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Our book, “Escape from Paradise,” was never banned by Singapore. Thank you Singapore! « Getting at the truth

Escape from Paradise, – A Best Selling Book!

The book’s sensational reviews!

It took me two and a half evenings to complete your un-put-downable book…it is a unique contribution to the appreciation of a life in Singapore. Thank you for having written it.” C. V. Devan Nair, former President of Singapore.

Bought the book from Select this weekend and can’t put it down! It’s a great read! And so nostalgic for me—the good old days! Glen Goei, writer and director of the Miramax film That’s the Way I Like It and who played the title role opposite Anthony Hopkins in the London production of M. Butterfly. Mr. Goei’s latest film is The Blue Mansion – Click for the trailer!

It is a remarkable story and so full of intrigue that it reads at times like fiction.Jonathan Burnham, Editor in Chief & President, Talk Miramax Books.

“It’s quite a story The legendary Alice Mayhew, Vice-President & Editorial Director, Simon & Schuster.

This book out-Dallas, Dallas. No one has written so well of the other side of paradise,Francis T. Seow, former Solicitor General of Singapore

ThunderBall Films is successfully putting together the movie production of Escape from Paradise and has received a new LOI (Letter of Intent) from actress Bai Ling who starred with Richard Gere in the film Red Cross.

Buy the Book!

Escape from Paradise – the Promotional Trailer

Mary Bancroft – Master Spy

“I can’t understand what the f–k you are saying.” The voice came from an elderly lady in the back row of my computer class. It was from Mary Bancroft, a part owner of The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of Autobiography of a Spy and was the woman behind the plot to kill Hitler, the lover of CIA chief, Allen Dulles, the lady who invited me to dinner to meet Woody Allen and, yes, Mary Bancroft was my computer student.

Click to buy: https://amzn.to/2V6MOwC


Copyright © 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 John Harding

Our book, “Escape from Paradise,” was never banned by Singapore. Thank you Singapore!

News Flash, May 19, 2011!

Helen Yeo & Yeo Cheow Tong

Helen Yeo & Yeo Cheow Tong

I received a message today from MDA, Singapore’s Media Development Authority, regarding our book, Escape from Paradise. MDA is responsible for the difficult task of censoring books and other media in accordance with Singapore’s core values.

The message is below and shows that our book was not censored or banned by Singapore.

It was removed from Singapore’s National Library, and no longer sold in Singapore due to the strong-armed tactics and threats to bookstores by Helen Yeo, wife of former cabinet minister Yeo Cheow Tong.

Due to the actions of Helen Yeo, our book, Escape from Paradise, has been misrepresented to be a book against Singapore, when this is not the case.

Escape from Paradise is the epic story of a family starting with the Tiger Balm Kings, the Aw brothers in Burma, down to a present day member of that family, a young lady from Singapore.

Escape from Paradise has received all 5-star reviews on Amazon, and has been extremely well-reviewed by its readers—except for one person—Helen Yeo.

We send our sincere thanks to MDA for this clarification.

From: “Customer Service”
To: “John Harding”
Date: 19 May 2011 09:23:42 +0800

Subject:[F11016729] Content & Standards- Publications Content CRM:0085067

Dear John Harding,
I refer to your query on the book “Escape from Paradise”. Publications are self regulated by the industry, with importers referring them to the MDA when they are in doubt. “Escape from Paradise” has not been submitted to the MDA.

Should you require further assistance, please reply to this email.
Thank you.
Yours sincerely,

Escape from Paradise was published on June 26, 2002.

On July 8, 2002, we received a letter from Helen Yeo (click) demanding that we withdraw Escape from Paradise from sale in Singapore and that we publish an apology “in form suitable to” her.

Subsequently, we learned that Escape from Paradise was no longer in Singapore’s bookstores. We confirmed this on Feb 9, 2003 when we spoke by telephone to Singapore’s largest bookstore Kinokuniya (we have it on tape).

Kinokuniya confirmed that they had been threatened legal action by a lawyer from Helen Yeo’s office if they did not remove Escape from Paradise from their shelves.

Kinokuniya complied to avoid litigation.

Escape from Paradise had been the most popular book in Singapore’s National Library. All 25 copies were usually checked out and with a paid waiting list. That is, before it was removed from the library.

The only library branch where Escape from Paradise is now available is a single copy is at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. There, you have to give your particulars to see the book. Once you sign, there is a good chance that Helen Yeo and her friends will know.

Regarding Singapore’s National Library, a reader in Singapore, wrote us, “…I have a friend who is quite high up in National Library. He has verified your version of events about the book being taken out and with a single copy remaining. However, he said that NLB tried to challenge Helen Yeo’s request, but this was put down by someone.”

Helen Yeo’s husband, Yeo Cheow Tong, was a Singapore cabinet minister at the time, giving her influential connections.

Helen Yeo was mentioned only in passing in Escape from Paradise as a lawyer involved with the sale of the co-author’s family home. The book is not about Helen Yeo.

Apparently Helen Yeo had reason to be afraid of the attention this might draw—as there were facts not known to us when we wrote Escape from Paradise and which are not in the book.

Having been attacked by Helen Yeo, we uncovered and published the facts she had wished to hide.

The property sale involving Helen Yeo in the book recorded the property as having been sold months before it was actually sold (click).

In addition, there was a Caveat, a legal prohibition, issued on April 19, 1995, against the sale of the very same property.

Helen Yeo’s letter of July 8, 2002 to us states, “the date of the transfer of the property was December 26, 1995,” This was eight months after the Caveat was in effect!

In 2004, We sued Helen Yeo in the United States District Court, District Of Arizona  (case #CIV-02-1417-PHX-JAT), but she never appeared—see our formal complaint (click).

Helen Yeo has done Singapore a great disservice for her questionable and unilateral banning of Escape from Paradise. It risks bringing undeserved bad publicity to Singapore.

It is not Singapore’s ban, but the personal ban on our book by and for Helen Yeo.  As such, Helen Yeo’s personal ban on Escape from Paradise should be lifted.

24 comments to Our book, “Escape from Paradise,” was never banned by Singapore. Thank you Singapore!

  • Al

    Just a note – Escape from Paradise no longer seems to be available for loan in the National Library (not even the restricted shelves, judging by their catalogue, at least).

    • admin

      Thanks for the information. The fact that it was Helen Yeo, and not Singapore, who “banned” Escape from Paradise is infuriating. Singapore should do something about Helen Yeo, as she has damaged the reputation of the country.
      All the best,

  • Political SalesMan

    Just because her husband is a Minister,she abuse her power.Dam Bitch.Now her husband is no more Minister so do she still threaten others party.Want to B Singapore Big Sister.Not your turn yet!!

  • Anonymous

    Actually there is another copy available at NUS central library. I managed to borrow the book 2 years ago.

    • admin

      Thanks for checking out the book – hope you enjoyed it. This is good information and further proof that Escape from Paradise was not banned by the Singapore government, but through the actions of Helen Yeo and friends.

  • Political SalesMaN

    Do U have a copy written by CD Devan Nair.How could I purchase it.Thank you

  • What is the title? Devan Nair wrote quite a few books, etc.

  • Common Sense Arab

    I came across a 2002 website article of 2 other books in the works by you as follows:

    “Dowager Empress 2000: The Most Powerful Woman in Asia and The Gulf, based on John Harding’s experiences in Saudi Arabia.”

    Can you shed some light on the status?

    • admin

      Yes, I was working on Dowager Empress 2000: The Most Powerful Woman in Asia, but gave it up as, even though she was a great lady, the subject began to lose relevance, and continues to do so. The Gulf is still in the works, but is on hold until I finish the movie script of Escape from Paradise. Now that Singapore says the book, Escape from Paradise was not banned (it was all the work of crooked lawyer, Helen Yeo), the project is taking on some life.

  • Melanie Wang

    I love this book. We look forward to seeing the movie!

  • Victor T

    I was reading up on Asia, and found your book. Indeed, a great informative read. Victor, NYC

  • Amy T

    Singapore as a country is coming to the forefront of the international stage.
    I am excited that your book Escape from Paradise is not banned. No book should be banned at all. Not in today’s world. Good luck!
    Amy T
    Los Angeles, CA

  • SAFMan

    John, you have proven your case with facts! Helen Yeo got caught on the sale of 69 house! Get rid of her Singapore.

  • Wifi

    I live in Toronto Canada. I bought your book n it educated, inspired and gave me the power to endure bad things. There is light at the end of my tunnel. Thank you May Chu n John!
    Toronto, Canada

  • SingSnoop

    Your book was not banned as it was never ‘gazetted’ publicly and the reason it was not sold was probably\ the fear of bookshops etc that they could be sued for distributing the book by the Yeos. Cheers!

  • Aunty Lucy

    Congrats! The PAP’s loss in the GRC elections have shook them up, they need to change fast. PM Lee hates that his father is always a meddling fellow. PAP knows that banning any book is bad for business.

  • anoynomous

    I love this book, and I keep it as a reference tool for my children. Many thanks.

  • Aquarius Rising


    Perhaps you may like to know the status regarding Dr Susan Lim. It has jus been reported that the High Court has ruled against her application for injunction to prevent the SMC from convening a second Disciplinary Committee to investigate on the complaints against her. So the second DC is definitely going for blood. I think altogether there are 93 charges pf complaints against her. If it is only one or two maybe the rule of benefit of doubt can prevail, but when it is more than 90 she definitely has to show cause.

  • anoynomous

    I understand that as a result of Escape from Paradise, May’s ex-husband lost US$300million, Singapore Minister Yeo Cheow Tong lost his job, and Helen Yeo lost her power with the Singapore PAP.
    If true, Escape from Paradise is a $300million book, and the facts revealed, have cost these bigshots their money and jobs?

  • J Hunt

    a superb read! I couldn’t put the book down.
    J Hunt

  • Anonymous

    Looks like they are laying a trap for you. They are waiting for you to go to Singapore to launch your book before they do a “Alan Sardrake” on you. Good luck!

    • admin

      Andrew: Thanks for the warning. We would love to visit Singapore, but we are so aware of what could happen to us if we did. A lawsuit? Changi prison? Or worse?
      Poor Alan Shadrake may spend the rest of his days imprisoned in Singapore, especially since there is another charge pending against him – and this one will
      be a criminal charge. Poor guy. No, we will just have to visit the wonderful hawker centers in our dreams.
      All the best,

  • Doug O

    What kind of man would kick his wife n kids to the sidewalk for 9 months, and let his wife fight to get back into their home?
    May Chu is a formidable opponent and a great mom. Her sons are lucky to have her.
    Any mother who fights hard for their kids is a hero in my eyes and gets my total n full respect!

  • Jennifer March

    I bought this book when I was researching on Singapore on my upcoming trip, and was pleasantly surprised that to find it rivetting, compelling and just a wonderful read. I love it, and I highly recommend it.
    May is a outstanding caregiver to her boys, and one fierce lady. Tells me that her ex-husband knew nothing about his wife’s personality.
    I love her!
    Jennifer March
    Toronto, Canada