My Lifelong Challenge Singapore’s Bilingual Journey

Author: Lee Kuan Yew

Publisher: Straits Times Press (January 1, 2011)

ISBN: 978-9814342032

Call Number: 306.449 LEE

In My Lifelong Challenge, we learn of the many policy adjustments and the challenges Lee Kuan Yew encountered – from Chinese language chauvinists who wanted Chinese to be the preeminent language in Singapore, from Malay and Tamil community groups fearing that Chinese was being given too much emphasis, from parents of all races wanting an easier time for their school-going children, from his own Cabinet colleagues questioning his assumptions about language. We learn of the pain of teachers forced to switch from teaching in Chinese to teaching in English almost overnight, and of students who were caught in the transition from a Chinese medium of instruction to an English one. My Lifelong Challenge is also the story of Lee’s own struggle to learn the Chinese language. This book describes vividly his steely determination to improve his Chinese and reclaim his Chinese heritage, right up to the present when he is well into his 80s. Lee distils his experiences of 50 years into eight precepts that he spells out at the end of his narrative.

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