John Harding’s book, Escape from Paradise – Paperback and Kindle Versions


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Now, available in Kindle and Paperback! Free Kindle if you purchase Paperback. After buying Paperback, go for the free Kindle!

It took me two and a half evenings to complete your un-put-downable book…it is a unique contribution to the appreciation of a life in Singapore. Thank you for having written it. C. V. Devan Nair, former President of Singapore.

Bought the book from Select this weekend and can’t put it down! It’s a great read! And so nostalgic for me—the good old days! Glen Goei, writer and director of the Miramax film That’s the Way I Like It and who played the title role opposite Anthony Hopkins in the London production of M. Butterfly. Mr. Goei’s latest film is The Blue Mansion – Click for the trailer!

It is a remarkable story and so full of intrigue that it reads at times like fiction.Jonathan Burnham, Editor in Chief & President, Talk Miramax Books.

“It’s quite a story The legendary Alice Mayhew, Vice-President & Editorial Director, Simon & Schuster.

This book out-Dallas, Dallas. No one has written so well of the other side of paradise,Francis T. Seow, former Solicitor General of Singapore

ThunderBall Films is successfully putting together the movie production of Escape from Paradise and has received a new LOI (Letter of Intent) from actress Bai Ling who starred with Richard Gere in the film Red Cross.

This includes a commitment from a CPA firm who does tax credit financing in Ireland, a possible location to film, as part of the package needed for investors – along with the CPA firm’s commitment to apply for and finance the tax credits if ThunderBall does shoot in Ireland and what portion of the budget they would provide.
For inquiries, please contact John Harding at jbharding@gmail.com.

Escape from Paradise – the Promotional Trailer

WikiLeaks: LEE KUAN YEW ON BURMA’S “STUPID” GENERALS AND THE “GAMBLER” CHEN SHUI-BIAN

 

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DE RUEHGP #1932/01 2920841
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FM AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4263
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1998
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1842
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4105
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5723
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 1359
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 SINGAPORE 001932 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/17/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV ECON CH TW BM SN
SUBJECT: LEE KUAN YEW ON BURMA'S "STUPID" GENERALS AND THE 
"GAMBLER" CHEN SHUI-BIAN 

Classified By: Ambassador Patricia L. Herbold. Reasons 1.4(b)(d) 

1. (C) Summary: ASEAN should not have admitted Burma, 
Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam into the organization in the 
1990's, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew told visiting EAP DAS 
Christensen and the Ambassador October 16. Expressing his 
scorn for Burma's leaders, MM Lee called them "dense" and 
"stupid." After discussing China's influence over Burma, he 
suggested that Indonesian President Yudhoyono, as a former 
general, could potentially be an interlocutor with the 
regime. Turning to cross-Strait relations, MM Lee 
characterized President Chen Shui-bian as a "gambler" who was 
ready to "go for broke" on independence. He thought that 
Japan might be willing to speak out publicly to constrain 
Taiwan now that Yasuo Fukuda was prime minister. China's 
strategy for Southeast Asia was simple -- "come grow with me" 
because China's rise is inevitable. MM Lee urged the United 
States to pursue more Free Trade Agreements to give the 
region options besides China. End Summary. 

ASEAN's Problematic Newer Members 
--------------------------------- 

2. (C) Regional stability will be enhanced the more ASEAN is 
able to "get its act together," Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew 
told visiting EAP DAS Christensen and the Ambassador during 
an October 16 meeting. However, ASEAN should not have 
admitted Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam as members in the 
1990's, Lee argued. The older members of ASEAN shared common 
values and an antipathy to Communism. Those values had been 
"muddied" by the new members, and their economic and social 
problems made it doubtful they would ever behave like the 
older ASEAN members. 

3. (C) MM Lee was most optimistic about Vietnam. He 
characterized the Vietnamese as "bright, fast learners" who 
will contribute to ASEAN's development. Vietnam also does 
not want to see China's influence in Southeast Asia become 
too great. Cambodia has not recovered yet from its difficult 
history and the political system is too personalized around 
Prime Minister Hun Sen. MM Lee dismissed Laos as an outpost 
for China, saying Laos reports back to China on theQproceedings from all ASEAN 
meetings. 

Burma's Generals: "Dense" and "Stupid" 
-------------------------------------- 

4. (C) Turning to Burma, MM Lee expressed his scorn for the 
regime's leadership. He said he had given up on them a 
decade ago, called them "dense" and "stupid" and said they 
had "mismanaged" the country's great natural resources. He 
asserted that China had the greatest influence over the 
regime and had heavily penetrated the Burmese economy. China 
was worried that the country could "blow up" which would 
endanger its significant investments, pipelines, and the 
approximately two million Chinese estimated to be working in 
the country. India was worried about China's influence in 
Burma and was engaged with the regime in an attempt to 
minimize China's influence. India lacked China's finer grasp 
of how Burma worked, however. 

Resolving the Crisis in Burma 
----------------------------- 

5. (C) MM Lee thought one possible solution to the crisis in 
Burma would be for a group of younger military officers who 
were less "obtuse" to step forward and recognize that the 
current situation was untenable. They could share power with 
the democracy activists, although probably not with Aung San 
Suu Kyi, who was anathema to the military. It would be a 
long process. He said that Burma's ambassador in Singapore 
had told MFA that Burma could "survive any sanctions" due to 
its natural resources. Lee said dealing with the regime was 
like "talking to dead people." 

SBY as Envoy? 
------------- 

6. (C) Asked about the possibility of ASEAN naming a Burma 
envoy, MM Lee said an envoy could not be from Singapore, 
because Singapore is seen as too close to the United States. 
He suggested that Indonesian President Yudhoyono could 
potentially be an interlocutor. As a former general, SBY 

SINGAPORE 00001932 002 OF 003 


might be able to meet with Senior General Than Shwe and get 
him to listen. Furthermore, SBY is "keen to play the role of 
peacemaker," but the challenge would be getting someone who 
is not too close to the United States to ask him to do it. 
MM Lee said that Vietnam was a possibility. 

Chen Shui-bian: The Gambler 
--------------------------- 

7. (C) MM Lee told DAS Christensen his September 11 speech to 
the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council set the right "balance" and 
made it clear to both sides where the United States stands. 
He criticized President Chen Shui-bian for being a "gambler." 
Chen had discredited himself with his corruption scandals 
and the only card he had left was promoting Taiwan 
independence; with nothing left to lose, Chen was ready to 
"go for broke." MM Lee asserted that Chen feared a 
post-election criminal investigation regardless of whether 
the KMT or DPP won and had to "consolidate his position." 
Chen wanted to secure his legacy and avoid becoming a mere 
"footnote" in Taiwan history. 

8. (C) Lee said he had told Frank Hsieh and Su Tseng-chang in 
separate meetings earlier this year that Taiwan would gain 
nothing from pursuing independence and would pay a great cost 
if it did. They responded that if Taiwan did nothing, it 
would be reunified with the mainland; they did not want to be 
a part of the PRC under any circumstances. Lee said he 
understood their negative history with the KMT but found 
their "antipathy, hatred, and revulsion" toward China to be 
"unbelievable." 

A Role for Japan 
---------------- 

9. (C) Japan should speak out to restrain Taiwan from making 
provocative moves towards independence, MM Lee said. He 
asked what Japan had agreed to do in response to the proposed 
referendum on joining the UN under the name Taiwan. DAS 
Christensen noted that Japan has expressed its opposition 
privately with President Chen, but did not agree to make any 
public statements opposing the referendum. MM Lee suggested 
that Japan might be willing to make a public statement now 
with Yasuo Fukuda serving as prime minister. Fukuda has 
close ties to the KMT and his father even risked China's ire 
to attend former President Chiang Ching-kuo's funeral in 
1988, according to Lee. 

Dealing with a Rising China 
--------------------------- 

10. (C) The more fundamental issue was how to deal with a 
rising China, MM Lee observed. The intellectual resources of 
the United States were being "sucked away" by the problems in 
the Middle East, making it difficult for the United States to 
focus on China. Over the next several decades, China wants 
to concentrate on its internal economic development and to 
avoid a conflict over Taiwan, Lee averred. However, if 
Taiwan declared independence, China would have no choice but 
to respond with force because its leaders have left 
themselves no "loopholes." China hopes that the Taiwan issue 
will be resolved on its own over the next fifty years when 
Taiwan's economy becomes "totally embedded" into China. He 
pointed to the case of Hong Kong, where the economy has been 
booming in recent years due to its greater access to China's 
market and the influx of tourists from the PRC. 

ASEAN and China 
--------------- 

11. (C) China's strategy for Southeast Asia was fairly 
simple, MM Lee claimed. China tells the region, "come grow 
with me." At the same time, China's leaders want to convey 
the impression that China's rise is inevitable and that 
countries will need to decide if they want to be China's 
friend or foe when it "arrives." China is also willing to 
calibrate its engagement to get what it wants or express its 
displeasure. In the case of Singapore, China took "great 
umbrage" over then-Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's 
July 2004 visit to Taiwan. China froze bilateral talks, and 
the proposed bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has not 
progressed. However, China did not "squeeze" any of 
Singapore's investors and China remains the largest 

SINGAPORE 00001932 003 OF 003 


destination for Singapore's FDI. MM Lee urged the United 
States to pursue more FTAs with ASEAN, or at least key 
members of ASEAN, which would give the region more options. 
He said Malaysia's unwillingness to bend on its "bumiputera" 
policy had been an impediment to a U.S.-Malaysia FTA. 

12. (U) DAS Christensen has cleared this message. 

 

 

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