ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute is proud to launch this pictorial volume on Yusof Ishak, which consists of a biography of the man and a large collection of pictures depicting his eventful life.
Yusof Ishak, the first president of Singapore, was very much a child of his times. Being in the thick of things, he had a pioneering role in many aspects of late colonialism and in the early nation building process in Singapore. Of his generation of young and gifted men and women, few would achieve the profound impact that he came to have on his society and country. It is often forgotten today that he was the man who established the highly influential Malay-language newspaper, Utusan Melayu.
His principles as a journalist, however, did not allow him to continue running the newspaper for too long after independence came to the Federation of Malaya. Yusof Ishak’s good ties with the newspaper’s lawyer, Lee Kuan Yew, and the mutual respect these two men had for each other saw him rising to become the Head of State of Singapore for three terms, first as Yang di-Pertuan Negara in 1959, and then for two terms as President of an independent republic in 1965. Always by his side was his charming and capable wife, Noor Aishah. His life was a hectic and meaningful one, and remains an inspiration for future generations of Singaporeans and Southeast Asians.
Dr Ooi Kee Beng, author of Yusof Ishak: A Man of Many Firsts, is the Deputy Director of ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore. His book, The Reluctant Politician: Tun Dr Ismail and His Time (2006) won the “Award of Excellence for Best Writing Published in Book Form on Any Aspect of Asia (Non-Fiction)” at the Asian Publishing Convention Awards 2008, while Continent, Coast, Ocean: Dynamics of Regionalism in Eastern Asia (Ed., 2007), was named “Top Academic Work” in 2008 by the ASEAN Book Publishers Association (ABPA).