MM: If you’re going in for personal glory, forget it

Dear MM Lee,

I refer to the 12 Feb 2011 excerpts of your interview with the Straits Times.

Your most important lesson for aspiring politicians is to forget about going for personal glory. For someone who didn’t do it for personal glory, wouldn’t you push glory away when they are being heaped upon you? Many call you the founding father of Singapore. Clearly you don’t deserve that title which belongs to Sir Stamford Raffles. If you are not for glory, why not tell everybody to stop referring to you as the founding father? Some even refer to you as the Nelson Mandela of Singapore. You know how different you are from Nelson Mandela. You even once remarked how unusual it is for a man like Nelson Mandela to have no bitterness for being locked up for 27 years. Why keep undeserved glory that is heaped upon you?

You said you were putting your life at stake fighting the communists. But there were no communists. There were no finger nails pulled out. Why use a communist tale from elsewhere that never happened in Singapore?

You said we are an island with no resources. So what? Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea have little or no resources but have prospered just the same. Add Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland. They too have little or no resources but prospered too. In fact, our strategic location which is the very reason for our founding is the one resource that has allowed us to prosper in the first place.

You said you have done it and seen it through. No. You alone would have amounted to nothing. Without you, Singapore may be different but would be just as prosperous.

You said we leapfrogged by linking to the outer world instead of being dependent on the region. But that strategy came from Dr Albert Winsemius, not from you. You chose to depend on the region when you first took power in 1959. It was only with our separation from Malaysia in 1963 that we have no choice but to look towards the outer world like Dr Winsemius suggested.

You said your country is important to you. If that is the case, why didn’t you fight the Japanese like Lim Bo Seng did? Why did you work for the Japanese instead?

You said you spent your life building this country. No. This country was built by our forefathers since 1819.


9 Responses to “MM: If you’re going in for personal glory, forget it”

  1. patriot Says:

    “You said your country is important to you. If that is the case, why didn’t you fight the Japanese like Lim Bo Seng did? Why did you work for the Japanese instead?”

    Not fair to say that Lee Kuan Yew did not fight the Japanese to show that he WAS loyal to Singapore. Firstly, Singapore then belonged to the British Empire. Secondly, how dare he fought the Japanese knowing very well he would never be able to survive? A pragmatic man will never sacrifice with his life, but will instead do all his best to stay alive. That’s why when Singaporeans commemorate the civilians casualties of the Japanese Occupation yearly, no one ever mentioned Lee Kuan Yew on the Occasions. Even at the Last One just week ago, though most cybercitizens are now awared of him and President SR Nathan were working for the Japanese who tortured and killed mostly the Chinese inhabitants, no Singaporeans ever questioned their roles or mentioned them on the commemorations.


    • trulysingapore Says:

      Just because no one dares question MM Lee’s collaboration with the Japanese openly doesn’t mean no one questions it. Everyone knows that without LKY’s influence, PM Lee’s attainment of his current status would have been far from certain. Yet, who dares say it openly?

      Even Rajaratnam has said that everything about Singapore began in 1819. Even Rajaratnam acknowledges Singapore’s legacy since 1819. The fact that we were ruled by the British does not diminish Singapore’s Singaporeaness. Are you saying that Singapore then was not worth fighting for just because we were a colony? Then what was Lim Bo Seng fighting for? He must be nuts wasn’t he?

      Finally, who dares fight the Japanese? Well, Lim Bo Seng dared. We’re not saying you can’t be cower and kow tow to the enemy. You can. But at the same time, you obviously show that you love yourself more than you love your country. As simple as that. You are not prepared to lay down your life for your country.

      Let’s use a simple scenario. Let’s say Singapore is conquered once again. LKY, being the survivor would run away or collaborate just so he can live. He is a survivor you see. But will he die fighting for the country? History has shown that he won’t.

      The day may one day come. Will you die fighting or will you collaborate with the enemy just to live? No one will blame you for choosing to live. But please don’t live on thinking you have done the most glorious deed, the most patriotic deed and has demonstrated love for your country by choosing life over country.

  2. shee shee on Xu Wenyuan Says:

    “how dare he fought the Japanese knowing very well he would never be able to survive? A pragmatic man will never sacrifice with his life, but will instead do all his best to stay alive. ”

    patriot, you sounded like a big coward. I will be worried if you are my buddy in the army, you have the tendency to abandon your own when situation arises.

    By your theory, all the sacrifices of our forefathers fighting alongside each other against the japs were stupid acts. Why then even bother to erect epitaph in their memory? It becomes a meaningless act going by what you said.

    Incidentally, if no one ever mentioned LKY on the Occasions, it is out of respect foe the war heros. I am sure you would not want to someone standing in front of your tombstone and discussed about your spouse bedding with another person while you are alive.

  3. Kute Steiner Says:

    I agreed with Patriot.

    LKY and Mr. Nathan did the right thing by working with the Japanese during the Japanese to keep themselves alive.

    We should be proud of them instead of putting them down. They are the real survivors….and an example of what one should do when an enemy invades your country.

    Only those with a strong sense of honor…of what is right and wrong…should and definitely would die 1st…and that is why real heroes died….and we have the above good examples of how to be a survivor by working for the other side.

    This is a very valuable lesson to all to learn and apply accordingly to each own sense of conscience : )

    The very best to all ; )

    • trulysingapore Says:

      You are saying we should be proud of those who choose to live rather than to die for the country? Try telling the nation’s people and all the men in the armed forces of singapore that there is honour and pride working for the enemy to stay alive rather thant to die for the country. you must be nuts.

      So next time when the enemy comes, we just surrender and live rather than die fighting?

      So please don’t learn the wrong lessons. The person who chooses his own life over the survival of his fatherland is not someone we should hold in high regard. To do so would be to hold treason and treachery in high regard.

  4. defennder Says:

    You guys might want to read this:

    “Mr Lee Kuan Yew should recall those days. He was here, as were other members of PAP central executive. So was I and numerous other newspapermen who refused to work for the Japanese.

    The threat of death or imprisonment does not scare away anyone who believes in freedom — the freedom of the individual to think, to read or to write as he pleases, within the confines of the laws of the state.”

    There were others who were willing to brave it all and survived. You see for people like LKY, self-preservation matters more than anything. No one seems to remember opposition figure David Marshall (founder of WP) who volunteered for the army and fought the Japanese before being taken prisoner when Singapore fell and sent to slave in Hokkaido mines. That is the true mark of a patriot, someone who is willing to fight and die for a country he loves. As for patriot who says that there’s no point fighting the Japanese when he knows he would lose, David Marshall did exactly that. Are we forgetting his sacrifice?

    Many people remember David Marshall today as a weak man who was unwilling to take action against the left-wing trade unions and their strikes which his successor Lim Yew Hock did. These people often forget that it was LKY who was even less likely to do, because he was afraid the PAP would lose mass popular support. And when he finally did so, it was after he and the Malaysian Federation was able to threaten to call off the merger and let Singapore fall into unstable hands that the British finally relented to their demands and executed Operation Cold Store. LKY wanted to have it both ways, to crack down on his enemies while pushing all the blame and responsibilities to the British for doing so. Clearly only a manipulative coward would do such a thing.

    Regarding the Occupdation most importantly it’s where LKY chose to work during the Japanese Occupation. He was an English language editor of a propaganda paper during that time and had taken Japanese language lessons so that he could work as a transcriber of war reports, which meant that he directly aided the Japanese in their war efforts. Among other things, he also became rich as a black market boss who marketed unaffordable goods during the Japanese occupation, fully exploiting the fact that average people had to pay a hell lot to get basic necessities.

    How’s that for sacrificing for your country?

  5. defennder Says:

    Hi trulysingapore,

    I’ve learned a lot more from your blog than you have learned from a mere comment of mine. Thank you and keep up the good work.

  6. defennder Says:

    Hi trulysingapore,

    I’ve learned a lot more from your blog than you have learned from a mere comment of mine. Thank you and keep up the good work.

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