Thursday, 22 August 2013

Lee Kuan Yew’s latest book: An order to keep it off shelves?

I was disappointed that all the bookshops in Malaysia ran out of copies of Lee Kuan Yew’s latest book, One Man View’s of the World. With the wide press coverage of the brouhaha that the book created, the distributor should have anticipated that the book will be a good sell in Malaysia. Both BN and PR leaders have their take on the book for their political mileage.
Thus, before my return to Kuala Lumpur from my Raya break, I called up my favourite bookshop – Kinokuniya to reserve a copy for me but was told it was sold out on the same day it hit the shelves. However, I managed to get my copy in Singapore last Wednesday and it costs me $39.90. Somehow I suspiciously believe that there is a hidden hand that keep Lee’s latest book out of the shelves for as long as possible because till today, none of the bookstores in Kuala Lumpur have any stock available.
Another funny occurrence is that when I did a search on Kinokuniya’s website for the book, it displayed “no match found” because when I did the search some two weeks back, it was there. The price displayed was RM 85.00. So for those who are keen on the book and don’t have the patient to wait for the book’s debut again in our bookstores, you can either get it from Amazon or you have friends or relatives working in Singapore, you can ask them to get a copy for you.
I’ve finished reading the book a while ago. It would have taken me earlier to finish had it not for my busy schedule since last week. He devoted 54 pages to express his view on China which includes an interview at the end of every chapter. For the United States, he devoted 24 pages and for Malaysia, it is 13 pages. Compared to other South East Asian countries, we’ve got the most pages. Not surprisingly since we are the dear neighbor with a long history of displeasure from both side of the Causeway.
What he wrote about Malaysia, to sum it up: It is his honest view and the truth. In fact, what he wrote was nothing new to us; the separation, the meritocracy system, radical Malays, brain drain in Malaysia, the opposition’s could never possibly do away with the system of Ketuaan Melayu, our too often flip flop policy in education and the failed 1 Malaysia concept.
After reading the book, I wonder, what he wrote about Malaysia does it even deserve brouhaha at the first place. Isn’t it the truth that Malaysia’s race-based policies place us at a disadvantage? Isn’t the truth that we are having serious brain drain problem? Isn’t it the truth that the opposition parties under Pakatan Rakyat are held together not by a coherent set of ideas but with one common desire to unseat the government? Dr. Mahathir, another master of his own class, is right, he choose to attack Pak Lah in full length instead of Lee. Looks like the Tun is not going to end his salvo anytime soon.  
Finally, I am more interested in Lee’s take about the global economy, his honest view about climate change, his belief about afterlife (non-existence) and his own admission about his mortality at the age of 90. I wish that Lee will live healthily to celebrate his centennial birthday. This region will be less fun without him and Dr. Mahathir around.

P/S: Going to start reading “Awakening” soon, followed by Tiger of Jelutong.

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