lives & times of hrh


By Herman Ronald Hochstadt

cover image of lives & times of hrh

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"We came into the public service ... at a time when there were only two choices – do or die." – hrh

Herman Hochstadt, or hrh as he is better known, joined the civil service in 1959 and spent three years as Secretary to Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew between 1962 and 1965, a critical period in Singapore's modern history. hrh had an unusual ability to inspire those working for him, and his signature wit and charm are on display here, in the ways he weaves together stories of his career and some of the key moments of Singapore's development.

He begins with his family's history in Singapore, including that of his grandfather, John Hochstadt, who founded Singapore Casket Company. He then continues through his childhood and an education that was interrupted by the Japanese Occupation, before moving on to his working life.

hrh has held many positions across the public and private sectors, such as Acting Director of Manpower of the Ministry of Interior & Defence when Singapore had to build its armed forces from scratch. He was instrumental in many pivotal moments in modern Singapore's history, including being the Administrative Secretary of the delegation to Singapore's 1965 admission to the United Nations. He went on to be the Permanent Secretary in the Ministries of Communications, Education, Finance and Law, and later was high commissioner to several African nations.

Full of warmth and humour, lives & times of hrh traces a life dedicated to public service in Singapore, from its birth as the internally self-governing state of Singapore through its evolution to the Republic of Singapore.

lives & times of hrh