Laotian version of Lee Kuan Yew memoir launched

File photo of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew's memoir, From Third World To First.
File photo of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew's memoir, From Third World To First.PHOTO: ST FILE

VIENTIANE - Founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew's 2000 memoir, From Third World To First, is now available in Laotian.

The translation of Mr Lee's book, which offers a ringside seat to Singapore's progress since its independence in 1965, was a project by the Singapore Embassy in Vientiane, the Lao Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, the Lao Writers' Association as well as copyright holders Straits Times Press.

The project, funded by 11 sponsors, most of them Singapore companies with a presence in Laos such as SilkAir, was launched yesterday by Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck at Mercure Hotel Vientiane. The book has already been translated, or is being translated, into over 10 languages.

In his speech, Mr Teo, who is accompanying President Tony Tan Keng Yam on his state visit in Laos, recounted Singapore's early days as a fledgling nation.

"Few people had confidence that an independent Singapore could survive. However, with determination, appropriate policies, together with help from our friends, we were able to slowly develop our country," he said.

Laos and Singapore share common experiences in its modern history, such as colonialsm and war, added Mr Teo.

And both countries weathered tough times in the early days of independence, grappling with issues including poverty and social tensions. In his book, Mr Lee recounts how Singapore dealt with these challenges.

There are lessons to be learnt from each other, said Mr Teo: "I believe our experience - both our successes and especially our mistakes - could serve as a useful reference for both countries."

Mr Teo, recalling his childhood growing up poor in a kampong, counts himself a beneficiary of the system built by Mr Lee and Singapore's first generation leaders.

Quoting from Mr Lee's book, he said: "If there was one formula for our success, it was that we were constantly studying how to make things work, or how to make them work better."

He added: "Let us then work hard together, so our countries may have an even brighter future."