New book on Yusof Ishak launched

New book on Yusof Ishak launched

Biography contains stories, personal details of first president’s youth and his time in office

As a young boy, Mr Yusof Ishak wanted to be a judge. But his family could not afford to send him to England to study law.

So he imagined becoming a raja, or king, instead, his son Imran Yusof recalls in a new book on his father, who became Singapore’s head of state and its first president.

In both roles, he felt he could ensure justice, said Dr Imran, who works at a hospital in Brunei. “He was concerned about justice. A judge metes out justice, likewise a raja should be someone who is in charge and who puts things right.”

He added: “(My father) felt that the Malay leaders of the time were dissociated from common people.”

This story and other deeply personal details of Mr Yusof’s life are featured in a 126-page coffee-table book by ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute deputy director Ooi Kee Beng.


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