My Reflections of Life: New book by former Malaysian DG Pola Singh

'Reflections of Life' is a book that characterizes the typical Malaysian life touching on isues that affect the man on the street - matters of the heart and mind which is centred on life. It is a compilation of articles written over the years by Dr Pola Singh, a retired civil servant and former Director General with Maritime Institute of Malaysia. He writes from varied perspectives based on the different hats he wore over a passage of time. This coffee table book brings his stories alive through the colourful pictures and underlying message. Asia Samachar talks to the author, Dr Pola Singh.

Malaysia | 15 Aug 2016 | Asia Samachar |
Former Malaysian civil servant Dr Pola Singh authors Reflections of Life
Former Malaysian civil servant Dr Pola Singh authors Reflections of Life

Last Saturday (13 Aug 2016),Dr Pola Singh launched his book entitled Reflections of Life in an old fashioned way – with family, glorious food and amazing energy in the comfort of his home. The VIP who declared the launch of his book open, was no other than his proud, four year old grandson!

In this book, he reflects and writes on issues that affect the man on the street – matters of the heart, mind and body centered on life, each with an underlying message.

Dr Pola Singh, a retired civil servant has not slowed down in life. He is a familiar face and sewadar at Gurdwara Sahib Malacca, a green lung champion for Bukit Kiara and continues his Hash House Harriers run to keep him on the go. He brings with him an illustrious background having served as the Director General of Maritime Institute of Malaysia, the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta and the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department.

The following are excerpts from Asia Samachar’s interview with Dr Pola Singh:


Tell us about your book.

It is a compilation of my articles written over the years in the newspapers. It comes in a coffee book form where you will find short stories accompanied by lots of colorful pictures. I start off with my roots, family and values which has defined the person I have become over the years.

The chapters there after characterize our typical Malaysian life, which we are familiar and can easily relate to. Remember Lat’s cartoon? Well, the same Malaysian content, but with a different twist. I attempt to capture them in a candid yet insightful and witty manner for my audience’s ease of reading.

The title of my article actually provides a flavor to its story and moral values. Some of the headings include:

  • Savour each day as you will never know if it could be your last
  • Making time for health and family
  • Giving generously and blessings will follow
  • A Sikh wedding steeped in splendour
  • The praise factor in the Asian community where we should praise during their living years
  • The ‘Kay pohchee’ syndrome especially during accidents
  • Don’t take peace for granted
  • Redha teaches us about autism


What motivated you to author this book?

Authoring a book has been an item on my dream list and bucket list for a long time now.I have been writing articles my whole life, with my first piece dating back to the 1970’s. Along this writing path, I told myself that authoring a book would be a natural progression and hence I set this goal.


Dr Pola Singh launches his book Reflections of Life with family members all around
Dr Pola Singh launches his book Reflections of Life with family members all around

Where do you derive your inspiration to write?

In the beautiful course of life itself and through my various capacities. Life is after all a University. From a kampung (village) boy in Malacca to a university student in Kuala Lumpur and then a civil servant upon graduation. From a sports enthusiast, to a green advocate, to a social community worker and a senior citizen. From a devoted son, to a father, to a doting grandfather.

I am blessed to wear many hats and hence I write from those dimensions and perspectives through a passage of time.


Describe your writing experience

It has been a humbling and fulfilling writing journey.

For the man on the street, I humbly endeavor to inspire and encourage faith and hope when the road ahead seems tough, having been at crossroads many times before. I delve on the Malaysian idiosyncrasies and how we can feasibly make a better change in our lives.

With justice and level playing field in mind, I respectfully strive to be a voice to bring issues often discussed at the dining table to the fore front. Where possible, I attempt to use my writing to address and provide resolutions to challenges facing the nation, for example on racial unity and environmental issues, drawing from my exposure in policy making. Writing has become a purposeful journey. To make a difference, where possible.


Describe your readers’ response to your articles.

I am grateful and thankful to my readers for connecting to my stories, all these years.

I have been pleasantly stopped at parks, roadside, shopping malls and weddings by strangers who tell me, they have read my pieces in the papers and support my views. It feels good knowing that we Malaysians speak the same language,share the same value system and echo the same concerns.The beauty of it all is – the commonality that we share. We all have our family, friends and nation’s best interest at heart.


What is your advice to aspiring writers?

Read widely and keep writing even if your piece doesn’t get printed. One fine day, it will. With practice, words that seem trapped in your mind, will gradually flow like a river rushing to the sea. Take photography as a hobby if you can, to enhance your articles. A picture, after all, paints a thousand words.

Know your target audience and resonate with their concerns. Write in a simple and user friendly way, so you can connect to your readers. Before you know it, you will have an informal Fan Club following your column or writing, said Dr Pola Singh with a smile.


How can we get a copy of your book?

Do drop me a note at


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