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New E-Book by Young NTUC & Young PAP Honours The Late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s Legacy

Young PAP Activist, Angela Kwok and Union Leader, Jonathan Chua

16 September 2023 marked the 100th birthday of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the Founding Father of modern Singapore and its longest-serving Prime Minister.

Young NTUC (YN) and Young PAP (YP) banded together to launch a special e-book titled ‘Centennial Reflections: 100 Reflections by Mr Lee Kuan Yew’, and conducted an amazing race involving over 100 youths.

Here, YN’s Jonathan Chua and YP’s Angela Kwok, both members of the organising team, gave us the inside track on the motivation, challenges and take-away lessons from this project.

What inspired your interest in the ‘Centennial Reflections’ project?

Jonathan Chua: I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to think of Mr Lee as one of the key figures who led Singapore to where we are today. Growing up watching his interviews, I really respected and admired him. You can see his charisma, determination and the vision he had for Singapore, which he made into reality. I wanted to commemorate LKY100 to thank him and highlight his contributions toward what we have today.

Angela Kwok: The project resonated with me due to its celebration of leadership and its impact on shaping nations. As a Young PAP activist, I admire leaders who demonstrate resilience and vision, and the theme provided an opportunity to delve into the life and legacy of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, a leader I've long admired for his transformative role in Singapore's development.

How long did it take for the e-book to be born?

JC: It was one of the ideas that the team felt was the best way to commemorate Mr Lee’s legacy. The actual execution took about eight months, with everyone from both teams contributing. The design of the book was done by a peer from YP, while others, like me, did extensive research to find all the quotes. I even went through the book many times to ensure that the final product was perfect.

AK: At the start, we combed through tens of volumes of books and compiled over 300 quotes. Thereafter, we discussed and chose quotes that we found would resonate with the youth, leadership and the labour movement. We went through multiple rounds of sieving to pick out the right quotes too.

Angela Kwok, Young PAP Activist

What did you find most memorable about this project?

JC: Working with the team, where everyone came together with their various skills and expertise to make this come true! The book launch and amazing race were particularly memorable too; members of YP would go through the key landmarks of the amazing race while others from YN hosted the book launch.

AK: Collaborating with Jonathan and the Young NTUC team on this project was a memorable experience. The synergy of ideas and perspectives brought a new richness to our work. Overcoming challenges together and seeing our collective efforts shape into a unified project was both gratifying and a testament to the strength of collaboration. The book launch, held as a finale of an Amazing Race, brought together young activists from YP, members of YN and members of the public. This was especially meaningful, providing youths from diverse backgrounds a chance to learn, interact and forge friendships.

What can youths learn from the ‘Centennial Reflections’ ?

JC: How determined Mr Lee was in achieving his vision. He was forward thinking; he knew education, creating better prospects in jobs and leveraging technology can circumvent problems in the sixties. Mr Lee also had the vision of unions and the government working together, which led to today’s symbiotic relationship between YN and YP.

AK: The value of adaptability. Mr Lee’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances and innovate in the face of challenges is a valuable trait. Youths can apply this by being open to learning, embracing change and proactively seeking solutions in our personal and professional lives. The unique Singapore spirit of always being adaptable is something that will guide us throughout different life stages and less afraid to face challenges especially in our ever-changing future and the arising uncertainties.

Jonathan Chua, Union Leader

To conclude, what’s one quote that stood out to you?

JC: “It is the young that will determine what happens to this society. And it is we and what we do now that determines what they can be.”

This stands out to me most because whatever we (YN) have been doing, it helps highlight that we are laying the groundwork for the future, and for future generations to come and how we can help inspire them to keep building upon it.

AK: As a young parent and a mother of two boys, this quote stood out to me:

"You cannot bring up a child with a computer or virtual reality. For hundreds of thousands of years, it’s the warmth of the mother and the child and the supporting father that brings up children and they learn what’s good, what’s bad, how to react with other people, how to be loyal, how to be friendly, not to be distrustful, not to be wicked, not to be cruel."

The quote reminded myself and my supportive husband to be good parents to our children so that they will become good people, and eventually serve this nation as we build another 100 years of better tomorrow.

Interview responses have been condensed and edited for clarity.


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