Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Quotes from People in History


'I encourage people to get a copy of this book. When you talk about the modernisation of Singapore, it is very closely linked to the PAP. If you want to understand Singapore, you have to understand the PAP.'

Mr Fong Swee Suan, 78, a former left-wing trade unionist and politician. He was a close ally of the late Lim Chin Siong, who led the Barisan Sosialis party against the PAP.


'It's a real pleasure for me to be back in Parliament at the age of 80...There are those who want to come back but they can't. Some who are still alive, but their legs won't listen to them or their bodies won't...I read through the book. Our young boys and girls should read it. It's a crystal clear, complete story of the PAP.'

Mr Low Por Tuck, 80. A PAP assemblyman who was part of the group that broke away to form the Barisan Sosialis in 1961, he resigned from the Barisan in 1966, citing political reasons.


'They've covered a fair bit of ground. There are many things surfacing now that we did not know.

Historically, it's necessary. People may not agree but history is never objective. People who write it will always write it from a certain point of view.'

Mr P. Selvadurai, 76, PAP MP from 1967 to 1984 in the Bukit Panjang and Kuo Chuan (now in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) constituencies.


'I'm very happy we have such a book. It gives a chance for the voice of the Barisan Sosialis to be heard.'

Mr Ong Chang Sam, 72. He was the Barisan Sosialis candidate for the 1965 Hong Lim by-election against PAP's Lee Khoon Choy.


'When you see MM with his old colleagues, I think that was history too. It's a poignant moment.

Twenty years, 30 years down the road, that picture that you guys took today - the vanquished and victors - that will be significant.

The project must have been a huge undertaking. For a lot of people who don't know where we've come from, what it took, they need a book like this.'

Mr Arthur Fong, 45, MP for West Coast GRC


'It was a very good end to the event, to see everybody come together. Singapore is a small country, we cannot afford to fight with each other. It was nice to see everyone friends again.'

Mr Lee Khoon Choy, 85. During his 29 years as a politician and diplomat, he held many positions - as an MP, Senior Minister of State plus ambassador and high commissioner to eight countries.


'It's been 50 years since I was here. It feels good to see old colleagues. I'm remembering the past, there are a lot of emotions and thoughts.'

Madam Ho Puay Choo, 80. She joined the PAP in 1955 and was elected assemblywoman for Bras Basah in 1959. She resigned in 1962 to join Barisan Sosialis, but did not seek election in 1963 and left politics in 1966 to go into business.


'It's a timely book, because a lot of young Singaporeans aren't as steeped in the history of post-war Singapore, and wouldn't know the characters who were involved.'

Mr Goh Kian Chee, 65, a retired stockbroker. He is the son of Dr Goh Keng Swee, former finance minister and a founding member of the PAP.


'All of us who are here alive today are victors. Those in the past have fulfilled their responsibility. I can't read English, but I hope my children will read the book and understand history.'

Madam Tan Gim Whay, 73. She is the widow of former PAP assemblyman and parliamentary secretary for education Leong Keng Seng, who left the PAP in 1961 to help form the Barisan Sosialis. Mr Leong died in 2007. Their four children are older than 40.


'The book shows us that within a party there can be diverse views. And having diverse views and embracing them is important in today's context. So, for the event today, it was very touching to see MM Lee actually come together with those who opposed him in the past.

'I've read three-quarters of the book, I know the history, so when I saw him standing there it was the most moving moment for me.

'For MM and the leftists, they opposed each other, there may be some bitterness still, but to see them bring closure today was really the best moment.'

Mr Teo Ser Luck, 41, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport as well as Community Development, Youth and Sports.


'The book collected a lot of different views. As for Barisan Sosialis...those are our old friends. Due to their ideals, people held different views, and although the viewpoints are different, we are still friends and still in touch.'

Mr Choo Wye Foo, 74, a member of the PAP since 1955.


'It was an absorbing book because it gave everybody's point of view and what I found fascinating was how seriously they misjudged us. Underlying all that they did was the assumption that we were English-educated and softies. And they also did not understand the wider political backdrop and they had really no chance.

'We will never have the same set of circumstances again where you have a colonial power in charge on the wane, about to relinquish its authority and a tussle between communists and non-communists to succeed it.

'So what may arise is that when you become weak economically, then you become weak militarily because you cannot afford weaponry, then I think we are at risk.

'I leave it to your imagination why we are at risk. If you read, better still if you live in Malaysia and Indonesia, you will understand.

'And I hope the younger generation understands that before the situation arises and does not allow such a situation to arise.'

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, in a video screened at the launch of the book.

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