Top General Paper Articles By Lee Kuan Yew
The world paid tribute to Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew, on his passing describing him as one of the “greatest” statesman and leaders of our generation, a “lion among leaders” and an “inspiration” to Asia and beyond.
It is his foresight and insight that has captured the admiration for our ex Prime Minister (PM). Below are several articles that show his clarity of thoughts and foresights.
1. Battle for Pre-eminence
As it became preoccupied with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States left East Asia and the Pacific region to the biggest actor in the area, China. Now that the Administration is winding up the war in Iraq and planning its.. [read more here]
2. Interview: Lee Kuan Yew on the Future of U.S.- China Relations
[read more here]
4. MM Lee’s Top 10 Rules of Success
Here are the rules of success in life
Lee Kuan Yew – Quotes from LKY
The problem is to keep the monkey mind from running off into all kinds of thoughts.
If you are going to lower me into the grave, and I feel something is wrong, I will get up.
I have always thought that humanity was animal-like. The Confucian theory was man could be improved, but I’m not sure he can be. He can be trained; he can be disciplined.
The original communitarianism of Chinese Confucian society has degenerated into nepotism, a system of family linkages, and corruption, on the mainland. And remnants of the evils of the original system are still found in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and even Singapore.
My children were educated in what were then Chinese schools, and they learned English as a subject. But they made up when they went to English-language universities. So they didn’t lose out. They had a basic set of traditional Confucian values. Not my grandchildren.
All my life… I believed in Malaysian merger and unity of the two territories. You know that we, as a people, are connected by geography, economics, by ties of kinship.
The difficult part was getting the people to change their habits so that they behaved more like first world citizens, not like third world citizens spitting and littering all over the place.
I am not interested in ratings by Freedom House or whatever. I know if I rest, I’ll slide downhill fast. You either use the Internet or you are backward. I always tried to be correct, not politically correct.
From 1945 to 1991, China was engaged in a series of wars that nearly broke them. This generation has been through hell: the Great Leap Forward, hunger, starvation, near collision with the Russians – the Cultural Revolution gone mad. I have no doubt that this generation wants a peaceful rise.
Peace and security both in Europe and in the Pacific still depend on a balance of power.
China is not going to become a liberal democracy; if it did, it would collapse. I do not believe you can impose on other countries standards which are alien and totally disconnected with their past.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States and China are more likely to view each other as competitors if not adversaries. But the die has not been cast. The best possible outcome is a new understanding that when they cannot cooperate, they will coexist and allow all countries in the Pacific to grow and thrive.
I would not score very highly on religious value. You need a certain standard of literacy, moral and ethical values, to be able to run a one man, one vote system.
China is a vast, disparate country; there is no alternative to strong central power.
America’s greatest long-term influence on China comes from playing host to the thousands of students who come from China each year, some of the ablest Chinese scholars and scientists. They will be the most powerful agents for change in China.
If you deprive yourself of outsourcing and your competitors do not, you’re putting yourself out of business.
The acid test of any legal system is not the greatness or the grandeur of its ideal concepts, but whether, in fact, it is able to produce order and justice.
The exuberance of democracy leads to undisciplined and disorderly conditions which are inimical to development. I’m not guided by what Human Rights Watch says.
The ultimate test of the value of a political system is whether it helps that society to establish conditions which improve the standard of living for the majority of its people.
I was a product of the times, the war, the occupation, the reoccupation, my 4 years in Britain, admiring but at the same time questioning whether they are able to do a better job than we can.
China itself is now in the process of sloughing off not only the communist system, but also those outdated parts of Confucianism that prevent the rapid acquisition of knowledge needed to adjust to new ways of life and work.
The enduring lesson is war is a disaster. Whoever wins, tremendous loss of life, property – a set back for civilisation. It’s irrelevant to me what young Singaporeans think of me. I’ve lived long enough to know that you may be idealised in life and reviled after you’re dead.
The big nest was in Afghanistan, that’s not quite cleared, then there are nests in the Philippines, there are nests in Indonesia, the Malaysians are clearing up their nests.
Peace and security in the Asia-Pacific will turn on whether China emerges as a xenophobic, chauvinistic force, bitter and hostile to the West because it tried to slow down or abort its development, or whether it is educated and involved in the ways of the world – more cosmopolitan, more internationalized and outward looking.
I had some very powerful minds working with me.
President Nixon was a pragmatic strategist. He would engage, not contain, China, but he would also quietly set pieces into place for a fallback position should China not play according to the rules as a good global citizen.
Let the historians and the Ph.D. students work out their doctrines. I’m not interested in theories per se. Of-course we did, but we didn’t reply because we knew once this leaks the others will scatter, so in the few days we moved quickly before the press got hold of it. The press did get hold of it a few days later, we nabbed, we were able to get 15, the others got away.
A military presence does not need to be used to be useful. Well if done a lot of hard work to try and get people to act rationally, the fact that we’ve had 15 deviant Muslims, plus 5 or 8 others that got away does not mean that all Muslims are deviant or extremists.
The First World became a popular phrase in about the 1970s and ’80s. The World Bank then began categorizing countries in different categories, advanced to the least developed. Latecomers to industrial development have had to catch up by finding ways of closing the gap. If Singapore is a nanny state, then I am proud to have fostered one.
We are pragmatists. We don’t stick to any ideology. Does it work? Let’s try it, and if it does work, fine, let’s continue it. If it doesn’t work, toss it out, try another one. We are not enamored with any ideology.
The values that East Asian culture upholds, such as the primacy of group interests over individual interests, support the total group effort necessary to develop rapidly. Those who believe that after I have left the government as prime minister, I will go into a permanent retirement, really should have their heads examined.
How do I comfort myself? Well, I say, ‘Life is just like that.’ I support the view that free trade in goods and services is a win-win situation. I’m not so convinced that free flows of capital without restriction is a win-win situation.
I can feel the gradual decline of energy and vitality. And I mean generally, every year, when you know you are not on the same level as last year. But that’s life.
At the end of the day, is Singapore society better or worse off? That’s the test.
Prudence dictates that there should be a balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region.
In the East, the main object is to have a well-ordered society so that everybody can have maximum enjoyment of his freedoms. This freedom can only exist in an ordered state and not in a natural state of contention and anarchy.
Countries that are agricultural can, at a low standard of living, sustain themselves. You can be self-sufficient; the money economy is a relatively insignificant part of the total economy. Singapore never was an agricultural country.
Freedom of the news media must be subordinated to the overriding needs of Singapore, and to the primacy of purpose of an elected government.
I’m reaching 87, trying to keep fit, presenting a vigorous figure, and it’s an effort, and is it worth the effort? I laugh at myself trying to keep a bold front. It’s become my habit. I just carry on.
I knew that my niece was working nearby with some bank, so my wife rang up the mother and the mother called back to say that she’s just called up to say she was alright.
I’ve got one grandson gone to MIT. Another grandson had been in the American school here. Because he was dyslexic, and we then didn’t have the teachers to teach him how to overcome or cope with his dyslexia, so he was given exemption to go to the American school. He speaks like an American. He’s going to Wharton.
As an East Asian looking at America, I find attractive and unattractive features. I like, for example, the free, easy and open relations between people regardless of social status, ethnicity or religion.
In the West, especially after World War II, the government came to be seen as so successful that it could fulfill all the obligations that in less modern societies are fulfilled by the family.