BOOK LAUNCH: The LKY Story: Lee Kuan Yew: The Man Who Shaped the Nation

27 Oct 2016 // Filed under Children’s / Events / Literacy

Speech by Mr R Ramachandran,
Guest of Honour during the launch of
Lee Kuan Yew: The Man Who Shaped the Nation

25 Oct 2016, 7.00pm| Books Kinokuniya, Ngee Ann City, Singapore

Kajiya-san, MD Shogakukan Asia, the author Nabeta-san, the Illustrator Fujiwara-san, and friends, a very good evening to all of you. I must congratulate the publisher Shogakukan Asia for undertaking the publication of this outstanding book–

The LKY Story – Lee Kuan Yew:
The Man Who Shaped the Nation

This book is skilfully and thoroughly researched, and written by Nabeta-san and expertly illustrated by Fujiwara-san. Its publication demonstrates how much our leader is  revered not only  in Singapore but is equally respected and admired overseas.The publication of this book is timely as more and more graphic novels are being published in Singapore in response to the changing reading preferences  of our readers.  It has even been said that the next great Singaporean novel may well be a comic book. This is not impossible as our comic artists have gained acclaim both within and outside Singapore.

For example, Oh Yong Hwee and Koh Hong Teng have become the country’s first comics creators to win a bronze in the 7th International Manga Award in Japan in 2014, for their comic book Ten Sticks And One Rice, a poignant story about a satay-seller’s life. More recently Sonny Liew’s The Art of Chan Hock Chye won this year’s Singapore Literature Prize as well as several other international awards.

The LKY Story is an excellent comic biography. It is not only well written and illustrated but also well researched and gives an admirable account of our leader from a different perspective. One point I want to highlight is the quality of the research done and also the objectivity of the writer. I checked and went through several times the portion on the Japanese period of our history during which time, besides our leader, many others in Singapore went through trying times. I thought that this period would be glossed over and may not be given a full and accurate treatment. I was wrong.

The author did not fast track and ignore the facts but depicted the story as it happened.  My kudos to the writer. That is the hallmark of a good writer.

In many ways the LKY’s Story is a unique book. It is perhaps the only book of our beloved leader that is presented in Manga style. The book is also notable because it is perhaps the only book by a Japanese author published in English. I am sure it will soon be available in Japanese and possibly other languages – particularly in Chinese.

The fifty years of close and cordial relationship with Japan has developed amongst Singaporeans not only a certain bias for the goods, services and cuisine from Japan but also a respect and admiration for their culture. Singaporeans are used to reading translations of Japanese books and watching Japanese movies with subtitles. But this is perhaps the first time a book has been published in English, authored and illustrated by the Japanese and published by a Japanese company and about our Founding Father. Hence this publication takes our relationship one notch higher and closer. I would like to encourage Shogakukan to publish more Manga style books of our other leaders. Such books, like this one, would surely be bestsellers not only in Singapore but overseas as well.

I want to end by highlighting two points relevant to our authors and publishers in Singapore.

  1. Singapore authors and publishers should publish even more titles of our leaders particularly from the political and industrial sector. Such titles should be marketed aggressively to people outside Singapore.
  2. Singapore publishers should also focus on books on leaders of other countries not only for Singaporeans but also for the nationals of the country the leader comes from.

Shogakukan has demonstrated and has shown the way. We must follow suit. Such a mind-set would encourage marketing Singapore published books beyond Singapore rather than be restrained and discouraged by the small size of the Singapore market.

My congratulations to Shogakukan Asia for focusing on our Founding Father, publishing an excellent book on him and confidently marketing the book in Singapore and abroad. I am sure every reader will enjoy this vividly illustrated biography as much as I did.

 

Ramachandran
Executive Director
National Book Development Council of Singapore

Images from the Book Launch:

Lee Kuan Yew: The Man Who Shaped the Nation
25 Oct 2016, 7.00pm| Books Kinokuniya, Ngee Ann City, Singapore

Comments

Sim Cheng Kai wrote on 1 Nov 2016:

Very nice photos. :D

Wish I was there!

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