By Chris Teh
Being a diplomat is not an easy job, said veteran diplomat K. Kesavapany, who was in Ipoh recently to promote his book titled, “From Estate to Embassy: Memories of an Ambassador.”
Kesavapany who received his early education at Anderson School, Ipoh was a graduate of University Malaya, Singapore (the forerunner of National University of Singapore).
His talk, “The Perak Connection” organised by Perak Academy on Friday, January 17 at the Royal Ipoh Club, saw Kesavapany sharing his life experiences with his audience.
“I was with the Singapore Ministry of Labour for five years,” Kesavapany recalled. “Initially, I thought that wasn’t a good offer since I was working outside of Malaysia. But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.”
He went on to serve as Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva and subsequently, as Singapore’s High Commissioner to Malaysia from 1997 till 2002. After that, he was the Director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore until 2012.
“I was chosen to be the official diplomat for Singapore by none other than the late Lee Kuan Yew himself,” said Kesavapany. “This was because I speak multiple languages and understand different cultures and people.”
“In Singapore, no races are given special privileges,” he stated. “Parents are free to decide for their children what language they wish to learn.”
“English is fast becoming a language of the future,” Kesavapany added.
Speaking on his perspective about Perak, he felt positive that the state is a worthwhile place for Singaporeans to visit and to get acquainted with.
“Ipoh and Taiping are places for peace and positivity,” he said. “If these two places can be turned into positive hollows, by restoring the Botanical Gardens in Taiping into its pristine state, for example, it can be recognised as a UNESCO heritage site. I’ll definitely encourage Singaporeans to invest in both places.”
“From Estate to Embassy: Memories of an Ambassador” is available at Perak Academy’s office: 7-A, Jalan Tun Sambanthan (opposite Ipoh Padang) or call at 05 241 3742. The book is priced at RM50 apiece.