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 Lee Kwan Yew

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PostSubject: Lee Kwan Yew   Sun 22 Mar 2015, 23:32

I hear that Lee Kwan Yew has died.  We spent three days in Singapore a couple of years ago and I read more about him at that time (though still know very little).  I bought his biography later from Amazon for my son who likes biographies of achievers, though I haven't read it myself.   I do find it amazing that when Singapore was discarded by Malaysia in the late 1960s, Lee Kwan Yew was able to immediately plan and carry out his ideas for Singapore to become the powerhouse economy it now is, and quite a different society from the little rural place it had been till then.  Not without cost, of course, and Singapore's reputation as being ruled by an iron fist and not allowed much freedom of action or even thought is well-known. But it has brought a vital, achieving country/city state.  Nevertheless I don't suppose any of us would actually want our own country to be ruled by dictators no matter how messy and complicated the alternative is.

It's always interesting to read the newspapers of a country you are in, and the newspaper at the time was concerned with where Singapore Inc was heading, and if it was able to continue its progress. New Zealand gets referred to sometimes as New Zealand Inc and I hate it, as if we were nothing more than a branded economic entity.  I wonder if Singaporeans dislike the term too?
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PostSubject: Re: Lee Kwan Yew   Fri 27 Mar 2015, 23:05

He was certainly a controversial figure - reviled by some and admired by others.

The caricature of a 'dictator' ruling with an 'iron fist', however, is just that - a caricature. Although Singapore's authoritarian government has been criticised over the decades for its policies relating to civil liberties, there were no real examples of infringements of basic human rights as such.

Singapore can't really be described as having been a 'rural' place when it separated from Malaysia in 1965. Singapore's population then numbered 1,800,000. That was more than double the 800,000 which the city's population had been twenty years earlier during the Second World War. In other words it was already a major conurbation in the 1940s. And it had been a busy port for over a hundred years even before then. As early as the 1860s its population had surpassed 100,000 inhabitants.
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