Lim Chong Yah: An Autobiography – Life Journey of a Singaporean Professor
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Christo Brand was a South African farm boy, born into the Afrikaans culture which had created apartheid to persecute black people and claim superiority for whites. Nelson Mandela, also raised in a rural village, was the black son of a tribal chief. He trained as a lawyer to take up the fight against apartheid on behalf of a whole nation. Their opposing worlds collided when Christo, a raw recruit from the country’s prison service, was sent to Robben Island to guard the notoriously dangerous terrorists there. Mandela was their undisputed leader. The two of them, a boy of 18 and a long-suffering freedom fighter then aged 60, could well have become bitter enemies. Instead, they formed an extraordinary friendship through small human kindnesses. Christo, a gentle young man who valued ordinary decency and courtesy, struck a chord with the wise and resilient old freedom fighter who was prepared to die to liberate his people. The African tribesman in Mandela meant that family was a priority for him, yet he had been sentenced to life imprisonment. When his mother died, he was refused permission to go to her funeral. Mandela, the oldest son whose responsibility was written in blood, wept with shame and despair. Christo was to witness that despair many times during his years as Mandela’s prison warder. When Winnie secretly brought their tiny granddaughter to Robben Island it was Christo who risked his own freedom to put the baby in Mandela’s arms. Their friendship was sealed by many such shared moments. And the bond of trust between the two men extended beyond Mandela’s prison years. As President of South Africa, he called for Christo and gave him a job in the archives department in Parliament. He invited Christo and his family into his home and advised his two sons on their careers. A few weeks before his death, Mandela made another call, to say goodbye. This book tells the story of their friendship in Christo’s words for the first time.
Few people have watched the development of today’s Singapore as closely as President S.R. Nathan, who celebrated his 90th birthday on 3 July 2014. In this engaging book, based on a series of informal interviews, Mr Nathan reflects on a wide range of historical and contemporary issues. The conversations range over topics as diverse as: Singapore’s place in the world the future of China and India the importance of conciliation complacency the importance of total defence religion, tolerance and harmony the value of education the role of language productive retirement the lessons of history impressions of pioneers”
After Suharto gained power in Indonesia in the mid-1960s, he stayed as the country’s president for more than three decades, helped by the powerful military, hefty foreign aid and support from a coterie of cronies. A pivotal business backer for his New Order government was Liem Sioe Liong, a migrant from China, who arrived in Java in 1938. A combination of the Suharto connection, serendipity and personal charm propelled him to become the wealthiest tycoon in Southeast Asia. This is the story of how Liem built the Salim Group, a conglomerate that in its heyday controlled Indonesia’s largest non-state bank, the country’s dominant cement producer and flour mill, as well as the world’s biggest maker of instant noodles. The book features exclusive input from Liem, who died in 2012, and his youngest son, Anthony Salim. It traces the founder’s life and the group’s symbiosis with Suharto, his generals and family. After the tumultuous 1997-98 Asian financial crisis sparked Suharto’s fall and a backlash against the strongman’s cronies, Anthony staved off the crushing of the debt-laden group. Told in a journalistic style, the story of the Salim Group provides insights into Suharto’s New Order. For business executives, students and anyone with an interest in Southeast Asia’s largest economy, the volume makes a valuable contribution towards understanding the country’s modern history.