Singapore, 9 June 2011 – Straits Times Press (STP), the book publishing arm of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), today launched “Diplomacy – A Singapore Experience”, written by Professor S Jayakumar, former Senior Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The book launch, jointly organised by STP and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Diplomatic Academy, was held at MFA’s Tanglin Road premises. The launch was attended by over 200 guests, including members of the diplomatic corps, former politicians and government officials.
In his 316-page book, Prof Jayakumar shares his reflections on numerous events and episodes during his many decades in public service, in particular his tenure as Minister for Foreign Affairs (1994 to 2004) and as Permanent Representative to the United Nations (1971 to 1974). Some of these watershed episodes in the decades since Singapore’s independence were previously known only to a handful of senior government officials.
Prof Jayakumar recounts the behind-the-scenes political decision-making that governed Singapore’s responses during these events. These decisions, which he was personally involved in, helped forge the principles which have since formed the basis of Singapore’s foreign policies. They have also become critical learning points for government officials, especially the younger officers in the civil service.
The book consists of 3 parts. In Part I, titled “Proactive and Creative Diplomacy”, Prof Jayakumar looks at how Singapore created diplomatic and economic space through initiating and participating in international forums and dialogues.
In Part II of the book, titled “Safeguarding our national interests”, he looks back at episodes such as the Michael Fay caning case and the death sentence of Filipino maid Flor Contemplacion and their impact on Singapore’s relations with the countries involved. He also explains the fundamentals which shaped Singapore’s responses to actions by other countries and how Singapore successfully resolved these disputes amicably through bilateral negotiations or third-party settlement.
In Part III of the book, “Managing bilateral relations with Malaysia, Indonesia and China”, Prof Jayakumar gives intimate insights into how Singapore has conducted its relations with these countries over the years.
This book includes a 24-page photo section which depicts Prof Jayakumar’s multi-faceted career and moments from his personal life.
Dr Tony Tan, Chairman of SPH and the event’s Guest-of-Honour, said: “When Prof Jayakumar first showed me the draft of his writing project, I encouraged him to publish it as a book. His accounts are rich with valuable lessons and bring to life the real world of diplomacy. I felt they deserved to be read by a wider audience, beyond those working in foreign affairs and the civil service. Indeed, I am pleased that this book is now a reality, published by Straits Times Press, the book publishing arm of Singapore Press Holdings.”
He added, ““Diplomacy – A Singapore Experience” is a book that captures the essence of Prof Jayakumar’s ten years as Foreign Minister as well as his earlier service in various other roles. His reflections on the challenges and vulnerabilities faced by Singapore in its four decades of independence will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers, such as the members of the diplomatic corps, corporate business leaders and students.”
Ms Shirley Hew, Executive Director of STP, said: “This is STP’s first collaboration with Professor Jayakumar and we are honoured to have worked with him. This is a unique publication that offers significant insights into our government’s foreign affairs policies and will be a valuable addition to the existing annals about Singapore history and politics.”
Prof Jayakumar has pledged all royalties from the sale of “Diplomacy – A Singapore Experience” to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ adopted charity, the Handicaps Welfare Association.
“Diplomacy – A Singapore Experience” is available at leading bookstores at $34.75 (GST inclusive). Copies may be ordered from May (63198347, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jasmine (63198341, email@example.com). The book can also be ordered from the Straits Times Press Online Bookstore at: www.stpressbooks.com.sg from 9 June.