed and constructive view to local and international issues, and urges us to come together to build trust and commitment towards one another as fellow Singaporeans, as one nation."
-- Ms Grace Fu
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Singapore

"David has produced a thoughtful collection of essays that not only offers useful observations and perspectives on national issues, but invites us to consider the role we each can play towards building a stronger, more cohesive society. By analysing the complexities of public policy formulation and implementation, and sounding out ideas for building upon common ground and shared values, he shows a way forward for us to build up psychological capital."
-- Mr Heng Swee Keat
Minister for Finance, Singapore

"As our society matures, we begin to see shifts in our social fabric and the rise of more complex issues that need to be addressed and debated. Professor Chan's analyses are insightful and help readers make sense of these issues. Like many of his previous works, Psychological Capital is a worthy read."
-- Dr Yaacob Ibrahim
Minister for Communications and Information, Singapore

"Professor David Chan has contributed widely to the public sphere as an academic, writer and volunteer. His essays not only provide keen insight on issues of the day, but are also penned with a sincerity that shows how he cares about our society and its people. In an increasingly diverse society, Professor Chan reminds both policymakers and the public that behind every differing view is a person, and that the answer to difference is always empathy."
-- Mr Desmond Lee
Minister for Social and Family Development, Singapore

"David's essays examine critical issues that are close to the heart of our people. He shares astute and thoughtful behavioural insights on why and how engaging our people in critical discussion can contribute to our people's well-being and our nation's progress. Psychological Capital provides a springboard for such discussions, which foster deeper reflection on how policy deliberations can foster shared understandings that are vital in moving our country onwards to the next lap."
-- Mr Ng Chee Meng
Minister for Education (Schools), Singapore

"It is always enriching to read David's work. Not only is it fascinating in its own right, but it is socially relevant and insightful on so many levels."
-- Mr Tan Chuan-Jin
Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore

FROM ACADEMIC AND UNIVERSITY LEADERS

"David Chan's second collection of essays from his columns in The Straits Times, titled Psychological Capital, is well-worth reading and a book to keep. A renowned behavioural psychologist who is well-respected internationally by his peers and cited frequently for his research papers, David has an unusual ability to write seriously for the non-specialist on critical topics of timely and general concern from his professional perspective and to examine the issues clearly and honestly. Policymakers will benefit from the perspectives, so will the general reader."
-- Professor Chan Heng Chee
Chairman, Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities
Singapore University of Technology and Design

"The strength of a society is influenced by its people's mindsets. David has provided us many practical suggestions on how we can develop mindsets that will contribute positively to self, others, and the larger good of the community, whether we are going about our daily lives or finding our own meaning and purpose in life."
-- Professor Chong Tow Chong
Provost
Singapore University of Technology and Design

"David Chan's regular contributions on the evolving psychological drivers in Singapore have had a real impact on the debate in our society. Each of his articles hit a real issue in our collective thinking. But the collection of twenty-one articles is really powerful. David gets to the core of what the psychological identity of Singapore is all about. I think all engaged Singaporeans should read this."
-- Professor Arnoud De Meyer
President
Singapore Management University

"David Chan is a 'public intellectual' in the best sense of that term: He is capable of writing for the 'common reader', like the best of journalists, and not just for his fellow experts. But he is an expert in his field, not an amateur, unlike most journalists."
-- Mr Janadas Devan
Director, Institute of Policy Studies
National University of Singapore

"Time without number Singapore has been described as lacking all resources save its harbour and its people. Its people embody its psychological capital. David Chan analyses what this really means in a second series of insightful and topical articles. David is unrivalled in his ability to use serious research to inform his comments. At a time when it has become increasingly difficult to know just what can be believed in the news or online, David's scholarly use of facts lends great credence to his articles."
-- Dr John Elliott
Associate Professor of Psychology
National University of Singapore

"I highly commend this book of essays by Professor David Chan, Singapore's most eminent psychologist and thought leader."
-- Professor Tommy Koh
Ambassador-At-Large
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore

"David has brought together a second volume of his opinion editorials, which have themselves been very widely circulated and read. Like the previous volume, People Matter, I fully expect this one to be well distributed, creating significant impact in many domains, in the public, private, and people sectors, and giving each of us as individuals much food for thought. Working as a scientist-practitioner, David has the knack of analysing deeply while explaining clearly, as this readable volume amply demonstrates."
-- Professor Lily Kong
Provost
Singapore Management University

"I find this collection of essays fascinating. They are intellectually stimulating and practically useful. David's expertise and experiences have enabled him to integrate what really matter in both rationality and emotions. This book offers a unique blend of analytical rigour and grounded realism that will help us deal with many contemporary issues facing our nation and society."
-- Professor Kishore Mahbubani
Dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
National University of Singapore &
Co-author of The ASEAN Miracle: A Catalyst For Peace

"Wonderfully perceptive, and engaging, is this collection of twenty-one essays which discusses a wide range of topics, from what contributes to individual well-being, to the things which matter to society. With lucid clarity, and with great insightful assessment, David Chan's book should be made compulsory reading to decision-makers and policymakers because it provides superb analysis on why such issues arise, why they matter, and how best to deal with them. Values such as integrity, fairness, and social harmony are non-market goods in economics, and such goods are extremely important in the allocation of resources for informed decision-making. A must-read for all."
-- Professor Euston Quah
President, Economic Society of Singapore &
Head of Economics, Nanyang Technological University

"David is an outstanding Singaporean academic who has shaped social awareness, reflection, and public discourse among Singaporeans. He consistently and committedly delivers reasoned and thoughtful pieces published in The Straits Times. In each essay, David skillfully combines his academic grounding and astute observations of a wide range of issues, with the heart of an educator, to analyse issues from multiple perspectives and present them in a persuasive way. Psychological Capital recollects the unique journey and pertinent issues that matter to Singaporeans over the past two years in a highly readable and engaging manner. David's writings resonate with all walks and generations of Singaporeans."
-- Professor Tan Eng Chye
Provost
National University of Singapore

"The prolific David Chan has produced yet another valuable collection of thoughtful and incisive essays that address issues which we are all grappling with in contemporary Singapore."
-- Professor Tan Tai Yong
President
Yale-NUS College

"Just like his previous book, People Matter, David once again has brought his unique and original perspective to examine a range of issues that are topical and help the readers understand better their biases, and in the process helps all of us to see that 'things can and will get better in the future'."
-- Professor Tan Thiam Soon
President
Singapore Institute of Technology

"In a secular world that is focused on material well-being and technological determinism, David Chan continues to explore a range of social experiences for a moral compass. In these clearly presented and persuasive essays drawn from his study of psychology, he marks out signposts towards living life with minimal fears in a fast-changing and uncertain world."
-- Professor Wang Gungwu
Chairman, East Asian Institute &
University Professor, National University of Singapore

"Professor David Chan's collection of essays in Psychological Capital are both courageous and constructive by his own definition — they are based on rigorous evidence and analysis, as well as relevant to the social and policy problems they address without fear or favour. A must-read for all contemporary policymakers, especially in Singapore."
-- Mr Yeoh Lam Keong
Adjunct Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
National University of Singapore

FROM PUBLIC SECTOR LEADERS

"This collection of Professor Chan's essays is a must-read for policymakers around the world but it is particularly pertinent to Singapore because of our National Pledge to be 'one united people, regardless of race, language or religion'. This pledge is an aspiration that will not happen naturally but requires continuous and conscious work. Work by you and I, by the community, and by the Government. However, as David puts it in the preface of the book, it is not enough to know the 'what' and 'why'; we need to know the 'how' and 'when'. These essays by David provide deep insights on the 'how' and 'when'."
-- Dr Beh Swan Gin
Chairman
Economic Development Board, Singapore

"David Chan's essays are always topical, enjoyable, and accessible to the general reader. He blends deep insights into the human condition into a larger commentary on societal trends."
-- Mr Peter Ho
Chairman, Social Science Research Council &
Chairman, Urban Redevelopment Authority, Singapore

"Readers will greatly benefit from the ideas contained in this book as it has more to offer than just intellectual insights. I have known David for twenty-five years, seeing his work first as a police officer and subsequently as a psychologist assisting the Singapore Police Force. I have also followed his scholarly accomplishments, observed his public service work, and admired his thought leadership. The essays in this book reflect scientific objectivity, grounded life experiences, social conscience, practical wisdom, and love for the country. They illustrate how these values are complementary and can be integrated to advance a position or cause. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to make a positive difference to society and the lives of others."
-- Mr Khoo Boon Hui
Senior Fellow, Home Team Academy & Civil Service College
Former Commissioner of Singapore Police Force &
Former President of INTERPOL

"In his column in The Straits Times, David Chan writes about things which genuinely matter to him as a Singaporean. While his analyses sit on a foundation of scholarship and research, he does not allow this to distract from the vernacular ease of his writing which has made his column accessible to the general public. He writes as a social scientist — sharing dispassionate analysis to explain and to offer a perspective; he also writes with a heart to connect with ordinary Singaporeans, to provoke pause and reflection — to cultivate a habit of rational, thoughtful, and balanced discussion when dealing with negativity and challenges, to cultivate a positive psychological capital which we cannot do without if we are to continue to thrive as a nation."
-- Mr Benny Lim
Chairman, Temasek Foundation Connects CLG
Former Permanent Secretary
Ministry of National Development &
National Security Intelligence Coordination
Prime Minister's Office, Singapore

"We are supposed to be living in a world that is more connected, where we can access the latest information and everyone has a voice through social media. Yet, we have never felt more divided as a global community, where walls are being erected between and within nations, communities, and in our own minds. This book, Psychological Capital, is a timely reminder of a key aspect of Singapore's Total Defence — Psychological Defence, that of 'Being a Resilient People'. More than that, with his academic rigour and belief in the scientist-practitioner model, David has made insightful suggestions in how each of us, in our own roles, and collectively as a people, can take practical actions to contribute to the Psychological Capital of Singapore."
-- Mr Lim Chuan Poh
Chairman
Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore
-- "Businesses and even nations often miss the strengths that come in the human dimensions of social capital, emotional capital, and psychological capital. These are the mental strength of the individual and community power of the group. In this series of essays, David shares important insights and practical suggestions on how we can make a positive difference for ourselves and others as we go about making decisions and responding to events. His expertise in the social and behavioural sciences brings fresh perspectives to the issues hotly debated in Singapore. Many of these issues are also relevant for other countries striving for economic progress and social cohesion. I strongly recommend these essays for ideas and understanding which can benefit both Singaporeans and non-Singaporeans"

Professor Lim Siong Guan
Advisor to the Group Executive Committee of GIC
Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
National University of Singapore &
Co-author of The Leader, The Teacher & You and Winning with Honour

"David Chan's articles are always insightful, relatable, and enjoyable to read."
-- Ms Lim Soo Hoon
Chairman
Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, Singapore

"As Singapore matures as a society, it is the spirit of its people that will matter most for its continued success. In this collection of thoughtful essays, David Chan describes the key ingredients that make up that spirit: resilience, self-confidence, optimism, and hope. David's trademark intellectual honesty, clarity of thought, and people-centricity shine through these essays, appealing to both head and heart."
-- Mr Ravi Menon
Managing Director
Monetary Authority of Singapore

"Whether one agrees or disagrees with David, he has the knack of giving a different perspective to a wide range of current issues which policymakers grapple with. He does so from the perspective of a top psychologist's point of view, grounded on empirical data and a deep understanding of the human psyche. His deep insights and analyses often help one to understand the increasing complexities of society and the difficult trade-offs policymakers have in governing."
-- Mr Niam Chiang Meng
Chairman, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore &
Former Permanent Secretary, National Population and Talent Division
Prime Minister's Office, Singapore

"David always has a pertinent and useful perspective to offer on issues of the day that affect Singapore and Singaporeans. His views provide a relevant conceptual framework for policymakers to use in reflecting on such issues."
-- Mr Eddie Teo
Chairman
Public Service Commission, Singapore

FROM PRIVATE SECTOR LEADERS

"As in everywhere else, it is not easy for public intellectuals in Singapore to comment on critical and controversial issues in a way that is grounded in scientific evidence, empirical facts, intellectual honesty, political courage, and practical realities of the day. Professor David Chan managed to combine all these as the foundation upon which he produced this series of thought-provoking and constructive essays. Read this book in its entirety if you have an interest in the future of Singapore and the well-being of its people."
-- Mr Ho Kwon Ping
Executive Chairman
Banyan Tree Holdings

"It is no surprise that each essay in this book is food for thought. David provides insight of the Singapore situation that both policymakers and the public should consider. He offers guideposts that business and community leaders could apply to their work. His views are anchored on values that resonate with Singaporeans and will benefit many in their personal lives. This book is a great source of inspiration."
-- Mr Lim Hock San
President and CEO
United Industrial Corporation Ltd

"Psychological capital is the bedrock of a successful society and David Chan has put his finger to the pulse of Singapore society, offering sometimes sharp but always insightful comments about the state of affairs. Anyone interested in how societies build up and use this invaluable resource must read Psychological Capital."
-- Dr Jeremy Lim
Partner and Head, Health & Life Sciences Practice
Asia Pacific, Oliver Wyman &
Author of Myth or Magic: The Singapore Healthcare System

"In an increasingly fragmented world and society, David's research and essays are now more pertinent than ever. Through a detailed analysis of current affairs and societal constructs, his work gives us insights into complex issues and how to better understand the seemingly unpredictable and tumultuous swings of public sentiments and concerns in our nation."
-- Ms Lim Sau Hoong
Former CEO & Executive Creative Director
10AM Communications

"I have always appreciated reading the essays by David. He manages to accurately identify the critical issues of our society and provide practical solutions, convincingly backed by scholarly theories."
-- Dr Liu Thai Ker
Chairman, Centre for Liveable Cities &
Architect-Planner & Senior Director,
RSP Architects Planners & Engineers Pte Ltd

"The essays collected in this book offer many substantive insights, but equally important they provide useful examples of how to present an argument or a point of view constructively and effectively. Whether you are a student, a business or community leader, or someone who cares for the future of our country and wants to speak up to make a positive difference, this book is well worth reading and re-reading."
-- Mr Gerald Singham
Deputy Managing Partner
Dentons Rodyk & Davidson LLP

"David Chan comments courageously and constructively, on complex issues facing us. I have always found his views as an academic, interesting and pragmatic, stimulating and reasoned. He has in the last few years focused on challenges facing Singapore's long-term future and argues for the need to build resilience and psychological capital for Singapore to survive. The commentaries challenge and are always worth the time."
-- Ms Debra Soon
Chief Customer Officer
MediaCorp Pte Ltd

"In the initial years, David's essays set me thinking seriously about policymaking in Singapore, as a stakeholder but through the lens of an observer. Over the years, as he addressed issues and situations as they unfold, I learnt the importance of according a higher weightage to people's concerns and sentiments when making or influencing policies. Through his insights, there appears room for corrective action in a collective action which touches and affects lives. David's energy and bandwidth remains an inspiration to many of us who are challenged to find time in a complex and fast evolving Singapore."
-- Mr Tan Kian Hoon
Managing Director, Suntec Real Estate Consultants,
Chairman, National Crime Prevention Council &
Chairman, National Council on Problem Gambling

"With his insightful perspectives, David makes everyday issues come alive, captures what really matters, and provides balanced narratives of life and living in Singapore. Whether it is about our emotional commitment to the nation or learning to listen to others, David nailed it. This book is a fascinating read!"
-- Ms Mildred Tan
Managing Director
Ernst and Young Advisory Pte Ltd

"Scattered throughout these twenty-one essays by David Chan are nuggets of ideas and insights about living in Singapore. The reader picks them up at leisure and with profit."
-- Mr George Yeo
Chairman
Kerry Logistics Network

FROM PEOPLE SECTOR LEADERS

"I always look forward to David's articles in The Straits Times for a different take on the current issues of the day. And I continue to be amazed by his understanding of our human makeup, and putting his observations across in an insightful 'that-makes-sense' manner. A re-read will help drive the lessons home."
-- Mr Willie Cheng
Chairman, Singapore Institute of Directors &
Author of Doing Good Well and Doing Good Great

"In an era of disruption, building psychological capital is increasingly important to individuals, companies, organisations, communities, and countries. In his new book, David Chan had highlighted the way forward in this volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world."
-- Mr Chng Hwee Hong
Chairman
Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises

"I have been following the writings of David Chan for a long time. This latest book of his, Psychological Capital, will definitely be another thoughtprovoking work. It is almost impossible to read any of David's writings without broadening one's mind. He continuously provides a diet of ideas to ponder on and broaden perspectives on his chosen topics. It will be another treasured collection to my precious library."
-- Mr Gerard Ee
President
Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants

"David Chan writes with piercing clarity and simplicity to explain, unpack, and probe the psychology behind both the unusual and mundane through the frame of current affairs. His practical wisdom makes his writings insightful and useful to anyone seeking to better understand social dynamics and make wise choices to create a better world."
-- Ms Melissa Kwee
Chief Executive Officer
National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre, Singapore

"Singaporeans are largely a functional lot, not giving much attention beyond the logical. Yet, under the surface, emotions run deep, driven by our values and hopes, and by what gives us purpose and meaning. Hence, I do recommend reading David Chan's work in its entirety. He is a rare commentator who focuses on strengthening the psychological capital critical in building a nation. He writes lucidly and incisively, not only as an eminent social scientist that he is, but also as a patriot who wants Singapore to succeed."
-- Mr Laurence Lien
Chairman
Lien Foundation

"Psychological capital pervades every aspect of our lives and strengthens us, through successes and failures, as individuals and as a community. In this series of essays written in his usual readably style, David explains how psychological capital concepts like hope, optimism, resilience, and self-efficacy are powerful tools that develop the inner strength of an individual and also prepare us to deal with the societal challenges that we face now and those that we may face in the future. This is a must-read book for all."
-- Dr Sudha Nair
Executive Director
PAVE


"Professor David Chan writes about serious issues but in an easy to understand, and often light-hearted manner. He provides insights and analysis to things that are happening around us, and helps individuals deal with potentially difficult and complex issues, such as ambivalence and living meaningful lives, by providing frameworks and guiding principles. A must-read."
-- Mr Sim Gim Guan
Chief Executive Officer
National Council of Social Service, Singapore

"Technology, connectivity, and disruptions are changing the way we think, learn, work, and live at personal and national levels. We need greater diversity in perspectives and active participation in community and national life to better understand issues and create effective solutions. David's essays in this book provide a rich source of ideas for us to reflect on our views and actions, and sharpen them. An important read for anyone who is invested in Singapore's future."
-- Ms Mary Ann Tsao
Chairman
Tsao Foundation

"The ideas expressed in this book deal with issues on human psychological capital, which is indeed a critical asset for community building in Singapore. It is a highly recommended reading particularly for people developers."
-- Dr S Vasoo
Associate Professorial Fellow of Social Work
National University of Singapore

"Another most welcome book from Professor David Chan! Those readable and thought-engendering Saturday Straits Times articles may well have slipped out with the newsprint recycle. Now we have them in solid, book form, to dip into at leisure, and refresh memories of the highly significant themes. In an era when too many social scientists communicate only with each other, in a vocabulary unhelpfully (and unnecessarily) esoteric, Professor Chan is master of a plain English, which can be appreciated by a general educated readership. His sharing of thoughts is welcome indeed!"
-- Mrs Ann Elizabeth Wee
Associate Professorial Fellow of Social Work
National University of Singapore

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