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Conversations with Lee Kuan Yew: Citizen Singapore: How to Build a Nation (Giants of Asia series) Hardcover – Bargain Price, December 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: Giants of Asia Series
  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Corp/Ccb (December 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9812616764
  • ASIN: B00DF880II
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,965,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

I don t agree with all of it, but that is to be expected the Western journalist s exaggeration of eccentricity. But on the whole, he got my point of view across. --Lee Kuan Yew on Conversations with Lee Kuan Yew (Giants of Asia Series)

A scintillating insight into the private - and brutally candid - beliefs and thoughts of the 86-year-old Minister Mentor on a wide range of topics, from his temper and children to various countries and his 'authoritarian' ways. These are captured in a writing style that is fast-paced and conversational over 24 chapters that are peppered with Mr Plate's views --Zakir Hussain IN The Straits Times (of Singapore)

There are two types of courage among journalists. Some might risk their lives crossing paths with an IED on an arid back road in Afghanistan. Many fewer risk their reputation by going against the herd of conventional opinion. Tom Plate, America's only syndicated columnist who focuses on Asia, has taken the second risk in his Conversations with Lee Kuan Yew. And it has been a risk well worth taking. His book could not be more relevant at a moment when recession, debt and dysfunction are plaguing the West while Asia strides boldly into the future. Much to the credit of Plate's talent, this book reads breezily, despite its heavy themes. It is broken into many easily digestible chapters with titles mimicking movies or television shows. Overall this was the right choice to make what could easily have been a wonkish drudge into an enjoyable read. Lee Kuan Yew's wisdom makes sense. Tom Plate has done a fine job of conveying it for a Western audience that ought to be paying attention --Columnist Nathan Gardels in The Huffington Post

A scintillating insight into the private - and brutally candid - beliefs and thoughts of the 86-year-old Minister Mentor on a wide range of topics, from his temper and children to various countries and his 'authoritarian' ways. These are captured in a writing style that is fast-paced and conversational over 24 chapters that are peppered with Mr Plate's views --Zakir Hussain IN The Straits Times (of Singapore)

There are two types of courage among journalists. Some might risk their lives crossing paths with an IED on an arid back road in Afghanistan. Many fewer risk their reputation by going against the herd of conventional opinion. Tom Plate, America's only syndicated columnist who focuses on Asia, has taken the second risk in his Conversations with Lee Kuan Yew. And it has been a risk well worth taking. His book could not be more relevant at a moment when recession, debt and dysfunction are plaguing the West while Asia strides boldly into the future. Much to the credit of Plate's talent, this book reads breezily, despite its heavy themes. It is broken into many easily digestible chapters with titles mimicking movies or television shows. Overall this was the right choice to make what could easily have been a wonkish drudge into an enjoyable read. Lee Kuan Yew's wisdom makes sense. Tom Plate has done a fine job of conveying it for a Western audience that ought to be paying attention --Columnist Nathan Gardels in The Huffington Post

About the Author

Tom Plate, author of Confessions of an American Media Man (2007) and an experienced writer and journalist, is a syndicated columnist. He writes about America s relationship with the Pacific rim and travels frequently to Asia. His columns have appeared in many prominent world papers including the South China Morning Post (HK), The Straits Times (Singapore), The Japan Times (Tokyo) and The Jakarta Post (Indonesia). He is currently director and founder of the Pacific Perspectives Media Center in Beverley Hills, a non-profit organisation that syndicates high-end op-eds.

Customer Reviews

Great insights even for Singaporeans!
Amazon Customer
Unfortunately, despite all his impressive credentials, he wasn't the right person for this job.
Scott C. Locklin
"This book is about the informal conversation between LKY and Tom Plate.
Myo Maw Aye

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Scott C. Locklin VINE VOICE on February 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I deeply sympathize with what Tom Plate was trying to do here. LKY is a great man who has unfairly been maligned and ignored by the Western journalistic establishment. Mr Plate was trying to bring a sympathetic portrait of LKY and his views to Westerners. Unfortunately, he wasn't the man to do it.

The book is the result of a couple of hours worth of interview Mr. Plate conducted with LKY over the course of two days in July of 2009. Unfortunately, Mr. Plate spends too much of the text relaying his thoughts and his end of the conversation. I didn't buy this book to get some Western journalist's views and observations: I want to know what LKY thinks. I don't care what LKY looks like (I can watch him on the Charlie Rose show for that), or how much he coughs, and I found the Irving Berlin "fox or hedgehog" metaphor Plate kept trotting out to be imbecilic and disrespectful. I'm sure Mr. Plate is a nice enough fellow, and it's obvious his heart is in the right place. Unfortunately, despite all his impressive credentials, he wasn't the right person for this job. I don't know who would be these days. Certainly it needs to be someone more culturally conservative than Plate: you don't go asking a modern day Lykurgus what kind of dope he likes to take when he's stressed out. Not only is that not interesting: it simply isn't done by civilized people. Projecting your vices onto others is ... insulting.

While Plate is to be commended for not bothering LKY with the type of nonsense that usually obsesses Western reporters (aka, "why don't you accord more power to unaccountable Western type reporters, so we can make a mess of your country like we did our own?"), he also didn't ask enough interesting questions. What would I have liked are LKY's views on American politics and culture.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Neil on January 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book is the compilation of an interview of former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) by Los Angeles Times columnist Tom Plate. The interview took place in Singapore over a two day period in the summer of 2009. The result is a loosely organized recollection of the conversation between Plate and LKY which promises to be insightful and occasionally shocking. In reality, this book is interesting but lacks the depth of discussion or revelation that would qualify as shocking. What it does deliver are LKY's thoughts and reactions to a variety of topics including his opinion of U.S. Presidents from Nixon to Obama, the appointment of his son as Singapore's Prime Minister to his passion for governing. Plate provides his own narrative in addition to posing the questions - this is sometimes helpful when providing a historic or contextual explanation to guide the reader or it can be a distraction when personal anecdotes are sprinkled about.

Of particular interest were LKY's discussions about his pragmatic view of governance and what has transpired to get Singapore where it is today. You can fully appreciate this point of view when looking at security issues given Singapore's small size and precarious position within the region and its economic prosperity in spite of a lack of size and appreciable natural resources.

Overall the book was an enjoyable read that provides a glimpse into the history and the man who is the driving force behind modern Singapore. Given my limited knowledge of Singapore, I found myself conducting additional research to better understand many of the issues raised in the book and I would state that as a compliment rather than a criticism.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By j on January 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Lee Kuan Yew (LKW) is the single most prominent political figure in modern day Singapore. He served as Prime Minister for over 30 years, then as Senior Minister and most recently Minister Mentor until May 2011. LKW is credited with " . . . turning a resource-poor, malarial island into a modern financial center with one of the world's highest per capita incomes".
With little information or insight on Singapore and Lee Kuan Yew I looked to the book, "Conversations with Lee Kuan Yew: How to Build a Nation" for greater insight and context on how the modern day Singapore came to be. I was disappointed when I found the author Tom Plate wrote the book, like a 14 year old girl would write about interviewing Justin Bieber. Plate is clearly a fan of LKY and he dedicates a great portion of the book reflecting on his own thoughts on how he is conducting the interview. In this vein, Plate describes, at great length, the weather in Singapore on a particular day as he was waiting for LKY in the lobby which could have been summarized as "it was hot." Later in the book Plate goes on a tangent describing how LKY chose to "dress up" that day while the author "dressed down".
While the book was disappointing I did find some nuggets that provide interesting and or amusing insight to the Lee Kuan Yew.
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