Oct 26, 2011

France - Lee Kuan Yew memoirs now available in French

The memoirs of Singapore's former Minister Mentor, Lee Kuan Yew are now available in French for the first time.

The 'Singapore Story' was first released in English in 1998, and has already been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Mr George Yeo, former Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister, said: "Some years ago, I had them translated into Spanish and Portuguese as well. I think (translating the memoirs into French) is important because there are many francophone countries in the world and there is considerable interest in Singapore's development experiences."

Among the French masses, Mr Lee Kuan Yew is known only by a handful.

This book is expected to reverse that trend.

Mr Kishore Mahbubani, Dean, Lew Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, at the National University of Singapore, said: "As you know, one of the most important parts of the world is the French-speaking world. Two hundred million people who speak French know little about Singapore and the region, and one very quick way to understand why Singapore has been exceptionally successful over the last 40-50 years is to read the two memoirs."

Endorsed and promoted by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, at the National University of Singapore, the memoir is set to hit public libraries and bookshops in the French capital this week.

The book itself is not just as introduction on public policy but it's also an introduction to the history of Singapore.

Despite the long time gap between the English and the French versions of the Memoirs, the book remains relevant today.

Mr Kishore Mahbubani said: "I would say (the book is) even more valid in today's context because there is now a real global struggle to achieve good governance in societies around the world."

Mr Yeo said: "We were never ideological while many other countries took turnings away from the rational model. Now they scour around for models to study. And invariably, Singapore is one of the models they want to study, and who better to explain Singapore's development experiences that Lee Kuan Yew himself, in his own words."

The French version, named 'l'Histoire de Singapore', is already in the hands of critics for book reviews.

In a matter of days, it will be a part of university curriculum too.

- CNA/cc

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