Imprints of a Fresh Graduate

Within six months from her graduation, Rachel Chia (CS'17) clocked a major milestone. She co-authored a recently-published book on the history of Singapore law.

-A A +A

As an intern on the courts beat at The Straits Times during her third year at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Rachel Chia (CS'17) jumped right into the deep end of reporting work. Newsroom deadline pressure was a daily affair.

All the hard work paid off. Following her internship, her supervisors at the national daily put forth her name when Academy Publishing, the publishing arm of the Singapore Academy of Law, was scouting for a writer.

The publishing house was then looking for a writer to create a short compilation on the history of Singapore law publishing for its 10th anniversary. At the time, Chia was an obvious choice. As an intern working on the courts beat, she was familiar with the workings of the supreme and subordinate courts.

Chia seized the opportunity in March this year and completed the project as a co-writer four months later. “Imprints of Singapore Law”, a 78-page compilation detailing the history of Singapore law and its judicial system, was released in July this year. It focuses on the history of how legal documents were published in Singapore.

“Before you take Hedwig’s class, you think you know how to write. But after you get corrected by her, you come out a new person,” said Chia. “What she taught me I will remember my whole life.”

Rachel ChiaCo-author of "Imprints of Singapore Law"

For the project, Chia worked closely with Judge of Appeal Andrew Phang, the editor and chairman of the publishing firm.

The initial chapters of the book explore how Singapore law was recorded during the Straits Settlements period from the mid-1820s. The book ends with links to legal platforms and resources available online, such as LawNet, an online database of legislation and reports.

“The earlier months of writing the book was just copious amounts of research — going to libraries, speaking to experienced lawyers,” recalled Chia, who began work on the book as she was putting the final touches on her final year campaign project.

“The real work only began after I finished my Final Year Project this April,” she added.

Chia is no stranger to the legal profession. Her interest in the legal industry began when she was just a child, as both of Chia’s parents are lawyers.

“When I was a kid, dad and mum used to recycle the back of legal documents as rough paper in our house and I would read them sometimes,” she said. “Legal terms and lawyers don’t have the same foreboding or unfamiliar effect on me as they would for, say, the average person.”

Interestingly, Chia was originally set on studying law, but changed her mind at the last minute.

“I was going to study law. After my time in Victoria Junior College, I qualified to study law overseas, but I chose WKWSCI because I preferred to remain in Singapore,” said Chia.

Chia currently works as an editorial intern at Asian Geographic magazine, a monthly print publication, where she is being considered for a full-time editor role.

Chia counts journalism lecturer Hedwig Alfred’s News Reporting and Writing course as one of her most memorable classes in WKWSCI.

“Before you take Hedwig’s class, you think you know how to write. But after you get corrected by her, you come out a new person,” said Chia. “What she taught me I will remember my whole life.”  

Link to “Imprints of Singapore Law” e-book, free for public access: http://www.sal.org.sg/Public/10th-ap-anniversary/index.html

Semester: