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Above: Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew with SPH Acting Chairman Prof Cham Tao Soon (right) and The Straits Times' editor Han Fook Kwang.
On his 88th birthday on Sept 16 , former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew launched the Chinese edition of the best-selling book, Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going.
The book is based on 16 interviews with Mr Lee, during which he engaged The Straits Times journalists on a range of issues, such as the future of Singapore’s political system, immigration and foreign talent, and even climate change.
Speaking in both English and Mandarin at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, Mr Lee stressed the importance of bilingualism in Singapore given the country’s multiracial environment, and its position in the region.
He said: “I think if we arrange our education system especially in kindergarten and preschool in such a way that our children are exposed to two languages straight away, we will make bilingualism a reality, and easily achieved by all.”
In his Mandarin speech, Mr Lee made the point that Chinese Singaporeans should learn Malay as their third language so they can better understand and communicate with their neighbours in Malaysia and Indonesia.
In tandem with the book launch, more than 200 guests sang a birthday song to Mr Lee. Befitting the occasion, they sang it not just in English, but in Mandarin as well.
The book launch was attended by some 200 guests at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.