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Lee Kuan Yew’s Passing is a Loss for the World

Lee Kuan Yew passed away yesterday (March 23, 2015).  It is a sad day for Singapore, for Chinese everywhere, as well as for the world.  Under Lee’s leadership, Singapore became not only an economic and technological Mecca, but has also developed a unique multicultural melting pot that help it escape the many racial and religious violence that have gripped its earlier history and has continued to grip other parts of Asia and the world.

One of our contributors here passed along a commemorative issue from The Strait Times.  I thought it’s fitting to link and archive a copy here.

 

lky cover

  1. N.M.Cheung
    March 25th, 2015 at 07:45 | #1

    As a fellow Chinese I do mourn the passing of Lee Kuan Yew. He was a great man, and made Singapore what she is today. Yet, Singapore is in a way, an accident of history. Malaysia forced Singapore out because she didn’t want a close to majority of Chinese population in Malaysia after independence. With anti-Chinese sentiments north in Malaysia, and south in Indonesia, Singapore has no problem attracting the best Chinese minds from those countries. I did read about employing lower pay and discriminated bus drivers from mainland China deported when they tried to protest, so the question is with the rise of China, where will be the role of Singapore be in the future? Her defense minister was making some noise about questioning the Chinese claims in South China sea and toting the U.S. line. I would like to see discussion from others on the future of Singapore.

  2. March 25th, 2015 at 10:20 | #2

    @N.M.Cheung

    Her defense minister was making some noise about questioning the Chinese claims in South China sea and toting the U.S. line.

    Yes, I have seen that too.

    But keep in mind these things:

    1. Singapore houses U.S. bases.
    2. Singapore is dependent on the U.S. security guarantees.
    3. Singapore could not, cannot, and in the foreseeable future cannot depend on any China security guarantees.
    4. Singapore needs to be in the grace of S. East Asian powers for its survival.

    Then you can see why Singapore has taken the position it has.

    It’s unfortunate, but in today’s environment, does it have a choice?

  3. March 26th, 2015 at 02:21 | #3

    @Allen My answer is “no”, Singapore doesn’t have a choice. Some Chinese friends are offended by Singapore’s two-headed snake approach, and I gave them a very similar answer to Allen’s. In addition, it has complex race and religion issues within its tiny population, and cannot afford to be seen as “pro-China” due to cultural or racial reasons, even though Lee was quite “Confucian with an English accent” at heart and in practice.

    Once cannot compare a super-size country like China or India to Singapore. Large countries, even at their nadir, such as China during the past century, have more options, with scattered pockets of true independence. A tiny state like Singapore is destined to bend with the wind, and be very cleaver about it. I believe that even someone like Mao, had he been born in Singapore rather than China, would have had adopted a similar approach.

    I don’t think Singapore will tote the US line based on ideology, which it has little. Assuming Lee’s successors will remain sensible and competent, Singapore will forever manoeuvre between the big powers and neighbours, in order to survive and prosper with “maximum” self-determination and stability within the niche that the nation was born into.

  4. Rhan
    March 27th, 2015 at 19:23 | #4

    李万千的访谈

    (一)接受访谈的初衷

    不论你是支持还是反对已故李光耀,他毕竟曾经在新马反殖斗争、左翼运动、区域乃至国际政治的舞台中,扮演过极具争议性的角色。对于信奉资本主义或功利主义者而言,他们对李光耀在经济、廉政、治安、城市规划等方面的成就,固然赞不绝口;但对反殖反帝,要求民族独立、人民民主、和社会正义的左翼干部和进步人士而言,李光耀毕竟是一个极端反动、狡猾和残暴的威权主义者和压迫者。

    李光耀初出道时,在本质上就是亲英美殖民主义、极端崇洋及反共反华者。他伪装进步,利用左派的支持上台执政;时机成熟时,就公然背叛、出卖与迫害左派,这是他与左派势不两立的真正原因。历史见证,新加坡左派对李光耀,可谓仁至义尽;而李光耀对其左派支持者则是恩将仇报,赶尽杀绝。

    在教育方面,他推行“英文至上”的奴化与愚民政策,把消灭南大和其他源流中小学的母语教育,作为他的最终目标。这次电视台主动访问我,相信与以下两个事件有关:

    一、我曾经参与领导1965年11月1日起为时39天的大罢课,反对李光耀政权企图变质与消灭南大,派军警进驻大学校园以暴力镇压同学,开除85名同学的学籍及把其中43位驱逐出境;

    二、1966年10月29日,李光耀主持南大新图书开幕致词时,接受他的挑战上台与他辩论南大问题。

    (二)大罢课及与李辩论的一些情况

    从1965年11月1日发表的《南大同学罢课宣言》的内容就可知道,号召大罢课,是因为“同学受迫害己经达到极点,南大被变质的危机己经空前严重,而民族教育的生存更岌岌可危。”

    与此同时,“军警暴徒已经占据了整个南大,特务爪牙已经密布整个神圣学府:行动党政权企图以新闻封锁来堵住我们的嘴,企图以警棍、催泪弹、枪尖来吓退我们”,在这种情况下,我们才采取罢课的最后手段。

    我们誓言“继续斗争下去”,直到以下三点要求得到解决为止:一、南大当局应听取公意,拒绝接纳南大课程审查委员会报告书;二、任何有关南大的改革,都应以不违背南大创校宗旨,不改变南大作为华文大学的本质为前提;三、大学当局应无条件撤消开除85名同学的不合理敕令,保证今后不再无理处罚任何同学。

    大罢课最后是在李光耀政权的高压下,以失败告终。根据许万忠学长的回忆:“大罢课最终是在校方采取强硬手段,开除百多位同学,并向270多位同学发出警告信,新加坡政府则将被开除的联邦同学驱逐出境之后,才在群龙无首情况下,鸣锣收兵。被开除者当中,有些是只剩下几个月就可以参加毕业考的四年级同学。他们坚持立场,宁愿牺牲,不要文凭。但是,也有一些向校方提呈悔过书,继续未完成的学。”(许万忠:《回忆云南园》,1991年12月15日出版。)

    至于我会接受李光耀的挑战与他辩论,一方面是因为在这之前就曾听说李光耀在工会及党内也常使用挑战辩论这一招,被挑战者或由于英语不行或怕他秋后算账,时常不敢接受挑战。这一次他重施故伎,同学们早有心理准备!

    当时我正带领着同学们的抗争队伍,斗志昂扬地在数百名观礼嘉宾面前,向李光耀高喊口号,反对李光耀迫害同学和企图变质南大,加上我是念现语系的,英语还勉强可以应付,就立即决定上前应战。如果当时我有所犹疑,其他同学也肯定会挺身而出,不战而降的局面是不会出现的,因为当时同学们都是以“敢于斗争,敢于胜利”的思想武装自己!

    辩论前,我要求他公开保证我的人身安全及不受对付,他在众多外国嘉宾面前,为了假装开明只好答应;但辩论过后,军警和特务立即到我住家追捕我,失败后就下逐客令——把我驱逐出境!最后,我是在朋友的掩护下,潜回马境。至今,我被禁止入境新加坡,已近半个世纪!可见李光耀是一位言而无信的人。

    李光耀虽然口头上不断保证不会关闭南大,但南大从1980年起,即35年前已被关闭了!更甚的是自1987年开始,新加坡便在全国中小学(除了特选学校)推行以英文为第一语文,华文为第二语文的所谓“双语政策”,实际上就是全面消灭了各源流母语教育。“双语政策”失败最好的例证,就是李光耀承认无法用华语跟他的孙子沟通!在“英文至上”的新加坡社会,李光耀的孙子尚且无法撑握双语,更遑论普通老百姓的子女了!

    (三)李光耀为什么要迫害陈六使?

    陈六使(1897-1972)与陈嘉庚(1874-1961)一脉相承,身为华侨,他们都是反对殖民主义和日本军国主义的爱国主义者,所不同的是陈嘉庚选择回归社会主义中国;而陈六使则主张“马来亚是吾人之故乡!”,决定效忠马来亚。

    对陈六使先生(右图)的贡献,李业霖学长归纳出以下三方面:一、参与为22万中国出生的华侨争取到公民权;二、 参与争取英殖民政府正式取消议会候选人必须有读、听、写、讲英文能力的语文限制;三、最重要的,当然是创建南大。

    李光耀仇视南大,必然祸延身为南大创办人的陈六使,使他成为李光耀政权迫害与打击的主要对象之一。李光耀并不讳言他记恨陈六使委任左倾的庄竹林出任南大副校长,以及无法容忍他支持南大毕业生成为社阵的候选人对垒人民行动党。

    正如他在回忆录中所招认的,他心里早就盘算着,一旦政府具备政治实力,将会找陈六使算账。新加坡1963立法议会选举结果揭晓后隔天(1963年9月22日),李光耀便迫不及待地吊销陈六使的公民权!

    陈六使被李光耀迫害已超过半个世纪,为陈六使平反,为南大平反,及为新加坡各民族人民的母语教育平反,其实是同样一回事,如果不是在上述意义上,而是以归还陈六使的公民权证书或追颁陈六使先生名誉博士荣衔,以取代为陈六使先生、南大、及新加坡各族人民母语教育在真正意义上的平反,那肯定都是毫无意义的,因为南大精神要求南大校友坚持原则,而不是搞和稀泥的委曲求全!

    (四)李光耀“花了十六年才解决(南大)”

    李光耀在其自传中招认,他“花了16年才解决(南大)”。換句话说,不论是通过军警进驻大学校园进行暴力鎮压、逮捕、开除学藉(据江学文校友的统计,前后共319人)、驱逐出境、吊銷陈六使公民权、查禁学生会和各有关学会及其出版物;还是搞各项报告书、协议书、修正法令、联合校园、合并等花招,其最终目标却只有一个:即通过控制南大、改制南大之后,一举消灭南大!

    基于亲英美及反共反华的政治立场,李氏在教育政策上推行“英文至上”及歧视各族的母语教育,也就不奇怪了!因此,从一开始他就把消灭南大作为其教育政策的最终目标。李光耀在他的著作——《我一生的挑战——新加坡双语之路》里,又提出了所谓“英美反对南大”论,“南大是中共先锋队”论,“新加坡不能背负‘第三中国’包袱”论,“南大毕业生找不到工作”论等等,作为“南大注定失败”的论据,企图为本身消灭南大的历史罪行辩护。

    事实证明,最积极主动,处心积虑,“花了16年才解决南大”的,并不是英美或东南亚的其他国家,而是李光耀及其人民行动党政权本身!同样的,历史事实也早已证明,南大从来就不是什么“中共的先锋队”;而反共及亲英美的李光耀政权统治下的新加坡,更不可能是什么“第三中国”。而南大毕业生找不到工作的说法更是荒谬,南大毕业生尽管受到各种人为的歧视,但他们在教育界、学术界、企业界、甚至科学领域里的成就早就有目共睹,岂容污蔑?

    其实,南大早在1980年就被新大所并吞(美其名曰合并)。此后,鹊巢鸠占,南大校园遂为南洋理工学院所占用。1991年升格为南洋理工大学,简称理大。2005年改称南大,说是为南大复名,是衔接旧南大的所谓新南大的起点。

    旧南大是南洋大学的简称,新南大则是南洋理工大学的简称,虽同称“南大”,实有真假南大之别。质言之,一切以假南大(即南洋理工大学的简称)为幌子所搞的“南大复名”、“南大正名”或“南大复办”,其真正的目的都是为了“鱼目混珠”,妄想有一天假南大能够在人民的记忆中,完全取代真南大的地位!

    (五)李光耀:“后悔没有早点关闭南洋大学”

    李光耀在2010年接受《国家地理》杂志访问时,毫不讳言地宣称他“后悔没有早点关闭南洋大学”。他这项表态,把这些年来,在各地南大校友间广泛流传的所谓李光耀晚年思想有所改变,指他说过“如果时光能够倒流,就不会关闭华校”,以及“如果失去南大精神,新加坡就会有麻烦”之类的话,而对他存有幻想——希望有朝一日,他会同意为陈六使先生平反,会同意复办南大等等——打得粉碎。

    如果李光耀确实说过“如果时光能够倒流,就不会关闭华校”这样的话,而且是真心的,那么,这就意味着:他后悔关闭了华校。以他的影响力,他仍然可以在政策层面上作出改变,恢复各民族母语教育源流,而不是说的是一套,做的是另一套!

    看来“后悔没有早点关闭南洋大学”才是李光耀的真心话。2013年9月15日,《南洋网》刊登了对新加坡前总理公署高级政务部长李炯才的访谈稿。当时已届89高龄的李炯才回忆说:

    “他(李光耀)把南洋大学关掉,把华校关掉,把方言取消,是大错误,我常常跟他争论。……我问他为什么要这样做,你这样做将来会遗臭万年。他说我能怎样?他们制造很多麻烦,怎样解决?我说让我来解决。……他们(南大理事会理事)说要政府保证南洋大学永远不变质,不变质是不要消灭华文啦,我问他(指李光耀)可以吗?他说可以,所以我和易润堂两个签名担保。后来他关掉南大,都没有请教我,我很不好意思,我担保了却没有办法实现。”

    李光耀喜欢搞“口不对心”的事,明明是“英文至上”,却把马来语定为“国语”;明明是推崇“西方文化”,却通过英文搞儒家思想;明明是“后悔没早点关闭南洋大学”,却假惺惺说什么“如果时光能够倒流,就不会关闭华校”;明明是最痛恨“南大精神”,却说什么“如果失去南大精神,新加坡就会有麻烦”这种言不由衷的话!

    个人认为,南大精神的核心内涵至少应该包括以下这些要素,即:维护和发扬民族语文、教育和文化;落实民间办学的公民权利、理念和大学自治权;关心和介入社会和国家大事,并为此而体现出自力更生、自强不息和力争上游的奋斗、抗争和牺牲的精神。

    “维护和发扬民族语文、教育和文化”无疑与李光耀“崇洋”及“英文至上”的思想背道而驰;“落实民间办学的公民权利、理念和大学自治权”正是南大办学者与学生所一贯坚持的,而李光耀则反其道而行之,通过恶法、暴力、开除学藉、逮捕、强行合并等手段,摧毁了南大,还恶狠狠地“后悔没早点关闭”它!

    至于“关心和介入社会和国家大事,并为此而体现出自力更生、自强不息和力争上游的奋斗、抗争和牺牲的精神”,谢太宝学长可说是这方面公认的、最具代表性的人物。林连玉基金颁发2011年林连玉精神奖给谢太宝,正是基于其经历了前所未有的32年被关押期,他的坚持体现了上述南大精神。

    陈良还特地为这意义重大的事件撰写了《威武不屈大丈夫——谢太宝与林连玉精神》(25/12/2011,东方名家),颂扬这两位“顶天立地”的人物,及他们所体现的“林连玉精神”及“南大精神”。对谢太宝,他给予极高的评价:“亘古男儿一太宝,威武不屈大丈夫。忍辱守志三十载,为使天地正气存。”这无疑是南大校友的最大荣耀!

    (六)对后李光耀时代的寄望

    民主开放是时代的大趋势,和我国的情况一样,人民行动党“一党独大”的局面也是不可能再维持下去了。希望后李光耀时代的到来,意味着“个人独断”或“一党独大”的威权主义政治,最终必将在新加坡人民,要求民主开放浪潮的冲击下结束!

    李炯才关于“他(李光耀)把南洋大学关掉,把华校关掉,把方言取消,是大错误”,“将来会遗臭万年”的论断,随着李光耀的逝世,似乎也可以盖棺定论了!

    现在,新加坡人民必须为一切在李光耀政权下遭受迫害者,不论是曾经失去自由、或者被驱逐出境、被迫流亡海外、被迫死迫疯或致残者……,都能以适当的方式(例如公开道歉、赔偿、改变政策等)给予平反;在教育领域,更应该为恢复陈六使的公民权,为复办南大,为恢复新加坡各源流母语教育,在政策层面上放弃“英文至上”的政策,真心诚意把各民族的语文、教育和文化权利视为各民族不可剥夺的基本人权!是时候了,人民行动党的威权政权若不能自行改变,就等着被改变吧!

  5. N.M.Cheung
    March 28th, 2015 at 06:03 | #5

    @Rhan
    Thank you Rhan for giving us the background on LKY. As a Chinese American I wasn’t familiar with the history of Singapore except some background about his persecution of some left candidates. This put it more in perspective and better understanding why China only send a vice premier for his funeral.

  6. March 28th, 2015 at 20:51 | #6

    @Rhan Thanks Ryan for the informative comments. Many who are opposed to LKY lack a similarly comprehensive analysis and first hand perspective. But I believe even if LKY were still alive, he’ll bend with the wind, as was his wont, probably out of necessity. And the wind is blowing in a different direction for Singapore.

  7. Rhan
    March 29th, 2015 at 11:06 | #7

    I think whether we perceive LKY as great or no depend on where we live, our background, our education and our ideology in life. What LKY (a capitalist cum anglophile) did to the leftist is exactly what CCP did to the rightist, and he did it in a more ruthless manner, he incarcerate his political opponent to 20, 30 years, much longer than Mandela.

    Allen “does it have a choice?”
    I really don’t know. I live in a country where the government keeps on brainwashing the native to wary about Chinese dominance in both the economy and politics, and the same siege mentality is being used by LKY and his PAP to indoctrinate the Chinese about the threat from Malay and Muslim. I believe LKY could do something to ease such mistrust, but he didn’t. in fact he broaden and deepen such hostility.

    GUO DU “I believe that even someone like Mao, had he been born in Singapore rather than China, would have had adopted a similar approach.”
    I believe Mao is never a coward or machiavellian like LKY, Mao never kiss the ass of USSR and USA even in a time when China badly need support and funding.

    Lastly, Singapore was never a fishing village as claimed by LKY and his cohort when independence. It was relatively one of the most progressive city in Nanyang, partly due to the British, like Shanghai and HK.

  8. danielxu
    March 29th, 2015 at 18:46 | #8

    @Rhan
    LKY is a capitalist? I thought he lives very simple and frugal, do you know how many asset/properties/Swiss Bank Accounts he has accumulated? Singapore is very strict against corruption.
    Anglophile? His parents are “peranakan”; working for the Brit. Hence he was brought up in “English” household; he was kind of the children and grandchildren of Chinese American influenced by American culture. Most cannot speak Mandarin any more.
    He does not use his “Harry Lee”, instead only LKY. All his children have no English names and all speak perfect Mandarin, he speak a bit, and still got his Mandarin lesson until his death. He does not believe in Western Liberal Democracy.
    He said: “If China adopts Western Democracy, China will collapse”
    He was educated in Britain, through his struggle of Independence and Nation building he becomes “enlightened”, not being ‘Banana” (outside yellow inside white). He does not sound like Anglophile to me.

    Unlike in European countries and in the State, there is no ghetto in Singapore. because the housing complexes are occupied by Chinese, Malays and Indian. The Races MUST live together. How you get the idea
    “in fact he broaden and deepen such hostility”

    Mao has billions people to back on, LKY had small population of three races who could not get along, he has to bend where the wind blows.
    If you call it kiss USA’s ass, for the survival of Singapore he would do it gladly.
    Or you prefer dead as a Hero and Singapore would still become another Japan and Philippine under USA?
    I came from that part of the world; I don’t know Shanghai and HK then, but Singapore was more like Jakarta (called Batavia), hot and stink (not sewerage).
    LKY was not perfect but he did change the City State in a big way.

    Rest in peace LKY.

  9. March 30th, 2015 at 00:05 | #9

    @Rhan

    About that Chinese fear of “threat from Malay and Muslim” … and Southeast Asia in general, if I might add. What of that? Judging by the records of Chinese persecution throughout Southeast Asia, including Malaysia and Indonesia, Singapore’s two neighbors, in the last 3/4 century since end of WWII when those areas are “liberated” from colonialism, I don’t think the fear is mere “ideology.”

    As for whether LKY is spineless, I am not sure if that’s a useful term, especially in the context you cited. Singapore is a very small place, prone to be dominated and swallowed by hostile and unstable neighbors, and to be easily blockaded by any blue naval powers that be. What LKY has accomplished in building a stable and prosperous society is unique in the annals of civilization and to me is just short of truly amazing.

    As for your take on capitalism, I am not sure if it’s just. Name a country that has resisted capitalism in the last century. Even good old Soviet Union / Russia has turned capitalistic. I have many problems with capitalism, and I am not sure if capitalism in its pure form exists, but the general meaning of capitalism as we understand it in the latter 20th century constitutes a tide of current history. To ask Singapore, a nation of 5.5 million on a tiny island of 718.3 km2, to resist history, and to call out LKY for being a capitalist lackey for not resisting, to me shows how “crazy” (to me at least) your comments above are…

  10. Rhan
    April 4th, 2015 at 08:46 | #10

    @danielxu

    LKY is a capitalist, capitalist not necessary live a affluent lifestyle, for example Sam Walton and Warrant Buffet, and capitalist not synonymous to corruption. I don’t know how much asset/properties/Swiss Bank Accounts LKY has accumulated, however we all know who control Temasik, GIC etc etc. I sometimes find it hard to differentiate corruption, nepotism and cronyism,

    LKY never deny he is an Anglophile, however when I assert LKY is an Anglophile, I mean he admire England / English, and their culture more, I never claim he don’t/can’t speak Chinese. Read many writes on how he treated those from Chinese education background, how he look down on China and Chinese (it is Zhou Enlai who labelled LKY a banana, and imperialist lackey), he is a Baba like what you said, the reason he become more Chinese was because he knew the Chinese would only give their vote to a Chinese, not a Baba, and his top opponent Lim Chin Siong was a charming Chinese that fluent in Mandarin and dialect, but would never kiss the British ass like what LKY did. And of course the British prefer a Anglophile if compare against a so-called communist, yes, all Chinese education Chinese was communist in the eyes of British. And it is deemed human rights to detain any communist without trail to ensure their lackey to continue remain in power.

    I also never claim LKY a democrat, he could be everything but never a democrat, he merely make use of election to grasp power, he chose to merge with Malaya because this was how he could get the British out, but at the same time, he play the race card to the max until Malaysia first prime minister have to make a decision to let Singapore go, and it seem forever the Malay look at the Chinese with a suspicious mind. Do you know why now I said LKY was in fact one of the main culprit that create the tension between various race in this region? The black don’t stay in ghetto (I guess, perhaps they did), did the black not discriminated? How often you talked to the Singapore Malay, by first conceal you Chinese superiority, and start the conversation by calling LKY a dictator, you might hear the truth from a Singapore Malay.

    Perhaps I touch on Mao vs LKY later when I have time, in short, Mao never started his political life with billions people to back on.

    However I never deny Singapore success, but I believe it is the contribution of each and every Singaporean, and among them, many are poor Chinese migrant that seek for a better life, who are willing to work 18 hours a day, they are one that deserved more praise than the dictator name LKY.

  11. April 4th, 2015 at 10:27 | #11

    @Rhan

    I’m going to butt in with my thoughts…

    LKY is a capitalist, capitalist not necessary live a affluent lifestyle, for example Sam Walton and Warrant Buffet, and capitalist not synonymous to corruption. I don’t know how much asset/properties/Swiss Bank Accounts LKY has accumulated, however we all know who control Temasik, GIC etc etc. I sometimes find it hard to differentiate corruption, nepotism and cronyism,

    Are you saying capitalism = corruption, and that LKY is corrupt but not Walton and Buffett? Walton and Buffett are capitalists and will happily admit as much! They are very, very comfortable with the notion that majority of the surplus of economic activities accrue to capital holders rather than laborers!!!

    Read many writes on how he treated those from Chinese education background, how he look down on China and Chinese (it is Zhou Enlai who labelled LKY a banana, and imperialist lackey), he is a Baba like what you said, the reason he become more Chinese was because he knew the Chinese would only give their vote to a Chinese, not a Baba…

    If he were a true Anglophile he would not have switched! Yet he did. If he were doing all this to get votes as you allege: well what you described merely was a pragmatic person – or an opportunistic person who knows how to play the game of democracy.

    I also never claim LKY a democrat, he could be everything but never a democrat, he merely make use of election to grasp power, he chose to merge with Malaya because this was how he could get the British out…

    In my view, presuming you are fair in your assessments (and I don’t believe you have been), you just prove LKY is a democrat. A democrat is one who knows how to play the games of elections to push his agenda through. There is no commonly accepted principle of democracy that leaders must be inclusive (by whatever standard). There is no principle that leaders must strive for unity or non-unity (again by whatever standard). There is definitely no principle that leaders cannot play the race card (heck, the race card permeated every aspect of Obama’s rise and campaign to be the current president of the U.S.!). And there is definitely no principle that you cannot play the emotions of one sub-group against another … a la interest vs. interest (see e.g. my other recent post)

    One may disagree with LKY’s politics, but one cannot fairly call him “everything but never a democrat.”

    Also don’t confuse CCP with Chinese again. There was the ROC that LKY had relationship with… as pointed out before. Getting into fight with one but having a relationship with the other doesn’t add up to turning his back of China.

    Remember also that China (ROC, PRC, whatever else) as a political entity in LKY’s early years was a non-factor; it was only natural that he did not seek it out as a model…or inspiration in his early years.

    How often you talked to the Singapore Malay, by first conceal you Chinese superiority, and start the conversation by calling LKY a dictator, you might hear the truth from a Singapore Malay.

    Racial politics is messy – even in the U.S. All I have to say, there are many, many angles to view the problem of race in Malaysia. In my view, it starts with the Malay insistence of their own “superiority.”

    I never deny Singapore success, but I believe it is the contribution of each and every Singaporean, and among them, many are poor Chinese migrant that seek for a better life, who are willing to work 18 hours a day, they are one that deserved more praise than the dictator name LKY.

    Finally something we can both agree on. The same thing can be said of any leader in history, any of today’s CEO. Human beings have a tendency to human worship, they focus on praising certain people and elevating them to the status of Gods (the pope, Obama, Larry Page, Bill Gates, the Clintons, etc.) at the expense of so many others who had contributed.

    I am sure something like this also applies to LKY. There are so many ordinary unsung heroes. But regardless of that, leadership matter (right?). And if so, LKY is one of the great ones.

  12. April 4th, 2015 at 18:25 | #12

    @Rhan
    Not sure how you get the impression that LKY looked down on the Chinese? So he looked down on himself, his sons and those around him. He’s being an extreme realist, he learned how to write Chinese and speak in Mandarin to win election. However, he felt that those who are Chinese/Malay/Tamil educated with no English or Malay language skill is difficult in their social advancement. If you read my article he introduced dual languages education for all Singaporean. And please don’t quote incident that never happened, Zhou Enlai is too shrew a politician to ever called anybody a banana. Would you be able to provide any evidence? LKY never singled out Chinese language school, his education reform is across the board. Although I have misgiving too but it was the past and he tried to make amend after the average Singaporean are fluent in Singlish.

    As to your opinion that because Malaysia practised race and religion based politics, you assume the same of LKY. That is so far from the truth. In the 1950s to 1960s, communal politics are almost unavoidable mainly due to the language shortcoming. An average ethnic Chinese, Malay or Indian simply are unable to serve in a constituent that can only speak a single language. That’s why the earliest political parties in Malaya are all race based, for example UMNO (United Malay Organization), MCA (Malayan Chinese Association), MIC (Malayan Indian Congress) etc. The PAP was able to break from this mold because it has strong socialist leaning that transcend communal politics.

    The founding president of UMNO, Onn Jafaar also has a changed of heart and proposed the concept of Malaysian for Malaysia. His reform was blocked and he was ousted from UMNO. However, LKY carried on the battle cry of Malaysian for Malaysia (Singapore was then part of Malaysia). He was so successful that his multi-racial party, PAP defeated UMNO even in Singapore’s Malay majority constituent, granted the candidates he field were Malay. This is why Tengku Abdul Rahman see him and the PAP as a threat. LKY was not a Chinese chauvinist, he intend on becoming a leader for the various ethnic groups of Malaysia. From day one, the PAP is a multi-racial party. By contrast only a Malay can join UMNO, Chinese MCA, Indian MIC, which is true even today! I don’t know what information gave you the impression that LKY played the race card to the max. Care to elaborate? So you spoken to a few thousand Malay and they told you that?

    But why do you chose to ignored PAP affirmative action policy since 1965. After Singapore was kicked out, PAP proceed to introduce quota system in the higher education, housing estate, civil to make sure that each ethnic groups are proportionally represented in Singapore. There are a few race related riots in both Malaya and Singapore but that was due to other issues and pretty much disappeared in Singapore by the 1970s. In contrast, racial tension still reared it ugly head from time to time in Malaysia.

    I think you have mistaken Singapore’s siege mentality as discriminating and fear mongering against Malay or Muslim. In the Singapore armed forces do you know that Malay is used as the language of field command. And contrary to most belief, the national language of Singapore is also Malay, so is the national anthem. Did you not forget that in the 1960s, Indonesia actually launched military action against Malaysia which includes Singapore? Singapore was on the receiving end as well. After independence, it was the ultra nationalist in Malaysia that repeatedly threatened Singapore, it is not the other way round. This is why Singapore spent more than a fifth of their national budget on defence. I guess in your eyes it is their fault as well. Frankly, what you are quoting is the untrue history that was taught in Malaysia. It is LKY’s fault that there are racial tension in Malaysia. WTF? The reality was that LKY and PAP has a good chance of defeating the UMNO, MCA, MIC coalition and becoming the prime minister of Malaysia. That’s the main reason Singapore was kicked out! And I have to agree with Allen’s title that losing LKY was a big lost for Malaysia, and also Asia.

    Do you know that the Democratic Action Party in Malaysia now used to be known as PAP and currently govern the state of Penang. Yes, it changed its name after Singapore became independence.

  13. Rhan
    April 5th, 2015 at 08:53 | #13

    @Allen

    “I don’t think the fear is mere ideology.”
    Then for how long you think we shall live in fear? Like the Arab Israel conflict?

    “As for whether LKY is spineless”
    Those who support LKY would say he is pragmatic, we always claim Chinese who make it as pragmatic, whatever the term pragmatic mean.

    “As for your take on capitalism”
    Let me clarify, I am fine with capitalist, capitalism, anglophile, democratic, liberal etc etc, Singapore is more capitalistic than many western country, Singapore do not have minimum wages, no welfare system in place, the poor can go to hell for all I care, the housing policy have much to do with scarcity of land, many business were in government control because LKY and PAP think they would (want to) rule Singapore forever, Malaysia have many similar policy, Ray will apply a different term for same policy on different countries. Those that managed by Chinese is socialism, or Chinese way of pragmatism and cultural, those that managed by non Chinese is feudalism, nepotism, cronyism, and the bad nature of democratic and capitalism.

    When I assert LKY a lackey, what I meant is he was once Japanese lackey, a British lackey, a Malaysia lackey, a China Communist lackey, as long as he could achieve what he wants. And like I said, many use the term pragmatic. To some extent, I can agree.

  14. Rhan
    April 6th, 2015 at 09:05 | #14

    @Allen

    “Are you saying capitalism = corruption”
    Sorry my not so good English confuse you. What I am trying to say is capitalism may not lead to corruption as a response to Denial, Singapore is very strict on corruption, but corruption can take many form.

    “If he were a true Anglophile he would not have switched”
    I never say he switch, read his memoir about Nantah, he never switch, he merely a good actor.

    “In my view, presuming you are fair in your assessments (and I don’t believe you have been)”
    Again I never say I am fair, I already make it very clear in my first comment that whether we perceive LKY as great or no depend on where we live, our background, our education and our ideology in life.

    “but one cannot fairly call him “everything but never a democrat.””
    LKY either sue his opponent into bankruptcy (he never lose any court case) or put them in jail, he labelled those that oppose him as communist, and incarcerate them for many years, many (Chia Thye Poh) = 32 years without trail.

    “Also don’t confuse CCP with Chinese again”
    No i am not, a simple question, do you think LKY would prefer ROC if USA / The west choose to side with CCP?

    “In my view, it starts with the Malay insistence of their own “superiority.””
    Maybe, however I rarely meet Malay that give me an impression of superiority feel, they have a pretty short civilisation if compare again Chinese and Indian, which are two of the most ancient civilisation of the world, the Malay have to fall back to religion ie Islam as a way to make them feel on par with the Chinese and Indian. The many riots that happened have everything to do with politics and power grasp, which I think one of the solutions is democratic, a true form of democratic that help to create a balance in society, otherwise Chinese would forever become a scapegoat. And the highly literate Singaporean should demonstrate a good example and shall lead in this region, instead the most populated and poor Indonesia seem advance better in term of democratic and liberalism, while Malaysia and Singapore still engage in a war of word of Chinese this and Malay that.

    No doubt LKY is 功大于过 if we solely look at Singapore alone, but I see LKY from a broader perspective, I am perfectly fine should you disagree with me.

  15. Rhan
    April 7th, 2015 at 10:21 | #15

    @Ray

    A realist is therefore warranted to close down Nantah, to snub the Chinese educated, to allow the Chinese education a natural dead, and to comment that those with Chinese education couldn’t survive? The Baba’s Burden ka? LKY of course don’t look down himself, his son and many others, but he look down China and Chinese (China) during the 50, 60 and 70’s, he also disdain those Nanyang Chinese that are more incline toward Chinese Culture and I do read Zhou labeled LKY a banana, I have no evidence Zhou ever said this, perhaps you may enlighten me if this is a joke. The dual language is to distinguish the Chinese and at the same time unite the Singaporean, you think what LKY did is at any different with Umno via Islam and Bahasa Melayu?

    Onn Jaafar proposed to open Umno for all Malaysian regardless of race, he never touch on the Malay privilege, while LKY concept of MM was to challenge the Malay rights (whether it is justifiable for a native to enjoy certain rights and privilege is subject to debate, look at the native in America / Australia) and his target is the Chinese vote, we must not forget the Malay and non Malay numbers at that time is almost equal, his first objective was to replace MCA. And he failed, his PAP won only one seat from a total of nine that PAP contest in Peninsular Malaysia, read LKY and PAP during the period 1963 to 1965. See how LKY turned from an inclusive Malaysian to become a racist for the sake to remain in power. The less machiavellian DAP follow LKY approach and walk into Umno trap, the Chinese Malaysian then suffer the worst setback in 1969 race riot.

    Singapore racial tension is kept to the minimum because Chinese is the majority, more than 80%, is that not why LKY insist that Singapore Chinese population cannot go below 75%? And it is no surprise you would replace the term racism to pragmatic and realist. Then what about no Malay in the sensitive military post? 90% Singaporean that can’t speak their National Language is a symbol of equality or hypocrisy?

    Where you learn your Malaya and Malaysia history btw? Singapore? Or you are the typical double standard Chinese Malaysian that adored LKY and PAP but contempt Mahathir and Umno though both are much identical in many things they did? Chinese think LKY a statesman, many Malay also believe the same wrt Mahathir. I see both are dictator.

    Read 邓亮洪 to know more about LKY.

  16. April 7th, 2015 at 15:22 | #16

    @Rhan
    LKY closed down Nantah, nationalized it together with Chinese primary and secondary school because he felt that they are breeding ground for Communism. Do you know that the degrees offered by Nantah and diploma by Chinese secondary schools are not recognized by the govn’t? Of course he acted harshly and he apologized later in life but at that time that was the reality on the ground in Malaya as well. The Malayan govn’t forced nationalized a bunch of Chinese, Tamil and evangelistic schools too. The PAP made the school conform to British standard so they can be recognized. They were both wrong but we are criticizing them decades after the fact. It is like me saying if I am in charge of PRC, the GLF and CR would never happened.

    “The dual language is to distinguish the Chinese and at the same time unite the Singaporean, you think what LKY did is at any different with Umno via Islam and Bahasa Melayu?”

    You see, you also agree that using English unite Singaporean. There’s a major difference with Malaysia which uses the language and religion of the dominant group to sideline the others. What language do you propose Singapore or Malaysia use? I would say all Singaporean speak Malay albeit brokenly, same with the percentage of Canadian on proficiency of French. Can all Swiss citizens speak Romansh? In Singapore at least Malay is given a constitutional protection. You see, LKY was trapped in two sharp points, when he chose English he is attacked as anti Chinese. What if he had chosen Chinese, then he will be attacked as a Chinese chauvinist. Also do you know that Malaysia refuses to recognized degrees of Singaporean’s University? This is probably the saddest joke ever.

    Like I have said LKY never looked down on China, in his view the ROC is the legal representative of China. He also dislike being called Harry so he changed his name to LKY. So you should be careful when making sweeping comment, it is unfair to both Zhou and Lee.
    LKY is right to challenge so-called Malay special rights. The Malay are not the Aborigine people, the Orang Asli is the true aborigine which is now badly marginalized like Australia’s etc. In the election of 1969, if Singapore is still in Malaysia, the PAP would have won the election. Didn’t you know the 1969 riot was sparked by infighting within UMNO. Razak’s faction ousted both Harun Idris and Abdul Rahman, using the Chinese as scape goat much like 1998 in Indonesia! Get your history straight.

    “Singapore racial tension is kept to the minimum because Chinese is the majority, more than 80%, is that not why LKY insist that Singapore Chinese population cannot go below 75%?”

    Hmm, so explain the us that why when the Chinese is the majority, racial tension is kept to the minimum? Like I have said Singapore has been under siege since being expelled from Malaysia. You are on a case of blaming the victim. You imagine that Singapore in the 1960s and 1970s is the rich and educated country of today. Singapore has presidents that are ethnic Malay, Indian, Eurasian and Chinese, would Malaysia see even a an ethnic Chinese or Indian above the rank of transport minister? There are Malay in sensitive part of Singapore’s armed forces like fighter, submarine and tank force. The proportion of Malay is very low but they exist. Unlike UMNO, the PAP is a multi-ethnic party. Today Singapore still depended on Malaysia for its supply of food and water.

    You considered Malaysia and Singapore racial policy as similar which is so far from the truth. I have quoted so many examples and you don’t even have one to refute me. It is like saying that the PRC is treating its minority the same as Australia. Comparing Mahatir and LKY is an even a bigger joke. Mahatir repeated racist statements on Chinese and Jews are world famous. Frankly, I don’t know why you can be so blind. There used to be a Malaysian-Singapore airlines. Simply compare the trajectory of these two airlines and countries after they split in 1965.

    Again, if you want to attack LKY fine, but who do you want to compare him with? The pope or dalai lama? Judge a politician on results. Mahatir controls a country that is rich in petroleum, gas, tin, rubber, palm oil, timber etc and the end result is what we see today. Mahatir’s son is now the chief minister of his home state Kedah, which is still one of the poorest and backward state of Malaysia. During his reign’ Pewarja, MAS, UE, Renong and a host of SOEs almost gone under. They are bailed out by the finance ministry, which caused the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim. You said LKY sued his opponents hence he is autocratic but his opponents can sue him too, it goes both way. LKY knows how to play his game of politics both domestically and internationally, benefiting majority of Singaporean. But in your view he is a suck up. Can you even name a case as horrid as Altantuyaa happening in Singapore?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Shaariibuugiin_Altantuyaa.

    Also, I guess you don’t know what happened in ISA detention centres and prisons in Malaysia, even today. Do yo how many ethnic Indian are killed every year by police in Malaysia? Your rosy view of Malaysia is from the point of view of an ethnic Chinese, imagine yourself some other minority like Indian, Iban, Kadazan, Orang Asli etc. Who would they prefer? UMNO or PAP.

  17. April 7th, 2015 at 16:40 | #17

    @Rhan

    I never say he switch, read his memoir about Nantah, he never switch, he merely a good actor.

    After reading our back and forth many times, I’ll concede. If you want to call him an anglophile, fine. I don’t think we have the same definitions. I’ve given my reasons why he is not, and you have given yours why he is. I’ll let you have the last word.

    LKY either sue his opponent into bankruptcy (he never lose any court case) or put them in jail, he labelled those that oppose him as communist, and incarcerate them for many years, many (Chia Thye Poh) = 32 years without trail.

    To me, that by itself means nothing. Are you complaining about Singapore laws or LKY’s use of laws. There are many versions of laws, and I personally have no problem at all with Singapore’s version. I have also no misgivings about leaders using rule of law to defend themselves. I personally don’t believe being a leader means you must take slander and libel, etc.

    Again, you may not like his politics, but that per se doesn’t disqualify him to be a “democrat.”

    No i am not, a simple question, do you think LKY would prefer ROC if USA / The west choose to side with CCP?

    CCP – in line with everything I’ve said here.

    Maybe, however I rarely meet Malay that give me an impression of superiority feel, they have a pretty short civilisation if compare again Chinese and Indian, which are two of the most ancient civilisation of the world, the Malay have to fall back to religion ie Islam as a way to make them feel on par with the Chinese and Indian. The many riots that happened have everything to do with politics and power grasp, which I think one of the solutions is democratic, a true form of democratic that help to create a balance in society, otherwise Chinese would forever become a scapegoat.

    A group’s sense of Superiority arise from many sources, historic, racial, religious, economic, military, etc. I haven’t studied carefully Malay’s source of “superiority,” because Malaysia reeks of it, BAD.

    As for “real democracy” to solve racial tensions, I have no idea what that means. Theoretically it makes no sense for me. Democracy is but a tool. If an ethnic group want to suppress others, it can do so through democracy. If ethnic groups want to come together and reconcile, they may do it without democracy.

    Democracy per se doesn’t promote cohesion or racial harmony; but in recent memory, it certainly appears to fan ethnic discords more than calm them.

    I wonder if you have, for example, read this book by Amy Chua (World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability), or studied the intractable ethnic and religious problems in India, the world’s largest democracy, or have taken a look at the classic Politics in Plural Societies: A Theory of Democratic Instability (Stanford archived version here), or followed contemporary stories in Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Rawanda, Myanmar, Bosnia…

  18. Rhan
    April 11th, 2015 at 23:27 | #18

    @Ray

    LKY close down Nantah and etc because he realized the Chinese educated dare to oppose him, he never regrets his action, he said he should close Nantah much earlier. Your rant on GLF and CR as comparison is pretty childish because the fact is Chinese school in Malaysia prosper because Malaysia do not have Anglophile like LKY and the Chinese Malaysian are persistence in our pursued of Chinese education, and fortunately we don’t have such ruthless Anglophile in the Malay polity. And please ask yourselves why even a shrew Zhou called LKY a banana? and why a British MP name LKY “the best bloody Englishman east of Suez”. Me and you grow up in an environment with school like Methodist, St John, Victoria, La Salle versus school like 中华, 尊孔, 三德, 兴华. I know what l means when I said the Anglophile look down on China and Chinese.

    I never said I agree using English unite Singaporean, I suppose UMNO, LKY, and Huntington, or even CCP (at least they are mind enough to use the term Putonghua) would agree with such policy. I never expect Singapore to use Chinese as their official language, my point is to provide and push for a level playing field for languages.

    And sorry to say this though I am a Chinese, I think the Malay is much honest to pronounce Malaysia is essentially race base, unlike the hypocrite LKY. Across the causeway is a mirror image of the creation of Umno and PAP, of course in the reverse, but Chinese like you would pretend never see it, and in the name of meritocracy, the moment you walk down to the airport and immigration counter, or any office, you would see which race is working at the counter, the reception, and cleaning. Read Harry and his son comment on the sensitive military post, and why there is no Malay pilot. And did Singapore do away to fill in race column in most of their official form? What you have quoted is a repetitive I hear/read daily from our Umno propaganda media, so please spare it as I am a member of the Malaysia opposition party, Anwar’s PKR. I join almost all the rally against the government. So you don’t have to waste your time to tell me how bad and the mismanagement of Barisan Nasional. My disagreement with you is I see both Umno and PAP make use of race, gerrymandering, and dirty tactic to preserve power, but you insist one is better than the other simply because Singapore make more money? Or it is a Chinese government? Moreover there is no proof that a country that rich in natural resource would progress better than one without, at least not in Asia, just compares Japan, Korea versus Indonesia, Burma.

  19. April 12th, 2015 at 10:26 | #19

    @Rhan
    I am not going to fall to your level by using personal attack. You can’t dispute the facts. Chinese schools did not prosper in Malaysia, their diplomas are not recognized in the country. Almost half was organized as national type school in the 1960s. Proficiency of Chinese language might be better than the rest of SE Asia and I applauded the leaders who go to prisons to fight for this cause but what’s your alternative? In case you don’t know, ethnic Chinese majority parties in Malaysia are also dominated by your so-called Anglophile, you simply don’t want to take responsibility for mistaken word choicesyou have used. Tan Cheng Lock, Lim Chong Ewe, and now the father son team of Lim Kit Siang, are they not Anglophiles in the mold of LKY? None of them bothered to learn written Chinese like LKY though.

    You keep on repeating that Zhou called LKY a banana but can’t provide a shred of evidence after I rightfully told you Zhou is too tactful a person to said so. So are you blaming LKY because he couldn’t organized Singapore like Switzerland? That’s why I’ve used the GLF and CR example, you are merely a after the matter Zhuge Liang. You expect LKY to be all perfect in the 1960s and 1970s which is unrealistic.

    You keep on harping that Singapore is like Malaysia, but refuse to accept the fact that if Singapore practiced the politics of the latter it would be a poor hell hole with no resources to fall back to. I think you are just too naive in the understanding of politics, you can’t pick and chose from a part bin. For example, come election you only have one vote to cast for one party, what would it be for you, UMNO, MCA, PAP or PKR? It is as simple as that, LKY is not a saint but is a very effective politician who has lead Singapore. Simply compare his results with that of Malaysia is glaring. You gladly raised the point that he is like Mahatir but when I shot him down you simply kept quiet.
    In the early days, LKY feared ethnic Malay pilot might defect but now they have fighter pilots of difference races. LKY said he regretted doing two things: decimating the Chinese education system, giving Singaporean women too much advantage. So what you said is not true, LKY regretted crippling the education system. He takes a lot of flak for insisting he stands on the 2nd statement. In Singapore the proportion of civil servant is pretty much according to the population, hence you observed that the majority of civil servants in Singapore is ethnic Chinese, but they are not 95% like in Malaysia where Malay is maybe 60%! Singapore use the race defination to practice affirmative action not for discrimination. For example, in each housing project, the ethnic group have to be kept in proportion. In election, it is the same.

    No, Malaysia practiced communal politics despite having visionary like On Jafaar. Singapore started out that way but evolved into meritocracy. That’s what I am trying to tell you. Singapore is not perfect but they don’t allow murders in detention centres or foreign nationals. As for PKR, I joined the party after Tian Chua got arrested and even run under its banner for both state and parliamentary level. Unfortunately, PKR is simply not PAP. I would rate PAP a 9 in efficiency, PKR would be lucky to get a 6, of course UMNO would be around 5. However, by practicing communal politics it is still the dominant party.

    “Moreover there is no proof that a country that rich in natural resource would progress better than one without, at least not in Asia, just compares Japan, Korea versus Indonesia, Burma.”

    That’s my point, bad communal politics destroy a country’s progress despite its natural resources. In the good of days of high oil price, Petronas alone made more profit than SIA, Singtel, ST engineering and Media Corp combined! In my view population of Malaysia should be richer if better governance is in place. Malaysian opposition politics are still plague by communal politics. Unless, DAP and PKR would merge there is no chance of them beating UMNO. As a politician I would rate LKY close to a 9, Anwar barely 7. You might think differently but if Anwar is as pragmatic and has the integrity(mainly in practicing meritocracy) of LKY, the opposition would have won the election in 2013 despite the gerrymandering. Maybe you would rate Anwar higher than LKY. Our disagreement seems to be that you expect LKY to be a flawless saint. I praised him for what he is and achieved. However, judging from your choice of supporting PKR, you also support my position which is choosing the lesser of two evil. Because you don’t have perfection in life you chose the so-called best platform to work with. That’s real politics which produce results.

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