George Yeo on Bonsai, Banyan and the Tao

By Karen Yap


Dive into the captivating world of George Yeo Yong Boon, a prominent figure in Singaporean politics, through the pages of this remarkable book. Inside, you’ll discover a treasure trove of his insightful speeches and writings, meticulously curated by Asad Latif and Lee Huay Leng in close collaboration with Yeo himself.

What sets this book apart is its intimate glimpse into Yeo’s personal life, featuring evocative photographs and a rare diary chronicling his transformative journey to his ancestral village in Chaozhou, China, back in 1983—a journey that left a lasting imprint on his perspective.

Throughout this expansive tome, you’ll find a diverse array of content, from Yeo’s student days at Cambridge University, where he penned thought-provoking articles for the Cambridge University Malaysia-Singapore Association, to reflections on significant moments in his political career.

But this book isn’t just about Yeo’s personal experiences; it delves into pressing global issues. With sections like “Singapore and Politics,” “Culture and Values,” “Media and Social Media,” and the extensive “Geopolitics,” totalling around 230 pages, Yeo meticulously examines the changing world around us.

As you navigate the pages, you’ll witness Yeo’s consistent, clear, and occasionally controversial thinking, all deeply rooted in his profound grasp of history. His unique perspective on Singapore’s relationship with China, comparing it to a bonsai, adds a fascinating layer to his narrative. Yeo’s powerful 1991 speech advocating the need to ‘prune the banyan tree’ offers profound insights into governance, highlighting the importance of maintaining balance and openness in society.

And finally, the Tao, the subtle thread that weaves together Yeo’s diverse interests, infusing unity into his multifaceted persona. This book isn’t just a collection of words; it’s a journey through the mind of a visionary leader, a true explorer of ideas, and a seeker of solutions in a rapidly evolving world.

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