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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Time cover story on Lee Kuan Yew

The Asian edition of TIME has a cover story on Lee Kuan Yew (Minister Mentor of Singapore). It also features an exclusive interview with LKY. Definitely worth a read.

Everyone who lives in Asia today thinks they are watching history being made; Lee Kuan Yew is one of those who can say, without fear of contradiction, that he helped make it.

When Singapore was ejected from Malaysia in 1965, it had no natural resources save for the enterprise of its largely Chinese population and its port's position astride one of the world's major shipping lanes. It possessed little industry or infrastructure besides a naval base and ship-repair facilities left behind by Britain's shrinking navy. Most of the population lived cheek by jowl in ramshackle two-story shophouses or traditional village houses fashioned of rattan and bamboo. It was poorer than Mexico. Today, the city is one of Asia's most modern metropolises, the business district bristling with skyscrapers and ringed by highways. Over 90% of the population own their own homes, most of them well-maintained and scrupulously clean apartments in government-built blocks. Singapore's cultural life—a phrase that was once oxymoronic—is now at least as vibrant as those of other cities in Southeast Asia, with a sparkling new performing-arts center and some of the best restaurants in the world. After decades of strong economic growth, per-capita income last year was $24,220, about the same as Italy. As they trip around Asia, popping off to Bali or Perth for the weekend while dressed in Prada and Gucci, wealthier Singaporeans could be forgiven for pitying their former European masters, whose day in the sun—they will sometimes tell you—is now all but over.

Those who wish Asia well will hope that Singapore does so. This is not just because modern Singaporeans deserve the chance to show that they are sufficiently talented to hold their own in any clash of ideas and ideologies (which they most certainly are.) It is because Singapore's achievements, and Lee's influence, extend far beyond the shores of an island of just 700 sq km and 4 million people. Lee's little nation is a testimony to what hard work and discipline can do to improve lives. That, perhaps, is legacy enough. But what a place in history there would be for Lee if his successors prove that Singapore can marry continued economic prosperity to a more open, tolerant, creative, and, yes, messy society—and hence create a new miracle, from which other nations, bigger, more powerful and more potentially frightening than Singapore, could one day learn anew.


  • Kaps,
    Of all the places in the world that I was to go to, it was destined to be Singapore. Should I even get a ghost of chance to work/live there, I will grab it with both hands. I can assure you that my children will study there one day! And there are just 2 people in current world history who I idolise - both transformative leaders - Narayana Murthy & Lee Kuan Yew!
    PS: You can also bet that I will buy the magazine this weekend! :)

    By Anonymous Ravi, at 10:18 PM  

  • Ravi,
    why do u need to buy it when it is available for free online?

    By Blogger Kaps, at 10:29 AM  

  • I know its crazy but I get a kick out of buying these as reference material! crazy, huh? ;)

    By Anonymous Ravi, at 12:43 PM  

  • humm but sg wasn't thrown out of msia - it was a mutual agreement of both parties as their directions were slightly different

    By Blogger visithra, at 5:38 PM  

  • I dont see great vision in the articles. Agreed that LKY is a genius, but all he has done is implemented his models without opposition. Any opposition had been severely dealt with. Great that it worked...but a majority of them are still sceptical on how long this can happen.

    All these thots are beyond accepting that Singapore is a great place, and Mr. Lee, a great man! Just trying to echo the negive aspects of it..

    By Blogger Chennai chatter, at 12:28 AM  

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