Says Ban Is 3rd “Giant of Asia,” Ban Denies Making
August 12 -- Two days after author Tom Plate
that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon would be the subject of the
third book in his “Giants of Asia” series, Ban's spokesman on
Thursday told Inner City Press Ban has not made any commitment to
Plate or anyone else. Video here,
from Minute 15:33.
were made at a book party for the first in the series, about
Singapore's founder Lee Kuan Yew. Plate said that the second would be
about Mahathir of Malaysia and the third would be about “someone
who is in the room, who is Secretary General, whose name I will not
opening presentation, Plate said that “Ban Ki-moon confirms that
candidate [for UN Secretary General in 2006] withdrew,
opening the field even more” for Ban.
Plate is or
was a journalist, strangely requests were made just before the book
party that no Press be present. It was too late, invitations had been
event was witnessed, hence the follow up question
Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky after Thursday's
backtracking. From the UN's
transcript of its August 12 noon
Press: yesterday, I’d asked you about this Giants of Asia series and
the Secretary-General being the third subject of it. You
said, “I’ll look into it.” Have you? And is he going to do
it? And how much time will it take? And what’s the benefit to the
What I can tell you is that the Secretary-General has made no
commitment to Mr. [Tom] Plate, or indeed to anyone else, with regard
to a book.
Mr. Plate said on Monday that he had, and I’ve talked to some
other senior UN officials who have said he is the third one in the
series, so I guess is there some… has there been some change?
UN's Ban, Tom Plate's "Giants of Asia" and commitment not shown
Well, I can tell you that the Secretary-General has made no
commitment to Mr. Plate or indeed to anyone else.
Okay, when was the last time he saw Mr. Plate?
What’s that got to do with it?
Because I, well…
That’s got nothing to do with it, Matthew. I can tell you that
the Secretary-General has made no commitment to Mr. Plate or indeed
anyone else. Okay.
commitment a commitment? Watch this site.
* * *
To Be 3rd "Giant of Asia" by Tom Plate, Lee Kuan Yew's Confidante on
Sri Lankan "Ethnic Cleansing"
Russell Lee, Exclusive
August 11 -- Starting with a 200 page book of “Conversations
with Lee Kuan Yew,” the get-things-done founder of modern
Singapore, American author Tom Plate is engaged in a Giants of Asia
trilogy. The next in the series is Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia.
The third Giant of Asia, Plate said at a VIP book party on August 10,
will be UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
audience including the Permanent Representatives to the UN of
Vietnam, Costa Rica, The Netherlands and of course Singapore, which
hosted to event, that in his experience Asian leaders are more
concerned about community rights than individual or human rights.
rhetorically, do you want to solve the problem of drug gangs in Los
Angeles? Give Lee Kuan Yew $10 billion, and look away for 18 months.
Come back and it will be solved.
audience wondered what might happen during those 18 months, from the
leader who instituted caning for the mis disposal or even chewing of
gum. A professor in the audience asked about the balance between
development and human rights.
that while to the “Western” mind, publicly punishing the wrong
person in order to send a message to others might violate due
process, to Lee Kuan Yew and presumably the other Giants of Asia, the
calculus is not so simple.
mis-punishment helps the community
at large, it might on balance be a good thing, Plate said.
invited without conditions to the event but then asked to not mention
at least one of the attendees, asked Plate if he would consider
interviewing some of the more openly authoritarian strong men of
Asia, including Than Shwe of Myanmar and Kim Jong-Il of the
Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
if asked to go to Pyongyang and given access to Kim Jong-Il, he would
be on the next plane. He said that he doubted Than Shwe, at 76, could
endure the type of multi-day interview process which he engaged in
with Lee Kuan Yew.
how a sitting Secretary General, embroiled in a management scandal
triggered most recently by the damning End of Assignment Report of
outgoing lead UN investigator Inga Britt Ahlenius, will have time to
sit for this Giants of Asia profile.
the concerns, there seem to have been a belated request
not to publicize the identity of Plate's third Giant of Asia until
after Mr. Ban's second term is more secure. But, one skeptic in the
audience asked, is the problem here really the publicity or the vanity
UN's Ban Depicted in Sri Lanka: Giant of Asia?
first heard of Plate's book when a section about Sri Lanka was
circulated, largely by the Tamil diaspora. Lee Kwan Yew is quoted on
page 55 saying the
is Sri Lanka. It is not a happy, united country. Yes, they [the
majority Sinhalese government] have beaten the Tamil Tigers this
time, but the Sinhalese who are less capable are putting down a
minority of Jaffna Tamils who are more capable. They were squeezing
them out. That's why the Tamils rebelled. But I do not see them
ethnic cleansing all two million plus Jaffna Tamils. The Jaffna
Tamils have been in Sri Lanka as long as the Sinhalese...[referring
to Sri Lanka's president Mahinda Rajapaksa] 'I've read his speeches
and I knew he was a Sinhalese extremist. I cannot change his mind.'”
about this section of the book, and said that it was difficult to
keep it in. Afterward, Inner City Press asked Plate to explain: who
had wanted the section to come out? Of all that he said Tuesday
night, this was the only time that Plate asked to go off the record.
We will respect that, just as we'll respect the request to omit the
presence of at least one individual and entourage.
to the UN, its Permanent Representative Vanu Gopala Menon,
his Deputy, wife and staff are to be commended for hosting such an
eclectic crowd, and serving afterward such good food, including the
Indian paratha bread renamed roti --
and tinged with coconut -- when
it arrived in Lee Kuan Yew's giant laboratory in one of the smallest
advocates among the attendees, including the son of the plaintiff in
a recent free speech case in the U.S. Supreme Court. Some wondered at
the irony of Ban Ki-moon, who long delayed naming, and still has not
begun, a panel about accountability for civilian deaths in Sri Lanka
in 2009, choosing as his conversational biographer the writer who
coaxed the above quoted analysis of ethnic cleansing and Sinhalese
extremism in Sri Lanka, to the level of the president.
will have more
on this and on the rest of Plate's illuminating talk, including his
and Lee Kuan Yew's views of the UN and the ways in which its
Secretary General are elected and, at times, re-elected. The
interplay of Ban's drive for re-election and his participation as
Plate's third “Giant of Asia” will also be explored.