Hard Truths debunk misconcept​ions

Dear Mr Tom Plate,

I refer to the 22 Feb 2011 Straits Times report of your assessment of the book “Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going”.

You call this book a national self-examination. It is not. It continues to be one man’s self-praise, self-denial. You cannot recall a comparable tome from America because no American leader ever needed to self-praise, self-deny. If you have done right all your life, most of your life, you don’t need a last ditch attempt at explaining yourself to your fellow countrymen.

The so-called deep political insights comprise such things as us being surrounded by hostile neighbours that necessitate authoritarianism. How deep can that insight be when even more hostile conditions confront South Korea and Taiwan and yet both have long hung up their authoritarian boots and have prospered to even greater heights?

His amazing brain is amazing because all the rotten parts have been ignored and swept aside.

He is admired for all of Singapore’s achievements big and small, including our export industrialisation strategy, our clean and green environment and the Marina Bay even though these were the brainchilds of various other people such as Dr Albert Winsemius, Mr Graham Perry, Kenzo Tange and I.M. Pei.

The 14% growth could have been 1400% if he had chosen to import 50 million people instead of just 500,000.

What self-examination is there but self-praise and self-denial? What critical awareness about national progress other than taking credit for what others have done? What political system can rival ours other than those of Stalin’s and North Korea’s?

This is not open-minded self-review. This is self-praise, self-denial. We may not be totalitarian. But we are from being the democracy that we ought to be.

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