From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000

From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000 - Lee Kuan Yew, Henry Kissinger I picked up this read after the passing of Mr. Lee, the founding-father and longest-serving Prime Minister of Singapore, in March 2015. He was a brilliant statesman and a visionary. Approximately the first half of the book is dedicated to the history of Singapore, when she was still aligned with Malaya, and afterwards, in her early years of independence (post 1965). The struggles and failings of the young nation are not sugarcoated, and her small but steady accomplishments are laid out in detail as well. It's a fascinating read, and despite being over 700 pages, it's never boring.

The second part has to do with Singapore's relations and dealings with other countries in the Southeast Asian region, and with the then superpowers of the world, Russia and the USA. On account of my being more familiar with the history of Singapore, some of this was eyeopening for me, especially the section on the temperaments of each country's leader(ship) and their approach to politics and international relations. All this is tied up in the way Singapore interacts and relates to these other nations, in her quest for progress and growth.

The Lion City celebrated her Golden Jubilee on 9 August 2015, and it was bittersweet to see the success of Singapore chronicled in highlights and videos, and the absence of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew at the National Day Parade -- on his seat stood a bunch of orchids, the national flower of Singapore -- was keenly felt.