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Ex-diplomat’s memoirs launched

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After gaining independence from the British, one of the early initiatives of the then Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was to plant tree saplings.

“He did not think of constructing big buildings. He started planting trees, as that was the foundation for the kind of Singapore the founding fathers aspired for. Over a million trees were planted,” recalled K. Kesavapany, who was Singapore’s High Commissioner to Malaysia from 1997 to 2002.

Speaking at an event to launch his biography, From Estate to Embassy: Memoirs of an Ambassador, at an event organised by the Madras Book Club, he recalled those vandalising trees would get punished and be fined. “Initially, it was a failure. Then a massive campaign was launched. We even brought in religious organisations and went to schools. Even today, the trees are pruned, watered and cared for,” he said.

The book, co-authored with Anitha Devi Pillai, was released by K.S. Sankaran of Makino Asia, Singapore, and Makino, India. First copies of the book were received by Pong Kok Tian, Consul General, Consulate General of the Republic of Singapore in Chennai, and V. Suryanarayanan, founding director, Centre for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Madras.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 5:55:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/from-estate-to-embassy-memoirs-of-an-ambassador/article30482077.ece

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