Chase that rainbow, do S'pore proud: PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Minister of State for Education and Communications and Information Sim Ann and Madam Choo Lian Liang at the launch of Chasing Rainbows yesterday.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Minister of State for Education and Communications and Information Sim Ann and Madam Choo Lian Liang at the launch of Chasing Rainbows yesterday.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

It is a story of how a family conquered the odds and triumphed under extraordinary circumstances during turbulent times that included World War II and the fight against the communists.

Chasing Rainbows, or Zhui Hong in Chinese, tells the story of four generations of retired television producer Choo Lian Liang's family, from the late 1890s in China to Singapore today.

The English edition of the 2010 Chinese memoir was launched yesterday by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who noted that Singaporeans now are better off, better educated and have more opportunities than their forebears.

Yet, "young people I meet today sometimes tell me they are anxious about their future. I find this worrying", he said.

Mr Lee recalled how the Chinese version of the book moved him, and led him to speak about the contributions of immigrants to Singapore in his Mandarin speech at the 2010 National Day Rally.

He had said that as new immigrants, they tend to have a greater spirit of determination, daring and adventurism, due to the difficulties of uprooting to a new country. He had urged Singaporeans to learn from this spirit.

Yesterday, he reiterated this call as he cited founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew urging young Singaporeans to "go ride the rainbow".

PM Lee said: "I hope that young people who are worried about their future, who are sometimes beset by angst, who are anxious that life has become harder, kick hard, chase that rainbow, be inspired by this book, do well, and do us all proud."

The book "shows how earlier generations chased that rainbow, and found a pot of gold". But not without hard work, he added, leaving a valuable legacy to their children, country and the future.

Madam Choo's daughter, Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State for Education and Communications and Information, translated the book. Its price is $29.96 (with GST).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2015, with the headline 'Chase that rainbow, do S'pore proud: PM Lee'. Print Edition | Subscribe