S. Rajaratnam, The Authorised Biography, Volume Two: The Lion’s Roar

S. Rajaratnam, The Authorised Biography, Volume Two: The Lion’s Roar
Irene Ng, author
Date of publication:  2024
Publisher:  ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute
Number of pages:  776
Code:  BM627
Hard Cover
ISBN: 9789815203288
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Soft Cover
ISBN: 9789815104646
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About the publication

S. Rajaratnam, one of Singapore’s core founding fathers and its first Foreign Minister, was a man of ideas, ideals and action. In engaging prose, Irene Ng, bestselling author of the first volume of Rajaratnam’s biography, The Singapore Lion, reveals—as never before—how Rajaratnam changed the course of his country’s history, often by the sheer force of his ideas and will. The second volume, The Lion’s Roar, begins with his struggles during Singapore’s traumatic years in Malaysia from 1963 to 1965. Informed by decades of research, numerous interviews, and access to Mr. Rajaratnam’s private and government papers, the book gives new insight into his personality and priorities as he was confronted with Singapore’s sudden independence, which left the island exposed to all the calamities of a vulnerable state.

The book relates in fine narrative and analytical detail the evolution of Singapore’s foundational ideals and values as well as its foreign policy principles and strategies. Through its pages, we follow him as he transformed Singapore’s relations with its neighbours, co-founded ASEAN, and rallied the regional grouping to oppose the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia. We look over his shoulder as he drafted what would become Singapore’s National Pledge. We witness his political skills as labour minister as he steered through the most far-reaching labour reform in the nation’s history and laid the foundation for Singapore’s unique cooperative model of tripartism. And we experience Rajaratnam’s final years, when he faced the end of his life with the same courage that he brought to every battle he ever fought. More than merely the definitive biography of Rajaratnam, the book is also a story about the human condition; about what individuals, given genius, courage and willpower, can achieve beyond what most thought is possible, and what people and nations will endure if they have inspirational and moral leadership.

“Irene Ng’s biography of S. Rajaratnam is a monumental and painstaking record of the life, beliefs and moral courage of a core member of Singapore’s founding generation of leaders. Rajaratnam’s significance is more than a matter of history. The principles he advanced as our first foreign minister to secure a small country’s interests remain central to how Singapore shapes its destiny in a tumultuous world. So too his inexhaustible optimism, even in the darkest of times, as this compelling narrative brings to life. Yet Rajaratnam’s deepest imprint was in his vision of a multiracial Singapore, encapsulated in the national pledge for which he was principal author. It was his most powerful conviction: that we can and must be one united people, regardless of race, language or religion. The diversity of our cultures gives Singapore strength. But Rajaratnam’s conviction that Singaporeans could create a national identity that transcends and takes priority over other affinities remains what we must live up to. The Lion’s Roar should be read by new generations, today and tomorrow.” 
—Tharman Shanmugaratnam, President of Singapore

“This book does not just recount facts and events from the distant past; it also explains rationales and realities that remain fresh and relevant today… Irene has done a service to Singapore with this biography. The fruit of years of thorough, painstaking research and countless interviews, The Lion’s Roar is a serious yet captivating account of the life of a pivotal character in Singapore’s history. It gives an insight into what Raja was like, what he believed in, and what he fought for.”
Senior Minister Lee Hsien Loong


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