SINGAPORE: A reprint of the book The Battle For Merger – which contains a series of 12 radio talks written and given by former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew between Sep 13 and Oct 9, 1961 – was launched by the National Archives of Singapore on Thursday (Oct 9).
Originally published in 1962, it gives a vivid account of the then ongoing political struggle over the merger. But while the context of the talks was merger, the key focus was to expose the communists – who they were, how they operated and what their real aims were in opposing merger.
Present at the launch was Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Mr Teo Chee Hean, who said that the reprint comes as Singapore celebrates it’s 50th anniversary in 2015 – a significant milestone, especially as the country considers its “precarious and tumultuous beginnings”.
He noted that today the events surrounding merger are no longer at the forefront of the minds of Singaporeans – with the younger generation, especially those born after 1965, having no personal memory of these events. Mr Teo said that he hopes the re-publication of the book will awaken the interest among younger Singaporeans to the events of this period of history, as well as provide a “reality check” to revisionist views.
Mr Teo had pointed out that some revisionist writers have attempted to recast the role played by the communists and their supporters on the merger issue, portraying the fight as a peaceful and democratic disagreement over the type of merger – this while ignoring the more fundamental agenda of the communists to seize power by subversion and armed revolution.
He said the spirit of pioneers to rise above hardships of the moment, including the threat of communism, and focus on making Singapore a better country for the next generation is an inspiration for all Singaporeans. “This spirit, epitomised in The Battle For Merger, is a precious heritage which we all as Singaporeans should honour, recognise and emulate,” added Mr Teo.
Featuring photographs, newspaper articles and other artefacts, an exhibition is also being organised to accompany the re-launch of the book.
Held at the National Library Building, the exhibition is open to the public from Oct 9 to Nov 30. It will then travel to public libraries including Jurong Regional Library and Ang Mo Kio Public Library.