About the Book
"Come to think of it, finally, it's only friendship that matters."
—Lee Kuan Yew
Up Close with Lee Kuan Yew gathers some of the vivid memories of 37 people who have worked or interacted closely with Lee Kuan Yew in some way or other, from when he was at Raffles College in 1941 right up to his demise in 2015. Among these are his 13 Principal Private Secretaries and Special Assistants who lived and breathed Mr Lee for a few years each, and Mdm Yeong Yoon Ying, his Press Secretary of over 20 years. The others include former President S.R. Nathan, Puan Noor Aishah who is the widow of Singapore’s first President Yusof Ishak, former Chief Justice Yong Pung How, and friends such as Robert Kuok from his Raffles College days. This book captures an unvarnished look at what it was like to interact with the serious and no nonsense Mr Lee, both at work and outside of work.
The idea for this book came about in 2014. Liew Mun Leong and Ong Beng Seng were on a flight back to Singapore and chatting about Mr Lee Kuan Yew, whom they had known for many years. As they shared personal stories about their interactions with Mr Lee, they felt it was time for a book that told the personal side about him. They broached the idea with Mr Lee on two separate dinner occasions; and when he gave his consent they formed a book committee comprising Andrew Tan, Jennie Chua and Liew Mun Leong. The result is this intimate collection of essays by 37 of Mr Lee’s colleagues and friends.
Robert Kuok, Yong Pung How, Othman Wok, Puan Noor Aishah, S.R. Nathan, J.Y. Pillay, Lim Chin Beng, Wee Cho Yaw, Ch’ng Jit Koon, Sidek Saniff, Philip Yeo ,Jennie Chua, Liew Mun Leong, Lim Siong Guan, Jagjeet Singh, Ng Kok Song, Lam Chuan Leong, Bilahari Kausikan, Stephen Lee, Li Ka-shing, Tan Guong Ching, Dr S. Vasoo, Moses Lee, Ho Meng Kit, Yatiman Yusof, Yeong Yoon Ying, Alan Chan, Peter Seah, Heng Swee Keat, Leo Yip, Andrew Tan, Peter Tan, Cheng Wai Keung, Lee Seow Hiang, Chee Hong Tat, Anthony Tan, and Lim Teck Kiat