“Soft authoritarian” or not, Lee Kuan Yew, now 88, remains a figure of great interest in Asia.  “Conversations with Lee Kuan Yew,” a 2010 book by Tom Plate, founder of Asia Media, was recently honored at a major Asian book festival as the English-language book of the year. The occasion was the annual BookFest’s People’s Choice competition, organized by the Popular Book Company of Malaysia and by Sin Chew Media Corporation. The 211-page set of pointed conversations between Singapore’s founding prime minister and the Los Angeles-based columnist, who is Loyola Marymount University’s Distinguished Scholar of Asian and Pacific Studies, was an immediate bestseller upon publication in May 2010, and it remained on the authoritative Straits Times bestseller list for more than 40 weeks. The book has also been translated into bahasa for the Malaysian market and into Chinese for the various Chinese markets. The winners of the 4th annual contest, the results of reader voting, were announced at the Suntech International Convention Center in Singapore and was accepted by top Marshall Cavendish Editor Violet Phoon. Said author Plate from Los Angeles: “I’m not entirely sure if the readers were voting for me, or for Lee Kuan Yew.  Either way, I have no complaints.”


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