New workbook for students on what Lee stood for launched

Students taking part in activities during the LKY: Follow the Rainbow, Go Ride it book launch at Bendemeer Secondary School on March 23.
Students taking part in activities during the LKY: Follow the Rainbow, Go Ride it book launch at Bendemeer Secondary School on March 23. PHOTO: LIM YONG TECK FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Stories of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's courage, tenacity and even his frugality are now told in a new book for secondary school students, titled LKY: Follow That Rainbow, Go Ride It.

The workbook was launched at Bendemeer Secondary School yesterday, on the first anniversary of the founding Prime Minister's death.

The 64-page Straits Times Press publication is developed by The Straits Times Schools team and sponsored by Mapletree Investments and Singapore Power.

A total of 200,000 copies will be distributed to all secondary schools.

Sakethivell Ahrumugam, 14, one of the first to get a copy, found the design of the book 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 at Bendemeer.

Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo, who launched the book, was struck by the poignant content.

She said the articles, such as one about Mr Lee's simple taste in clothes, made her recall her own interactions with him.

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 structured around four values Mr Lee embodied: idealism, courage, resilience and tenacity.

The author, Ms Debra Ann Francisco - a former teacher and a correspondent specialising in news in education 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 Mr Lee 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 shared 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.

  • The workbook is suitable for readers aged 12 to 18. Schools or educational institutions that would like free copies may contact Straits Times Press on 6319-8340 or e-mail nigeltan@sph.com.sg
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2016, with the headline 'New workbook for students on what Lee stood for launched'. Print Edition | Subscribe