SINGAPORE - Former Wildlife Reserves Singapore chief Bernard Harrison is revealing all in his new biography, Naked Ape, Naked Boss. The book cover sports a picture of him covered only by a strategically placed leaf.
In the book written by his friend of 36 years, Dr Kirpal Singh, associate professor of English literature at Singapore Management University, Mr Harrison talks about taking orang utans to meet Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor at the Raffles Hotel in 1993; the failure of his first two marriages; and why he resigned as CEO of Wildlife Reserves Singapore in 2002, following a strained relationship with then group chairman Kwa Soon Bee.
Mr Harrison receives no fee or royalties for Naked Ape, Naked Boss, but had final say over what went in the book. He says: "I think it's an easy, very light read and is juicy in parts. The sex life is one thing probably women will be interested in and why I left the zoo, how I kind of had a problem with my boss, would be what a lot of the zoo people would be interested in.
"I don't have a problem being honest and I think that's one of my traits, I don't mask too many things. Even in my management style, I'm a direct, honest person."
The 224-page book, which retails at $24.30 before GST, will be launched this evening at The Arts House. Publisher Marshall Cavendish Editions has printed 3,000 copies, but says it will print more if there is advance reader interest.
Mr Harrison, 62, was with the zoo for almost 30 years and helped conceive and design the Night Safari - the first of its kind when launched in 1994 - before resigning in 2002 as chief executive officer of the newly formed Wildlife Reserves Singapore group.
The group was formed in 2000 to oversee the zoo, the Jurong BirdPark and the Night Safari. He says the clash between his working style and the "civil service manual" led to his resignation after only two years in the top post.