Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of independent Singapore died this morning, aged 91.

by fulltimestudent 6 Replies latest social current

  • fulltimestudent
  • fulltimestudent

    I chose cctv-america for the irony.

    Some argue that the Brits 'parachuted' LKY into Singapore to help them (the Brits) in their military struggle with Malaysian communists. (known as the Malaya emergency), it is now an almost forgotten sector of the cold war.


    Australian Avro Lincoln bomber dropping 500lb bombs on

    communist rebels in the Malayan jungle (c. 1950)

    Whether that is true or not true, LKY jailed lots of left wingers in his first years in office. It didn't stop the insurrection though,

    The Wikipedia entry comments:

    The Malayan Emergency (Malay: Darurat) was a Malayan guerrilla war fought betweenCommonwealth armed forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA), the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party (MCP), from 1948–60.
    The Malayan Emergency was the colonial government's term for the conflict. The MNLA termed it the Anti-British National Liberation War.[2] The rubber plantations and tin mining industries had pushed for the use of the term "emergency" since their losses would not have been covered by Lloyd's insurers if it had been termed a "war".[3]
    Despite the communists' defeat in 1960, communist leader Chin Peng renewed the insurgency in 1967; it lasted until 1989, and became known as the Communist Insurgency War (Second Malayan Emergency). Although Australian and British armed forces had fully withdrawn from Malaya (by then known as Peninsular Malaysia) years earlier, the insurgency still failed.

    So where's the irony? Simply that LKY's People's Action Party and its program for building Singapore to its present prosperity became a model for Deng Xiaoping's program in The People's Republic of China, once the Communist Party of China rejected Mao Zedong's socialist policies.

    Lee's PAP and Deng's CPC are like peas in a pod.

  • fulltimestudent

    The British occupation left the ordinary Singaporean as poor as they had been. Under Lee and his successors, his People's Action Party transformed Singapore by using a variety of state-owned enterprises to finance government services and to keep taxes low. The PAP has formed all governments in Singapore since independence.

    During his long term in office Lee made 27 visits to China.

    In 1978 Deng made a visit to Singapore

    and met Lee, both apparently made a deep impression on each other.

    and in 2010, Lee was present at the unveiling of a memorial to Deng

    along with Xi Jinping, the current President of China.

  • zeb

    He ran a very tight ship but the streets of Singapore are safe to walk.

    Vehicle theft is almost zero. Unlike my home city of Perth Australia which is the tragic opposite.

    Rest in peace Mr Lee.

  • prologos
    A job well done, a life well lived. acclaims.
  • Bungi Bill
    Bungi Bill

    He ran a very tight ship but the streets of Singapore are safe to walk.

    It is almost hard now to credit, but pre-independence, Singapore has a serious gang problem. However, Lee Kuan Yew quickly put a stop to that:

    - admittedly, by using drastic measures deeply disapproved of by Human Rights advocates and such!

    If ever there was a classic example of the "Benevolent Despot", it would have to be Lee Kuan Yew.


  • fulltimestudent

    Some more thoughts on Lee Kuan Yew.

    1. Toughness.

    Talking about himself, he once said in 1994:

    "Nobody doubts that if you take me on, I will put on knuckle-dusters and catch you in a cul-de-sac," he said. "If you think you can hurt me more than I can hurt you, try."

    A friend of mine (an Australian) was once elected by his university compatriots to negotiate with the SG government for a wage rise (they did not get it). In the end he had to meet with LKY personally and described it as the scariest experience of his life:

    A quote from a CBC NEWS Analysis: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/visionary-perhaps-but-singapore-s-lee-kuan-yew-was-not-democracy-s-friend-1.3008047

    In Singapore, Lee locked up opponents without trial, and used the courts to bankrupt critics and defamation suits to bully the international press into silence.

    In 1994, the New York Times issued a grovelling apology to avoid colossal damages after suggesting that the Lee family was one of Asia's political dynasties.

    Lee had insisted that his son became prime minister, which he is still, and his daughter-in-law head of Singapore's sovereign wealth fund not through nepotism, but because they just happened to be the best candidates.

    Publications that do not have local offices to sue have been braver, describing Singapore as "Disneyland with the death penalty" and "Pyongyang with broadband."

    But the final result can only be described as good. Singapore is prosperous, with GDP per capita in the top 5 in the world, and a well-educated citizenry. There are two universities in the top 50 list, and Singapore is considered a leader in innovation.

    The Brits left colonial Singapore in a poverty-stricken condition. Lee has left it prosperous.

    The social engineering programs of his government has been derided by the west, but has produced an ethnically diverse population that is however, homogenous and law-abiding, as Bungi Bill has pointed out. The streets of Australian cities are not particularly safe for a woman to walk in at night, but the streets of Singapore are safe for women to be out alone.

    Lee was also pragmatic.

    As Deng said, "A cat's color is unimportant, what you want a cat to do is to catch mice." (i.e get results). Both Singapore and China, are run on that operating principle.

    He was an anti-communist, but the structures of his People's Action Party ( as well as the Communist Party of China which is almost identical) are both based on Lenin's Vanguard Party as vehicles to gain power, stay in power and decide everything*.

    He could be biting in assessment, once informing Australians that they risked becoming, "The poor white trash of Asia."

    *that needs some explaining for the western mind, when decisions are to be made, the party apparatus calls in people with experience and who advocate different views to discuss the options, they then attempt to make the best possible decision. Does that consensus model work better than the western adversarial system (government versus opposition). Keep watching the rise of mChina to find out.

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