'SNEAK PREVIEW' OF LEE KUAN YEW'S SECOND BOOK OF MEMOIRS
You may well ask, "How can there be a sneak preview when Lee Kuan Yew hasn't even finished 'revising' his second book?", which is due out only late next year, in 1999, when the economic crisis in the region and
Well, this sneak preview is based not on a privileged reading (as if it were a privilege to preview such self-serving, self-aggrandising propaganda passed off as not only accurate, official history but the official history of
To begin with, his Book 1 was controversial, to say the least. But I leave better people like Professor Francis Seow of Harvard to do a detailed critique of LKY's book. I am sure Francis Seow is up to the scholarship required, since he has already written two acclaimed books on
What about LKY's Book Number 2?
Jail or sue your opponents ...
Consider. During the period covered by Book Number 2, we see Chia Thye Poh jailed without charge or trial for 23 years, making him the second-longest serving political prisoner in the world, after Nelson Mandela (25 years). Mandela is now President but Chia is only on release with gag orders that prevent him from interviews or writings giving his side of the story.
During the same period covered by Book Number 2, we also witnessed how LKY dealt with his political opponents. How Jeyaretnam is constantly sued successfully for slander, how his appeal to the Privy Council of Britain (then
During this same period, we also see how LKY dealt with Dr Chee Soon Juan, causing him to lose his university lecturer post and sued a hefty sum when he protested his innocence.
We also witnessed the Tang Liang Hong saga. How he was slandered and libelled publicly as a "dangerous anti-Christian Chinese chauvinist" by LKY and his PAP Yes-men during the 1997 General Elections. And when he tried to defend himself, he found himself knee-deep in defamation suits, with a payout of several million dollars. He is now in
Book 2 Issues ...
In short, in Book Number 2, LKY will have to address all these issues, if not more.
If he doesn't, we will know that his memory is indeed faulty, with very convenient lapses whenever the truth is unfavourable to his image as a great statesman.
If he does, we will be able to appreciate his skill as a contortionist, able to twist and turn the truth into whatever shape he fancies. With the help of people like Dennis Bloodworth and a whole team of researchers whose loyalty is to LKY (read 'career' and 'money') and not the truth.
The Hendrickson Affair ...
There is one more issue that I hope LKY will truthfully reveal in Book 2: the Hendrickson affair.
According to LKY, the
The result was that Francis Seow was jailed under the Internal Security Act and tortured.
Bomb scare at American Embassy ...
But will a more curious incident ever see the truth in LKY's Book Number 2. During this Ambassador Hendrickson episode, there was a bomb scare at the American Embassy in
Apparently, there was a report of a "pipe bomb-like" object in the toilet of the USIS Library, which adjoins the US Embassy proper. The police arrived, evacuated everyone from the Embassy and the adjoining USIS, and searched for several hours.
Now, the use of a "pipe bomb" is curious. In the entire history of
So the bomb hoax was just a trick for LKY's secret police to search the Embassy for documents incriminating Hendrickson. But Hendrickson was smarter. They found nothing. Anyway, LKY expelled Ambassador Hendrickson from
The truth be told ...
Will LKY's second book tell the truth about all this?
I doubt very much. Think. The book is to burnish his reputation and rigidly prevent any straying from His Thoughts even after his death, (just in case Lee Junior cannot continue a long reign after Lee Senior's death).
This being the case, his Book 2, like Book 1, will serve to justify all his actions, evil as they are. Not to tell the truth like it is. So what is missing will be even more important than what is written.
So I end with this warning: readers beware. The truth is somewhere out there but you won't find it in his books. And all those notables who wrote something nice for his Book 1 will either not oblige for Book 2 or write something very watered down, to 'damn with faint praise' so to speak.
Note: expect the usual publicity gimmicks. ... the signed copies for charity, the small print runs so copies are 'sold out due to popular demand', the compulsory reading and discussion by the 10,000 registered PAP members, thus ensuring at least 10,000 sales and of course, the cheap editions overseas (in China, Book 1 sells for $4.75).
I myself look forward to see if my predictions are fulfilled. You will no doubt be interested to see the latest contribution to the debate in the form of a letter published 7 October in the Globe and Mail by another Asian.