Former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew Launch


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Title : Former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew launches new book - 06Aug2013
Description : SINGAPORE: Former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew on Tuesday launched a new book titled "One Man's View of the World" at the Istana.

The book conveys Mr Lee's views on foreign affairs, international politics and the future of major powers and regions of the world.

With 11 chapters of insights and numerous pictures of his travels around the world, the 400-page volume draws on Mr Lee's five decades of experience as a statesman representing Singapore on the international stage as Prime Minister, Senior Minister and then Minister Mentor.

Unlike Mr Lee's previous books which focus on Singapore, this latest book turns its attention to mostly beyond the country. The first seven chapters focus on countries or regions - like the United States, China and the Middle East.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan were also present at the launch.

Over 120 guests, including foreign diplomats, academics and business leaders, were at the book's launch.

The book's publisher Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) said the book seeks to come to an objective and dispassionate analysis of what the world is like.

SPH chairman Lee Boon Yang said: "At age 90 and freed from the limitations imposed by Cabinet office, Mr Lee has been remarkably candid in his analysis.

"He doesn't hesitate to explain why one-man-one-vote is unimaginable in China. He laments how Japan is strolling into mediocrity, and observes that Vietnam has yet to be liberated from the shackles of a socialist mindset. He argues that the Arab Spring will not bring democracy to the Middle East."

Describing the book's content, Mr Lee said: "It is a largely unvarnished account with some of the rugged edges shimmed off. After all, I'm an active politician and I don't want to ruffle too many feathers but on the whole, there is a basis of fact in what I've said."

"If you read the book, it is really a gathering of 90 years of various experiences," added Mr Lee.

"These are hard facts and hard truths," he said.

Beyond foreign affairs, the book also provides insight into Mr Lee's personal life.

In one chapter, he reflects candidly on life, death and the afterlife. Mr Lee turns 90 in September.

Writing in the preface to his latest book, Mr Lee said his understanding is based on his observations and interactions with various people over the course of the last 50 years in government.

Mr Lee said during that time, he managed Singapore's foreign policy and met many key figures who had first-hand experience dealing with the global issues of the day.

The final chapter is a conversation between him and an old friend, former Chancellor of West Germany Helmut Schmidt, on leadership and on Europe.

Mr Lee, in his book, also weighed in on whether big power play will cause the United States and China to clash militarily.

He wrote that currently, there is "no bitter, irreconcilable ideological conflict between the Americans and a China that has enthusiastically embraced the free market".

Mr Lee stressed that the Chinese need friendly relations with the US to secure continued access to its markets, investments, technology and universities.

He also said that the US "simply has no need to make a long-term enemy out of China".

Mr Lee added that China would be active in pursuing its territorial claims, knowing they are the "biggest boy in the neighbourhood".

As for Singapore, Mr Lee said the country is too small to change the world.

Instead, Singapore can try to maximise the space it has to manoeuvre among "the big 'trees' in the region".

He said that has been Singapore's approach, and the country will need to be nimble and resourceful to be able to continue to do so.

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