English | 2019 | ISBN: 9811205574 | 500 Pages | EPUB | 16.6 MB
“V K Rajan has written a personal and fascinating account of his long career in the Singapore Civil Service. He encountered and worked with many pioneer political leaders of Singapore. He interacted with numerous foreign leaders over the years in different capacities, including as Chief of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as Singapore’s ambassador to several countries. He heard and saw at close quarters how royalty, top decision-makers and brilliant minds talked about Singapore, and how some of our pioneer leaders dealt with bilateral relations and policy matters. With his long experience in the Civil Service and with an eye to the developments past and present, V K Rajan also shared his thoughts on the issues facing Singapore and its future as an independent small state. His devotion to Singapore and what it has achieved comes through clearly. This reflection on V K Rajan’s life is impassioned, inspirational and instructive. It is wonderful reading, especially for those interested in Singapore’s history in the early decades of independence.”
Ambassador Ong Keng Yong
Executive Deputy Chairman
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
This book by a pioneer generation civil servant is a fascinating and an engaging account of Singapore’s spectacular development from a sleepy backwater village to a first world State within a single generation and defying, in the process, all odds against its survival. This story is unique in many ways and starts right at the beginning when Singapore became a self-governing State in 1959, the same year the author entered the civil service. The author’s involvement and participation in the detailed planning of pioneering policies, the strategies adopted and their implementation at the ground level by many front line ministries and institutions, in which he has served for more than four decades, have given him a unique hands-on experience and observations derived in working from the inside – in areas ranging from slum clearance to representing the State overseas. The story also details how the cooperation between an honest and visionary leadership and the citizenry created an effective professional, proactive and productive public administration, which excelled in service delivery at home, and enabled the State to punch above its weight globally, overcoming at the same time many political, economic and security challenges, amongst others, and always ever mindful that nothing in the scheme of things can be taken for granted. The success achieved and the many lessons learnt therefrom have universal application and had attracted global interest.
The story is very well illustrated with compelling and illuminating insights and richly complemented by the author’s anecdotal observations throughout.