Memoirs of a Migrant

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As a founder member of the Labour Party of Singapore in 1948, the Minister for Communications and Works in two Labour Front governments from 1955 to 1959, Principal of St. Andrew’s Secondary School from 1963 to 1974, and a leader in the social service sector, the late Mr Francis Thomas arguably did as much as any one person – and more than most – to shape the destiny of Singapore.

Above all, it was his honesty and integrity (‘the only honest man in the Labour Front’ was Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s description of him in 1958), and his compassion and care for others, that made him stand out from the crowd and led many to remember him with deep admiration and affection.

His memoirs are a fascinating story of one man’s active, sometimes dangerous and at times major role in the dramatic history of Singapore. It spans the British colonial period; the Japanese occupation; the post-war efforts of democratic organisations for self-government; and the tumultuous years of the two Labour Front governments preceding the take-over of power by the People’s Action Party in the general elections of 1959.

This new edition of Memoirs of a Migrant includes unpublished personal photographs as well as letters, essays and talks given by Thomas. It also has tributes to him by friends after his passing. These additional materials paint a picture of a man fully engaged with community issues and energetically focused on bringing out the best in people and in shaping a robust and just society.

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Memoirs of a Migrant

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Francis Thomas