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Former Singapore Finance Minister George Yeo unveils final chapter of trilogy ‘Musings — Series Three’ in Kuala Lumpur

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publication of Musings — Series 3 A large-scale project that began in 2021 at the suggestion of media veteran Ng Tae-ho reached its culmination in August. The founder of Channel News Asia has proposed a series of interviews with veteran politician George Yeo, 69, covering the many global and regional events in which he has played a public role, as well as his private life. We gathered insights into his interesting personal interests, such as the importance of harmonizing our energies.the larger one air field.

You can see why Volumes 1 and 2 of “ are like that. Thoughts Demand was high — Series 1 ” stayed on the bestseller list for seven months. When answering a question, Yeo says, “The people of Southeast Asia in the past didn’t have the hard-line views about identity that they do today, but they were pragmatic about trade and exchange, and they wanted to make money for mutual benefit. What examples have you given of coexistence and cooperation?” “You can share. It doesn’t have to be zero sum, it can often be positive sum.”

“The great scholar Wang Gangwu once said, “Singapore is the place where the mandalas of India and China overlap.” I thought that was a very beautiful explanation.I borrowed his ideas and created Singapore, Malaysia, He said that throughout Southeast Asia, such as Indochina, Myanmar, and Indonesia, Indian, Chinese, and Western mandalas overlap with varying degrees of intensity, creating the diversity seen in Southeast Asia today.However, each region has its own unique characteristics. When you analyze the sources of radiation, it’s always India, China, and the West.”

From his time as a student at Cambridge University, Yeo pursued his love of the social history and culture of different countries alongside his chosen field of engineering. He reportedly often read late at night on these subjects, a habit that caught the attention of his university colleagues.

In later years, as Yeo traveled the world on official business, colleagues in far-flung countries reflected on him insightfully as he put forward progressive proposals to address current problems. They expressed their appreciation for his deep understanding of their historical perspective. problem.

Back home in Singapore, this empathy manifested itself in a sense of kinship with Eurasian communities. “After E. W. Barker resigned from the Cabinet, I was asked to represent the Eurasian Community in the Cabinet, which was a great honor for me. To this day I remain a patron of the Eurasian Society. . So I feel a very strong bond with them and between them and me,” says Yeoh.

That intimacy grew out of his Roman Catholic upbringing and early community involvement through his father’s active involvement in the Rosary movement in the Caton area of ​​the Republic.

Another formative experience that left a deep impression on Yeo came through her mother, who married her father in China when she was 19 years old. One month later, she left the country when mainland China was invaded by Japanese forces in July 1937. She couldn’t turn back until China’s supreme leader Deng Xiaoping opened up the country in 1978.

“That’s what I was told during the years of famine. [in China], she and her sister salted pork lard and sent it home in kerosene cans, which allowed many to survive during those terrible years. She was probably in the 1960s,” says Yeo.

He was referring to the large 18-litre cans that were ubiquitous at the time to supply retailers with liquids such as kerosene fuel and cooking oil, and edible foods such as biscuits. Once emptied, these were resold for household use or for grocery shipments, just like Yeo’s mother.

“I grew up with a certain sense of China from her perspective. In 1983, I accompanied my family back to China and met my maternal grandparents for the first time. That visit was a great experience for me. It was very moving because it was something I had heard before and felt like it was an important part of who I was.

“For me, my mother was a very important influence in my life,” says Yeo.

This topic was featured in the following article Series 1 Part of a trilogy published by World Scientific in August last year. Series 2The book, released in February this year, focuses on the struggles of Islam, starting with his assignment at the Vatican Economic Council in 2014, and then moves on to European affairs and the changing tides of the world. It’s reaching.

At over 457 pages, Volume 3 provides incisive insight into such esoteric topics as Singapore’s complex relationship with Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister, the easing of censorship under his watch in the new Ministry of Information and the Arts, and the importance of payments. Yo shares his attention to air Fields that influence individual and social behavior.

Before entering politics, Mr Yeo served in the Singapore Armed Forces, rising to the rank of Brigadier General and taking over Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s role as Director-General of the Ministry of Defense’s Joint Operations and Planning Department at the time.

Mr Yeo spent 23 years as a cabinet minister at the helm of the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Arts. Health; Trade and Industry. And foreign affairs.

He retired from politics after losing the Aljunied GRC constituency contest in a watershed poll in the 2011 general election, leading to the resignations of Senior Ministers Goh Chok Tong and Senior Ministers Quang Yew.

The spirit in which Yeo wrote this trilogy is expressed in the preface as follows: History exists, but not from a historian’s perspective. ”

Buy “Musings — Series Three” for RM108 at Kinokuniya Bookstore here.

This article was first published on The Edge Malaysia on December 4, 2023.

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