But Singapore, the nation, had to be built. And Yesterday, 46 years on, it’s founding leader offered his assessment: it is not finished. And he had this challenge for the young generation: carry on the task.
Said Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew: “We are a nation in the making. Will we make it? Am I certain we’ll get there? No, I cannot say that. Something can go wrong somewhere and we’ll fall apart.
“It is the business of your generation and the generation that succeeds you to understand that vulnerability, that fragility of our society and keep it in cohesion.”
Mr Lee made these sobering remarks at the launch of a new book published by Singapore press holdings (SPH), Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going. The 458-page book, based on 16 interviews with seven Straits Times journalists, fleshes out his views on a range of issues such as Singapore’s geopolitical realities and political system, the danger of racial or religious intolerance and climate change.
The launch event at the John Jacob ballroom at St Regis Singapore was attended by 160 people, including diplomats, academics, MPs, and captains of industry. The book is now sale at bookstores at $39.90, and comes with a DVD of scenes from the interviews.
Speaking off-the-cut for more than eight minutes, his voice mellow, Mr Lee urged the younger generation not to assume that Singapore’s that Singapore’s nationhood or success was a given: “If you believe it’s a reality, then I think you’re making a mistake. It’s an aspiration, it’s something we must make into reality probably in another 20,30,40,50 years.”
Despite starting out with “multiple peoples, no common language, no common culture”, Singapore has succeeded in making its citizens feel there is a place here for them, creating “a very rare society where people of all races live in the same tower blocks, go to the same.