200,000 copies of new workbook on Lee Kuan Yew's life and values to go out to students

The LKY: Follow That Rainbow, Go Ride It workbook distributed to all secondary schools for free.
The LKY: Follow That Rainbow, Go Ride It workbook distributed to all secondary schools for free.PHOTO: STRAITS TIMES PRESS
Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Transport Josephine Teo (centre) interacts with students during the "LKY: Follow That Rainbow, Go Ride It" book launch at Bendemeer Secondary School on March 23, 2016.
Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Transport Josephine Teo (centre) interacts with students during the "LKY: Follow That Rainbow, Go Ride It" book launch at Bendemeer Secondary School on March 23, 2016.ST PHOTO: LIM YONG TECK

Stories of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's courage and tenacity, even his frugality, were among those selected for a workbook titled LKY: Follow That Rainbow, Go Ride It.

It was launched at Bendemeer Secondary School on Wednesday morning (March 23) to commemorate the first death anniversary of Singapore's first prime minister.

The 64-page volume is published by Straits Times Press and developed by The Straits Times Schools team. Sponsored by Mapletree Investments Private Limited and Singapore Power, up to 200,000 copies will be distributed to all secondary schools for free.

To Sakthivell Ahrumugam, 14, one of the first in Singapore to get a copy, it was the design of the book that was most appealing.

"The typography really attracted me. The contrast between the colourful cover and the black and white pictures also gives it a really nostalgic feel," said the Secondary 2 student from Bendemeer Secondary School.

For adult reader Mrs Josephine Teo, the guest-of-honour at the launch, it was the poignant content which struck her the most.

Speaking at the event on Wednesday, the Senior Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Transport said the articles in the workbook, such as one about his simple taste in clothes, made her recall her own interactions with Mr Lee.

She recounted speaking with Mr Lee on a trip to Australia in 2007, when she had asked him why he was still carrying a briefcase from the 1970s. Mr Lee replied matter of factly: "It still works."

His frugality was but one of many values that the workbook, which covers Mr Lee's life from 1923 to 2015, hopes to inspire in students.

Targeted at teenagers aged 12 to 18, it comprises newspaper articles, historical photographs and motivating activities that are structured around four values Mr Lee embodied: idealism, courage, resilience and tenacity.

The author, Ms Debra Ann Francisco - a former teacher and a journalist at The Straits Times - chose a value-centred approach as she hoped readers would discover these values in their own lives.

"I believe that teenagers have much to learn from how he lived his life. The activities I created in the workbook aim to get students to dream big and set realistic goals in order to chase their own rainbows."

She demonstrated the activities with 39 Secondary 2 students at Bendemeer, getting them to set goals they hope to realise in five, 10, or 20 years, an exercise that showed the importance of having a road map.

This is the second book inspired by Mr Lee that ST Press has produced for a young audience. The first book, What's Inside the Red Box, was published in December last year and is for children aged three to seven years old.

This workbook is suitable for readers aged 12 to 18. Any schools or educational institutions that would like free copies, please contact Straits Times Press at 6319-8340 or e-mail nigeltan@sph.com.sg