Singapore's first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew dead at 91


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Many people will be saying that history will remember him for engineering the economic rise of Singapore. I beg to disagree. History doesn't work like that. Nobody remembers Augusto Pinochet for the economic miracle of Chile, but they do remember him as the boot stomping on the face of human freedom. I suspect historians will eventually give Lee Kuan Yew the same treatment once Singaporeans are able to start enjoying basic human rights.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Singapore will continue to be a Lee family business for many years to come.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

The poster child for the notion that benevolent dictatorship is a viable political system.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Truly one of the greats, and also one of my heroes. Not many men of his stature left out there. RIP, sir.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

+3 to the first three posters here. This guy is not worthy of praise.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Mr Lee is the legendary founding father of Singapore who has transformed the tiny backward Singapore for becoming the hugely successful economy and modernized nation.

After Quarter and Luxemburg, Singapore is the third wealthiest nation as GDP per capita. It is stable, peaceful and prosperous.

US and PRC GDP may be bigger than Singapore. However their mass population have not shared the prosperity and success of tiny Singapore. It will be very hard to find homeless, drug addicted criminal and beggars in Singapore. It will be rare as diamonds.

Unlike crime and drug ridden, morally and financially corrupted, tax payers supported banking system, unstable, lawless and sky rocketing debt nations of West, Singapore is not only physically clean but also shining role model for all backward Asian nations.

Singapore has no drinking water. Singapore has not any form of natural resources. Singapore land space is tiny as Ant. Even Japan has some bamboo and fish. Their development from 1965 to 2015 is bigger than Ben- Hur.

He will be remembered as one of the greatest legend and unrivaled philosopher as American Chinese Bruce Lee. Both of them were Lee clan. No other Leader can match his vision, energy, wisdom and strength.

RIP Mr Lee.! You are simply irreplaceable. You are the idol for new generation too.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Singapore is a remarkable achievement. The most beautiful city in Asia.

It's hard to determine how "oppressive" it is. I've had Western friends, well educated and as cynical as the next person, who have lived there and absolutely loved the place.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's hard to determine how "oppressive" it is. I've had Western friends, well educated and as cynical as the next person, who have lived there and absolutely loved the place.

Well, if someone didn't like my comment above and figured out who I was, it would be enough to have me arrested for criminal libel if I set foot in Singapore. Just look at the case of the opposition politician Chee Soon Juan, he spoke out against Lee Kuan Yew and was successfully sued for millions of dollars in damages. He couldn't pay and was petitioned into bankruptcy by Yew... and surprise suprise, the ruling party in Singapore had just passed laws that said undischarged bankrupts cannot stand in elections. I'm not surprised your western friends had a nice time in Singapore, they are not targeted as enemies of the state.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I have been to many western nations. Most leaders talks, argues and plays golf. Most of them failed to deliver the electorate expectation and hope. Before the election, they will be very sweet to voters with unaffordable promises and unfunded construction projects. Ethic tensions are still tense in west. In Singapore, it is the different story. Harmony and tolerance does not belong to west as Singapore.

Unlike talkative, untrustworthy and little disciplined leaders, Mr Lee Kuan Yew was inspirational, strong willed, result orientated, unpolished and honest politician. He has successfully delivered his people hope, prosperity and expectation.

Leader is not the God. Leader is not the Con Artists for cheating voters with undeliverable promise. Leader is not pleasing for special interest groups. Leader should focus on national interest, unity of the citizens and long term prosperity. True leadership quality comes from Singapore which is the birth place of Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

Tribute to Mr Lee for performing Herculean task from third world to first within a generation. History will judge Mr Lee as one of the most successful, out spoken and man of the steel for standing up for his people. He will be one of the greatest as Emperor Meiji who transformed Japan.

Lee restoration was speedy, well structured and corruption free. It was even better than Meiji restoration.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Just look at the case of the opposition politician Chee Soon Juan, he spoke out against Lee Kuan Yew and was successfully sued for millions of dollars in damages.

It's not as if he's the only one, either. Lee and his son have been very active in bringing such cases, and they have never lost a single one.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Lee restoration was speedy, well structured and corruption free

Because the state itself is the corruption racket. Lee junior and every other government minister in Singapore pay themselves over $2 million dollars a year in salary. Higher than any other politicians on the planet. No wonder they and their cronies fight tooth and nail to cling to power... any election loss would be devastating for their bank accounts.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Leader is not the God [...] True leadership quality comes from Singapore which is the birth place of Mr Lee Kuan Yew [...] Tribute to Mr Lee for performing Herculean task from third world to first within a generation.

Heracles was a god, the son of Zeus.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

RIP LKY, I have to admit I respect LKY, Goh Keng Swee, Toh Chin Chye and the early PAP pioneer who work hard to shape Singapore, but not the present MIW they don't deserve any respect.

I do not agree with some of LKY policies, politic are never clean wherever they come from, If politicians can be trusted dog poo can be had for breakfast.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I am not the Singaporean. When I saw the news of Mr Lee passing, I could not find the suitable words for expressing my sadness. He was so good as Steve Jobs who has reformed and prospered Apple Inc. Singapore population is only 5.47 millions. However their two government backed investment funds, Temasek and GIC, together accounted for 60 per cent of the $23bn in cross-border deals by the world’s sovereign wealth funds.

Therefore Singapore is controlling the more than half of the fortune of the world. It is so amazing.

If Singapore is the co-operation, each Singaporean share of dividend from their sovereign fund is so huge as Titanic. If Mr Lee is the CEO of co-operation he will be deserved to receive more than 10 millions. 2 millions salary for him and his associate are so tiny as drop on the bucket. He was deserved to receive higher pay check for prospering tiny land which have nothing even the drinkable water! Singapore is the Oasis in South East Asia however it has to buy the water from the neighbor.

Back in 1960s, Philippines and Myanmar(known as Burma) were jewels of Asia. They were richer than Singapore. After successive corrupted, hopeless and incompetent administration, those nations are sadly economic basket cases in 2015. Unlikely they will catch up with Singapore for many and many more generations. Many of those nations resident will jump for the joy if LKY was their leader.

As the human, he may have some weakness. However his good work, incredible wisdom and contribution has outweighed his weakness. No one is perfect.

As the admirer of Singapore success, harmony and efficiency, I would like to pay my great respect, admiration and tribute to LKY. RIP Mr Lee!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lee Kuan Yew was the #1 student of his class for Singapore and Malaysia.

The economic statistics also say he is ichiban (#1).

==> He is the "model" both personally and economically for Asia and others around the world. And in my opinion this should also be top story --> but he did die when the cherry trees blossomed in Tokyo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Tribute to Mr Lee for performing Herculean task from third world to first within a generation"

Singapore the city was never the "third world." It has been a busy prosperous business and trading center since early colonial times. I suggest you read descriptions of the city in "Lord Jim," written by Joseph Conrad over 100 years ago.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The British surrendered in 1941 in a Ford factory. How many SE Asian countries at that time had automotive plants?

Japan had many auto plants at that time.

In 1904, Torao Yamaha produced the first domestically manufactured bus, which was powered by a steam engine. In 1907, Komanosuke Uchiyama produced the Takuri, the first entirely Japanese-made gasoline engine car. The Kunisue Automobile Works built the Kunisue in 1910, and the following year manufactured the Tokyo in cooperation with Tokyo Motor Vehicles Ltd. In 1911, Kwaishinsha Motorcar Works was established and later began manufacturing a car called the DAT. In 1920, Jitsuyo Jidosha Seizo Co., founded by William R. Gorham, began building the Gorham and later the Lila. The company merged with Kwaishinsha in 1926 to form the DAT Automobile Manufacturing Co. (later to evolve into Nissan Motors). From 1924 to 1927, Hakuyosha Ironworks Ltd. built the Otomo. Toyota, a textile manufacturer, began building cars in 1936.[2] Most early vehicles, however, were trucks produced under military subsidy.Cars built in Japan before World War II tended to be based on European or American models. The 1917 Mitsubishi Model A was based on the Fiat A3-3 design. (This model was considered to be the first mass-produced car in Japan, with 22 units produced.) In the 1930s, Nissan Motors' cars were based on the Austin 7 and Graham-Paige designs, while the Toyota AA model was based on the Chrysler Airflow. Ohta built cars in the 1930s based on Ford models, while Chiyoda built a car resembling a 1935 Pontiac, and Sumida built a car similar to a LaSalle.[3][4] The Ford Motor Company of Japan was established in 1925 and a production plant was set up in Yokohama. General Motors established operations in Osaka in 1927. Chrysler also came to Japan and set up Kyoritsu Motors. Between 1925 and 1936, the United States Big Three automakers' Japanese subsidiaries produced a total of 208,967 vehicles, compared to the domestic producers total of 12,127 vehicles. In 1936, the Japanese government passed the Automobile Manufacturing Industry Law, which was intended to promote the domestic auto industry and reduce foreign competition;[5] ironically, this stopped the groundbreaking of an integrated Ford plant in Yokohama, modeled on Dagenham in England and intended to serve the Asian market, that would have established Japan as a major exporter[citation needed]. Instead by 1939, the foreign manufacturers had been forced out of Japan. Vehicle production was shifted in the late 1930s to truck production due to the Second Sino-Japanese War.[6][7][8]

But the Yamamoto (ship) was probably the manufacturing masterpiece of the time (Dec 16th 1941). Explains early Japanese car companies and auto shows.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Pirate countries such as Singapore, Switzerland, Luxemburg and other tax havens etc. base their wealth on money laundering on behalf of terrorists, organized crime, tax evasion, corruption and other shady businesses. Nothing to admire here.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )


I don't know the reason for your lengthy post, but Japan is not in SE Asia, and no one has called Japan in the 20th century a "third world" nation as Singapore was called in a previous post, and elsewhere in the media.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Singapore the city was never the "third world.

From third world to first is the title of Lee Kuan Yew memoir. It is not only about Singapore story but also recording his biography. I guess you know more about Singapore more than Mr Lee. He admitted Singapore was the third world before. Therefore you disagree with him for his title. There are two parts for his memoir. One is From third wold to first. Another one is Singapore story. They were published in year 2000.

It has been a busy prosperous business and trading center since early colonial times.

It is also Mosquito ridden trading post since early colonial times. FYI, Singapore had tropical slum area like current day Mumbai. Not all residents were wealthy merchants, comfortable public servants and well off ship owners. Back in 1960s, if you have born and been to Singapore, majority live in old fashioned Malay or Indonesian style Kampuang jua village. Unemployment rate was very high back then.

Residents of Kampuang discard their human waste into the sea from the toilets of that housings which were built near it. It was unhygienic, smelly, visible and disgusting. Thanks to Mr Lee and his associates, Singapore demolished Kampuangs and western style toilets were installed in Public housing estate. Lee has also swept the roads of his city with broom by himself. He should be credited not only for economy but also making Singapore is healthy, clean and hygienic.

Myanmar of Burma which is located in SE Asia had some automotive plants during the colonial time. Myanmar is hundred times richer than Singapore in natural resources. They have fertile river bank thanks to the river flowing across the nation. Myanmar teak is the best quality of timber in the world. It is also convenient location for trading.

Not all British colony has become like Singapore. Of course, British has left better infrastructure, legal system and transportation for former colonies. It will not translate as all former colonies will become the Singapore. The difference is they did not have the leader like LKY and hardworking, committed and disciplined people of Singapore.

Without LKY, Singapore will be still the another sleepy and backward Kampuang villiage.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"He admitted Singapore was the third world before."

Yes, he lied, historians have pointed out. He wants to boost his legacy by saying so.

The fact is, Singapore was one of Asia's most prosperous and developed ports long before Lee arrived. Today Singapore's grandest structures, like the Fullerton, Raffles and National Museum date to well before his time. It was a shining jewel of the British Empire, not because of its size but because of its wealth. That's why the Japanese were so eager to capture it.

Yeah, there were slums and malaria. But at the time there were lots of slums in Manhattan, and malaria, too, in the US. Disease control in the richest countries was still at a low level.

In Singapore, the newly arriving Chinese coolies had no money, so yes! they were poor! Wow. But many started to enter the middle class or wealthy class within a generation or 2....long before Lee arrived.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Jeff Lee, are you from Singapore?, I was born and did my NS in SG, I do not agree with some of LKY policy but I respect him and others in the early days of shaping what SG was and what SG now is.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Jeff Lee

Singapore the city was never the "third world." It has been a busy prosperous business and trading center since early colonial times. I suggest you read descriptions of the city in "Lord Jim," written by Joseph Conrad over 100 years ago.

It's a fine novel, but Conrad, as in other novels, intentionally obfuscates the locations of events. Singapore is never mentioned by name, and he doesn't dwell on the few urban settings in the book. Jim is initially hospitalized in what Conrad coyly called "an Eastern port", where he eventually signs on with the SS Patna, sailing for the Red Sea. The inquiry into the crew's subsequent abandonment of the Patna at sea is possibly held at the same port, though it's never very clear; it has been speculated that this might have been Bombay. What is obvious is that Conrad didn't think it of importance, or rather that he preferred the reader not to know. Singapore starts to look unlikely when placed against this passage, which takes place after Jim's guilt is established at the inquiry:

"He had, of course, another name, but he was anxious that it should not be pronounced. His incognito, which had as many holes as a sieve, was not meant to hide a personality but a fact. When the fact broke through the incognito he would leave suddenly the seaport where he happened to be at the time and go to another--generally farther east. He kept to seaports because he was a seaman in exile from the sea, and had Ability in the abstract, which is good for no other work but that of a water-clerk. He retreated in good order towards the rising sun, and the fact followed him casually but inevitably. Thus in the course of years he was known successively in Bombay, in Calcutta, in Rangoon, in Penang, in Batavia."

So while your point about Singapore is correct, there isn't anything to be learned about the city from Lord Jim.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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