SINGAPORE: A new Chinese publication on the career and life of former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew had garnered some 4,000 pre-orders, even before the book was launched on Monday.
Titled "Singapore Chose Lee Kuan Yew", it traces Mr Lee's career over 60 years.
It consists of 9 volumes, has more than 1,600 pages and features more than 500 photos, some of which were never before seen.
The newest publication on Mr Lee Kuan Yew was conceived about a year and a half ago and is a condensed version of a 20-volume English publication titled "The Papers of Lee Kuan Yew”, which was released in two phases in 2011 and 2013.
The Chinese collection is divided into themes such as International Affairs, Family & Colleagues, Health & Life as well as Policy Making.
The title, "Singapore Chose Lee Kuan Yew", is as much a validation of Mr Lee's contributions, as it is Singaporeans' belief in him.
MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC Seng Han Thong, who is the series editor for the book, said: “It's because Singapore chose Lee Kuan Yew, we are what we are today. His policies, his strategies, his determination, his confidence… makes Singapore what it is today."
Unlike other books on Mr Lee, Mr Seng said this one covers his entire political career from his early days as a student activist in the 50s, till the day he retired from politics in 2011.
So how does one condense all the information to make it an interesting read?
Mr Seng said he was guided by some principles, such as “how he formulates his policies, how he understands the ground and how he overcome difficulties despite the obstacles" to tell the story.
Mr Seng's team of writers includes four other veteran Chinese journalists -- Mr Chang Chin Chiang, Mr Han Tan Juan, Mr Tay Bon Hoi and Mr Goh Soo Heng.
The National Archives of Singapore provided the bulk of the over 500 photographs in the book.
Ms Julia Chee, deputy director of the Oral History Centre at the National Archives of Singapore, said "The collection of Mr Lee's photographs just on the theme alone… there are more than 35,000 photographs and for this compilation (just for this Chinese publication).We are looking at, just based on the theme, what are some of the more interesting photographs that have never been seen by the public.
“Going through the 35,000 itself is already a challenge but the work involved by the team is also working close with the editors and going through interesting angles and shots of Mr Lee. So that by itself is actually a challenge."
Having ploughed through all the information, Mr Seng said the one thing that struck him was Mr Lee's determination.
"He is a man who really wants to do the right thing and also for the interest of people, for the interest of Singapore and once he sets out his target, he will make sure he will overcome all odds and all obstacles, and achieve that," he said.
Writers of the book will have a sharing session with members of the National Library's Reading Club, on the September 28.
There will be another session with new citizens in October. - CNA/ec
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