Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Thoughts of Lee Kuan Yew

As Opposition Leader:
"But we either believe in democracy or we not. If we do, then, we must say categorically, without qualification, that no restraint from the any democratic processes, other than by the ordinary law of the land, should be allowed... If you believe in democracy, you must believe in it unconditionally. If you believe that men should be free, then, they should have the right of free association, of free speech, of free publication. Then, no law should permit those democratic processes to be set at nought, and no excuse, whether of security, should allow a government to be deterred from doing what it knows to right, and what it must know to be right... "
- Opposition Leader Lee Kuan Yew, Legislative Assembly Debates, April 27, 1955

"If it is not totalitarian to arrest a man and detain him, when you cannot charge him with any offence against any written law - if that is not what we have always cried out against in Fascist states - then what is it?… If we are to survive as a free democracy, then we must be prepared, in principle, to concede to our enemies - even those who do not subscribe to our views - as much constitutional rights as you concede yourself."
- Lee Kuan Yew, Legislative Assembly Debates, Sept 21, 1955

"Repression, Sir is a habit that grows. I am told it is like making love-it is always easier the second time! The first time there may be pangs of conscience, a sense of guilt. But once embarked on this course with constant repetition you get more and more brazen in the attack. All you have to do is to dissolve organizations and societies and banish and detain the key political workers in these societies. Then miraculously everything is tranquil on the surface. Then an intimidated press and the government-controlled radio together can regularly sing your praises, and slowly and steadily the people are made to forget the evil things that have already been done, or if these things are referred to again they're conveniently distorted and distorted with impunity, because there will be no opposition to contradict."
- Lee Kuan Yew as an opposition PAP member speaking to David Marshall, Singapore Legislative Assembly, Debates, 4 October, 1956

"I pointed to an article with bold headlines reporting that the police had refused to allow the PAP to hold a rally at Empress Place, and then to the last paragraph where in small type it added the meeting would take place where we were now. I compared this with a prominent report about an SPA rally. This was flagrant bias."
- Lee Kuan Yew complaining about the Straits Times in 1959.

"Repression can only go up to a point. When it becomes too acute, the instruments of repression, namely the army and the police, have been proved time and time again in history to have turned their guns on their masters."
- Lee Kuan Yew, Straits Times, May 5, 1959

"If I were in authority in Singapore indefinitely without having to ask those who are governed whether they like what is being done, then I would not have the slightest doubt that I could govern much more effectively in their interests."
- Mr Lee Kuan Yew, 1962

As Leader of Ruling Party:
"We must encourage those who earn less than $200 per month and cannot afford to nurture and educate many children never to have more than two... We will regret the time lost if we do not now take the first tentative steps towards correcting a trend which can leave our society with a large number of the physically, intellectually and culturally anaemic."
- Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, 1967

"I make no apologies that the PAP is the Government and the Government is the PAP."
- PM Lee Kuan Yew, 1982, Petir (in 'Parties and Politics,' Husin Mutalib)

"If you don't include your women graduates in your breeding pool and leave them on the shelf, you would end up a more stupid society...So what happens? There will be less bright people to support dumb people in the next generation. That's a problem."
- PM Lee Kuan Yew, National Day rally, 1983

"We have to lock up people, without trial, whether they are communists, whether they are language chauvinists, whether they are religious extremists. If you don't do that, the country would be in ruins."
- PM Lee Kuan Yew, 1986

"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 neighbour 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."
- PM Lee Kuan Yew, Straits Times, 20 April 1987

"Every Singaporean who owns a flat can double his value in today's terms within the next 15 to 20 years. In other words, in the next 20 years, we can make everybody worth twice as much, at least."
- PM Lee Kuan Yew, National Day Rally, 1990

As Senior Minister:
"(Liberal democracy) will lead to indiscipline and disorderly conduct which are inimical to development."
- Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, The Economist, Aug 27, 1994

"They say people can think for themselves? Do you honestly believe that the chap who can't pass primary six knows the consequence of his choice when he answers a question viscerally, on language, culture and religion? But we knew the consequences. We would starve, we would have race riots. We would disintegrate."
- SM Lee Kuan Yew, The Man & His Ideas, 1997

"I have developed a deep aversion to welfarism and social security...What we have attempted in Singapore is asset enhancement, not subsidies. This has kept the people self-reliant, keen and strong...Most have hoarded their growing wealth and have lived better on the interests and dividends they earn."
- SM Lee Kuan Yew, 'The Man and His Ideas', 1997

"Supposing Catherine Lim was writing about me and not the prime minister...She would not dare, right? Because my posture, my response has been such that nobody doubts that if you take me on, I will put on knuckle-dusters and catch you in a cul de sac...Anybody who decides to take me on needs to put on knuckle dusters. If you think you can hurt me more than I can hurt you, try. There is no other way you can govern a Chinese society."
- SM Lee Kuan Yew, The Man and His Ideas, 1997

"If you are a's our job to politically destroy you. Put it this way. As long as JB Jeyaratnam stands for what he stands for - a thoroughly destructive force - we will knock him. Everybody knows that in my bag I have a hatchet, and a very sharp one. You take me on, I take my hatchet, we meet in the cul-de-sac."
- SM Lee Kuan Yew, The Man And His Ideas, 1997

"If nobody is afraid of me, I'm meaningless."
- SM Lee Kuan Yew, 'The Man And His Ideas', 1997

"If, for instance, you put in a Malay officer who's very religious and who has family ties in Malaysia in charge of a machine gun unit, that's a very tricky business. We've got to know his background... I'm saying these things because they are real, and if I don't think that, and I think even if today the Prime Minister doesn't think carefully about this, we could have a tragedy."
- SM Lee Kuan Yew, Straits Times, September 19, 1999 on Malays in the Singapore Armed Forces

"I was instrumental in getting John Olds and I defend every single cent that we paid him."
- SM Lee Kuan Yew on why DBS paid a reported $10.9m in total to ex-CEO John Olds and ex-President Ng Kee Choo in 2000, Straits Times, May 23, 2001

"I ignore polling as a method of government. I think that shows a certain weakness of mind - an inability to chart a course whichever way the wind blows, whichever way the media encourages the people to go, you follow. You are not a leader."
- SM Lee Kuan Yew, Success Stories, 2002

As Minister Mentor:
"Political reform need not go hand in hand with economic liberalisation. I do not believe that if you are libertarian, full of diverse opinions, full of competing ideas in the market place, full of sound and fury, therefore you will succeed."
- Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, Straits Times, Aug 17,2004

"If I have to shoot 200,000 students to save China from another 100 years of disorder, so be it."
- MM Lee Kuan Yew endorsing the Tiananmen Square massacre, Straits Times, Aug 17,2004

"There is nothing to prevent you from pushing your propaganda, to push your programme out to the students or with the public at large...and if you can carry the ground, if you are right, you win. That's democracy."
- MM Lee Kuan Yew telling students to form political parties, Straits Times, Feb 1,2005

"I see the marketplace of ideas, as in the Philippines, and I see chaos."
- MM Lee Kuan Yew, Time Magazine, Dec 5,2006

Friday, March 24, 2006

Comic Relief Part II

Lydia Lim, Senior Political Correspondent of the Straits Times wrote: "I think its pointless to vote for an opposition candidate who clearly lacks the ability to scrutinise and critique policies in an intelligent way."

Perhaps she hasn't been covering speeches from the ruling party's policy makers.

"Only 5% are unemployed. We still have 95% who are employed."- Transport Minister Yeo Cheow Tong.

"Singaporean workers have become more expensive than those in the USA and Australia."- Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan.

"Retrenchment is good for singapore. If there is no retrenchments, then I worry."- Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.

“People support CPF cuts because there are no protest outside parliament."- Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

"We started off with (the name) and after looking at everything, the name that really tugged at the heartstrings was in front of us. The name itself is not new, but what has been used informally so far has endeared itself to all parties."- National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan on the $400,000 exercise to rename Marina Bay as Marina Bay.

"...I regret making the decision because, in the end, the baby continued to be in intensive care, and KKH now runs up a total bill of more than $300,000..."- Health Minister Lim Hng Kiang, regretting the decision to save a baby's life because Kandang Kerbau Hospital ran up a $300,000 bill.

"Save on one hairdo and use the money for breast screening."- another gem from Lim Hng Kiang

"We are not considering a casino but an IR- an integrated resort. IRs are quite different."- Communications Minister George Yeo.

"Contrary to public perception, the White Horse classification is not to ensure that sons of influential men gets preferential treatment. Instead it is to ensure that they do not get preferential treatment."- Member of Parliament Cedric Foo.

"If we want to be a world-class city, if we want to be a nation that has got very good standards of public hygiene and cleanliness, the best place to start with is the public toilet."- Member of Parliament Amy Khor.

"If you don't include your women graduates in your breeding pool and leave them on the shelf, you would end up a more stupid society...So what happens? There will be less bright people to support dumb people in the next generation. That's a problem."- Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew in 1983.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

One Man's View on Religion

Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, 82, was featured in the 12th December 2005 edition of the Time Magazine, and the closing paragraphs of the interview provided an insight of his view of religion:

TIME: Do you think of yourself as a religious man? Do you have a religious faith that keeps you going, sustains you?

LEE:"We do psychometric tests on our candidates for important jobs. There is a scale of values: social, aesthetic, economic, religious, etc., six values. I cannot judge myself, but I believe I would not score very high on religious value. I do not believe that prayer can cure, but that prayer may comfort and help. At the same time, I've seen my closest friend [former Finance Minister] Hon Sui Sen on his deathbed; he had had a heart attack and was fighting for his life, doctors were there, the priest was there, but there was no fear in his eyes. He and his wife were devout Catholics. They were both convinced they would meet again in the hereafter. I believe a man or a woman who has deep faith in God has an enormous strength facing crises, an advantage in life.

Many years ago I read a book - The Real Enemy by Pierre d'Harcourt, a French Catholic. He recounted his experience in a Nazi concentration camp. There were two groups of people in his camp. Those with convictions survived, and those who had no deep convictions died. The two groups who had convictions were the deeply religious - of whom he, a Catholic, was one - and the communists. They had the same unshakeable conviction that they will triumph. The others - famous doctors, talented musicians and so on - they woud trade their food for cigarettes, knowing that if they did that, one morning they would not be able to go out into the cold for the roll call. But they had given up. The communists and the deeply religious fought on and survived.

There are some things in the human spirit that are beyond reason."

His friend Mr S Rajaratnam, who would have turned 91 years old on Saturday 25th Feb 2006, died of heart failure at 3.15 pm on Wednesday. Speaking to journalists in Jakarta, where he heard news of Rajaratnam's death, Mr Lee said the sorrow he felt went back 8 years.

The two had met in 1952, when Mr Rajaratnam was a journalist and Mr Lee a trade union lawyer. In 1959, Mr Lee persuaded Mr Rajaratnam to stand for elections and they went on to shape the early history of Singapore.

Mr Lee said, "Well in the case of Mr S Rajaratnam, mentally his brain died several years ago. When I last saw him in 1998, he could not recognise me. And he could not speak to me. So this is just.. the end. In fact it came then - because when the brain stops to function, then you only have the body.

"So I have got used to it now for 8 years. So my sadness went back to that period....I'm sad for him and the people who had to look after him for all this period."