We came into the public service ... at a time when there were only two choices - do or die." - hrhHerman Hochstadt, or hrh as he is better known, joined the civil service in 1959, moving to the position of secretary to Lee Kuan Yew's Prime Minister's Office. 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 the Singapore Casket Company.
He then continues through his childhood and an education part of which coincided with the Japanese occupation, before moving on to his working life. Hochstadt has held many positions across the public and private sectors, such as acting director of manpower of the Ministry of 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 logistics coordinator of the delegation to Singapore's 1965 admission to the United Nations.
During his later career, he was high commissioner to several Commonwealth African nations. Full of warmth and humour, the lives and times of hrh traces a life dedicated to public service in Singapore, from its time as a crown colony through its evolution to the Republic of Singapore.