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S. Rajaratnam - Singapore's Son and Poet Warrior (1915-2006)

As a journalist, Mr S. Rajaratnam worked for notable local publications including the Malayan Tribune (1948) and the Singapore Standard (1950-1954). From 1954 to 1959, Mr Rajaratnam was an editorial staff of The Straits Times.

Mr Rajaratnam's literary prowess and his knack for ideas and concepts proved to be potent political tools when he became a founder-member of the People's Action Party (PAP). He was very much the party's ideologue and was pivotal in crafting the party's political position on issues that ranged from culture and education to foreign policy.1 A charismatic speaker and a man imbued with personal grace, Mr Rajaratnam's speeches and writings resonated with his audiences and galvanised the support of many. In 1959, Mr Rajaratnam was elected to the Singapore Legislative Assembly for the Kampong Glam Constituency and appointed as the Minister of Culture for the years 1959 to 1965.2

Upon Singapore's independence as a sovereign nation-state on 9 August 1965, Mr Rajaratnam was appointed as Minister for Foreign Affairs. At ASEAN meetings and in United Nations chambers, Mr Rajaratnam fought tirelessly to uphold the principle of national sovereignty so crucial to Singapore's survival as a small nation.3 Even though Singapore was a small, poor, military weak and young country, Mr Rajaratnam made its presence felt in the world arena. During his tenure as the Minister for Foreign Affairs (1965 - 1980), Mr Rajaratnam protected Singapore's interests and extended its influence within the region and beyond.4 An inspiration to all Singaporeans, Mr Rajaratnam's luminous legacy continues to live on through his writings and achievements.

1 PEOPLE'S ACTION PARTY/PETIR Organ of the People's Action Party 4 January 1960 - 14 November 1960, Vol III No. 12 Saturday, May 21, 1960, "Our Cultural Heritage", Microfilm No. NL 9312

  PEOPLE'S ACTION PARTY/PETIR Organ of the People's Action Party January 1961 - November 1964, Vol 5 No. 3, Thursday, 31st May, 1962, "Three Approaches to Politics", Microfilm No. NL 9312

2 MINISTRY OF INFORMATION, COMMUNICATION AND THE ARTS/Document No. lky19590614, "Text of a Film Script Read Out By The Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, on Singapore's Ministers" 14/06/1959

3 MINISTRY OF CULTURE/Document No. SR19770706, "Speech by Mr S Rajaratnam, Minister for Foreign Affairs, at the Opening Session of the Tenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting Held at the Shangri-La Hotel on Wednesday, 6th July 77" 6/7/1977, Microfilm No. NAS000556/1

  MINISTRY OF CULTURE/Document No. SR19790628, "Statement Delivered by the Leader of the Singapore Delegation, Mr S Rajaratnam, Minister for Foreign Affairs at the Twelfth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Bali on Thursday, 28th June 1979" 28/06/1979 Microfilm No. NAS000556/4

4 MINISTRY OF CULTURE/Document No. SR19790720, "Speech by Mr S Rajaratnam, Minister for Foreign Affairs, at United Nations Meeting on Refugees and Displaced Persons in Southeast Asia, Geneva, 20 July 1979" 20/07/1979 Microfilm No. NAS000556/4

  MINISTRY OF CULTURE/Document No. SR19790924, "Speech by Mr S Rajaratnam, Minister for Foreign Affairs, at the 34th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on 24th September 1979" 24/09/1979 Microfilm No. NAS000556/4 Click here to listen