HANOI - A Vietnamese translation of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew's memoirs was launched here on Thursday (March 23), the second anniversary of his death.
Called The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew, it was translated and published by Omega Books and Vietnam Intellectual Cooperation Centre.
Mr Lee was the first senior Singapore leader to visit Vietnam in 1992, during the initial stages of Vietnam's Doi Moi reform period.
He developed a keen interest in the country as well as close friendships with many Vietnamese leaders, including then-General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Do Muoi who visited Singapore in 1993, said Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng at the book launch.
"Mr Lee had laid the foundation on which our excellent bilateral relations rest upon today. It is fitting that Mr Lee's book has now been translated into Vietnamese. With these books, more Vietnamese friends will be able to learn about the Singapore story, deepening the understanding and relations between our peoples," Mr Baey said at the event held at Hoa Binh Hotel.
Mr Baey is part of the delegation accompanying Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on his official visit to Vietnam, which ends on Friday (March 24).
He highlighted how the book gives insight into significant periods of Singapore's history, including British colonial rule, the Japanese Occupation and the lead up to independence.
"Mr Lee led the country through the most difficult periods in her history and tirelessly worked to transform it into the First World cosmopolitan city-state it is today...(the book) reminds us of the struggles of a developing nation, and the sheer weight that had been on the shoulders of our leaders at the time," he said.
He also thanked the Vietnamese government on behalf of the Singapore government for supporting the project.
In response, Vietnam's Vice Minister of Foreign Afffairs Dang Dinh Quy said his country's politicians appreciated Mr Lee's honest and far-sighted comments when he visited.
"Many Vietnamese leaders remember Mr Lee Kuan Yew as an honest and a long-time (friend) and appreciate his honesty and sincerity towardsVietnam," he said in Vietnamese. He added that many types of readers, from leaders to young people, would find the books interesting and useful. "Nothing can connect two countries more strongly and for a longer time than the knowledge and sharing of cultural values," he said.
Mr Nguyen Canh Binh, director of Vietnam Centre for Intellectual Cooperation, said his country has been learning from Singapore and Mr Lee's example, calling him a special politician of the world in the past 50 years who directed "the miracle of Singapore".
Separately, Mrs Lee sat in at a special education class conducted by teachers at the National College of Education in Hanoi. The teachers were trained under a project by Singapore International Foundation and the college.
The new book will be sold from April 20, together with the translation of another of Mr Lee's book, From Third World to First : The Singapore Story 1965-2000.