The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew

Jes 4 Comments

No matter how much you hate the government and Singapore's politics, you can't deny that Mr Lee Kuan Yew was a great man who fought his whole life for our country. He deserved my respect and admiration for sacrificing whole heartedly to serve Singaporeans and I am sure he inspired many to join politics because of that.
Looked how developed we become in just 50 years! (Source: wikipedia)
All these insights because I just finished the book on The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew. The book talked about how he brought about independence from 1927 and the stories that inspired his every decision. I also got to know him better as a person, albeit a bit too late.

Some interesting details on why he sought to be free from colonial and communist rules:

1) Most British were only concerned with top jobs and high pays and never in the advancement of their colonies
2) Racial prejudice where Chinese and non-British were considered mud-blood and were looked down in sports, housing and extra curriculum activities
3) The Malays were also given priorities in Singapore and Malaya, with more scholarships given to them at a lower standards and they were taught to be superior to other races, not unlike Japanese
4) Communist were like gangsters, dealing justice after the Japanese left and in equally brutal measures as the Japanese. They were also killing and threatening people who opposed their ideologies all over the world, in Russia, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

Some wise lessons I gleamed:

1) Networking internally - Most of his capable friends went on to form the government and had the same stand as him - non-violent meritocratic society
2) Networking externally - Other countries gave him much support and prevented further trouble caused by Malaya
2) Colonial punishment did no harm because the lessons stuck with the people. People were afraid and crimes were at an all time low when the Japanese ruled.

Some fun facts as the history lessons were made interesting:

Why Mr and Mrs Lee had a secret wedding when they were 25:
1) Kwa Geok Choo's parents may not approve
2) College did not approve to get married at such a young age
3) As she got to Cambridge through scholarship, there might be questions from them

Why the Singapore's flag was created as such:
1) To please the communists, red and stars were needed
2) To please the Malays, white and crescent moon were needed
The quite-hard-to-draw-nicely flag (Source: wikipedia)
Why Malay is our national language:
1) To show sincerity to the Tunku that we were keen to merge with them
2) To show that Singapore is not prioritizing Chinese over other races

It's easy to criticize the government, hiding behind our monitors and monikers. However, we should always think of how we can give constructive feedback and improve the policies for the good of the country. How many of us will want to join politics and serve the nation?

Nevertheless, many of the sound policies were not communicated to the masses properly. For my first election I voted for the opposition because it seems that PAP was so arrogant, implementing policies without proper communication. Discontent was prevalent as we were overwhelmed with foreigners and the public transport could not keep up with the growing population. The Population White Paper and The Increase of CPF withdrawal age and limits did not helped their popularity either. I do not oppose these policies as I understand where they are coming from, but more could be done to educate and make people understand better.

I am glad they took the message and got down from the high chair. I think Lee Hsien Loong has done a great job engaging people in Facebook (823k supporters!) and efforts could be seen to engage the public. The pioneer generation even had a Hokkien video to spread the correct message! Totally unheard of on dialects to be involved in government message and in such a comedic light hearted way.

So for the upcoming election, I am going to carefully assess each candidate on whether they are qualified to be our country's leader and not be guided emotionally by the election parties.

I promise to be objective and I owe it to Mr Lee Kuan Yew to do so.


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  1. u should watch the LKY play or '1965' movie
    u will like it

    1. Hi Jimmy,

      Ooh, sounds like you liked both of them. I will take a look based on your recommendation. Have you read the other LKY books and are they good too?

  2. i got the chinese LKY book for collection
    didnt read it though :)

    1. Hi Jimmy,

      Don't waste it then, use it for more than decorations... hehe enjoy your holidays! :)