Vintage Lee: Landmark Speeches Since 1955
Lydia Lim (ed.)
Singapore: Straits Times Press, 2015
ISBN: 9789814642460

In his 60 years as a politician, 31 of them as Prime Minister, Mr Lee delivered thousands of speeches. This book contains 33 that stand out because they are the clearest and most hard-hitting on issues he considered of fundamental importance -- race, language, good government, defence, talent and succession. Some mark milestones on Singapore's journey to independence and success. Others are plain inspiring because Mr Lee speaks of facing life with courage and fighting for what one believes in. This selection was made after consulting SPH editors past and present, including Cheong Yip Seng, Patrick Daniel and Han Fook Kwang.

PM Lee Hsien Loong said his father was often "spoiling for a fight". Indeed, Lee Kuan Yew seemed energised by opposition and his election rally speeches make for compelling reading precisely because they showcase him at his combative best. In Parliament too, or during National Day Rallies, Mr Lee thrived on the challenge of winning people over on hard policies that most other politicians would have shied away from. He was always very clear about the message he wanted to get across and tailored his speeches to his audience, exploiting the power of words and stories, marshalling facts and figures and putting his own reputation on the line so as to win the argument.

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