Friday, 29 March 2013

The Papers of Lee Kuan Yew: Speeches, Interviews and Dialogues

Mr Lee's speeches in new book
New 10-volume collection covers period from 1990 to 2011 when he was SM, MM
By Tracy Quek, The Straits Times, 28 Mar 2013

THE latest 10-volume collection of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's speeches, spanning a decade from 1990, will give readers a chance to hear "that most persuasive of voices fashion our history", Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said at its launch yesterday.

Speaking at a low-key ceremony held at the National University of Singapore attended by about 100 invited guests, Mr Heng noted that figures such as Mr Lee "come but rarely in history".

"It was Singapore's good fortune that we had at our founding, a remarkable team led by exceptional men of rare gifts," Mr Heng said. "One of these gifts, as one of Mr Lee's closest comrades, Dr Goh Keng Swee, noted, was the gift of persuasion."

Mr Lee was prime minister from 1959 to 1990. Dr Goh led the finance, education and defence ministries and was deputy prime minister from 1973 to 1984.

The collection launched yesterday, The Papers of Lee Kuan Yew: Speeches, Interviews and Dialogues (1990-2011), covers Mr Lee's time as Singapore's senior minister and minister mentor. They include material which has never been published before and provides insight into his views on issues ranging from racial harmony, language education, to Singapore's international relations. The new publication follows an earlier 10-volume collection spanning four decades of Mr Lee's speeches from 1950 to 1990, that was launched two years ago.

The latest collection, which has 5,500 pages of text and about 230 photographs, is the culmination of over a year's work and research by the National Archives of Singapore, the Office of the Press Secretary to Mr Lee, and publisher Cengage Learning.

In his launch address, Mr Heng said that an important topic captured in the collection was Mr Lee's views on education.

Drawing on excerpts from two 2008 speeches where Mr Lee spoke about the need for an education system that matches the diversity of Singapore's population, Mr Heng said Mr Lee's views mirror current efforts to "implement a more holistic curriculum that also aims to create more ways to match the interests and aptitudes of our children".

Mr Heng also thanked Mr Lee for his donation of $145,000 to the Ministry of Education's Education Fund, raised from the sales of autographed sets of the first collection released in 2011. The fund is a charity which promotes education in Singapore. "This donation is a continuing testament to Mr Lee's strong belief in the value of a good education," Mr Heng said.

The latest volumes are arranged chronologically beginning with an interview Mr Lee gave to Japanese broadcaster NHK in which he shares his thoughts on the development of Singapore, and his views on China and Japan. The publication's last entry is a speech Mr Lee gave at the 50th anniversary of the National Trades Union Congress in which he paid tribute to its pioneer leaders and members.

The collection has an initial print run of 500 case-bound and leather-bound editions. The former will be sold at US$3,000 (S$3,782) while the leather edition will cost US$3,800. They can be pre-ordered at local booksellers, including Kinokuniya and MPH. Readers will also be able to access physical copies as well as an electronic version of the collection at all National Library Board branches in the coming months.

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