Dear Dayre,

It is only at the demise of a great man that the world now looks through the chronicles of his life, & we find out just what kind of a life our revered state founder & Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew led.

The below paragraphs are not written by me as I hope you can tell, but are simply excerpts from various articles I've read, speaking of the life of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. These are the paragraphs that really struck a chord with me and I wanted to share them with everyone else as well.

I did not want to do this my usual "Dear Dayre" style, and in fact wanted to leave the excerpts as they are, but just in case I confuse readers, here's a disclaimer that I did not write any of the below.

#thankyouLKY

The brutality of the Japanese was seminal in the formation of Lee’s political views. “I did not enter politics: they brought politics upon me,” he said. He narrowly avoided the fate of other Chinese youths who were rounded up on lorries by Japanese troops to be taken to the beach, forced to dig their own graves, then shot.

On one occasion as he tried to cross a bridge, a Japanese sentry thrust the bayonet of his rifle through the brim of Lee’s hat, slapped him, made him kneel, then sent him sprawling with a kick. This and many other humiliations to which he was witness made him “determined to work for freedom from servitude and foreign domination”.

***

Soulless but spotlessly hygienic public housing projects replaced barrack blocks, shophouses and shanty towns. In the consumer boom of the 1980s, glittering (and largely tax-free) shopping malls attracted the millions of tourists who passed through the island’s vast, immaculate airport at Changi, once the site of the notorious Japanese prison camp. The economy grew at a phenomenal rate, with full employment year after year.

***

At the end of the working day in the Istana, his official quarters, he returned to his plain family home nearby; he ate sparingly, rarely drank anything stronger than tea, and allowed himself no distractions except golf. He was said at one time to be the best golfer among the world’s leaders, though as Lyndon Johnson remarked in a banquet speech, “that’s a pretty small league”.

***

I am often accused of interfering in the private lives of citizens. Yes, if I did not, had I not done that, we wouldn’t be here today. And I say without the slightest remorse, that we wouldn’t be here, we would not have made economic progress, if we had not intervened on very personal matters – who your neighbor is, how you live, the noise you make, how you spit, or what language you use. We decide what is right. Never mind what the people think.

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