Lee Kuan Yew and Deng Xiaoping ‘had special bond’

Dear Straits Times,

I refer to the 14 Nov 2011 report on Prof Ezra Vogel’s new book on Deng Xiaoping.

You referred to Lee Kuan Yew as the one who founded a nation of two million. That description is inappropriate. Lee Kuan Yew didn’t found the nation of Singapore, the nationhood of Singapore was thrust upon us when we were kicked out of Malaysia. Don’t belittle the act of founding by equating it to being kicked out of Malaysia. It might be more appropriate to say that Lee Kuan Yew inherited a nation of two million.

You referred to Lee Kuan Yew as turning Singapore into an economic powerhouse. That description again is inappropriate. We were already one of the busiest ports in the world and were a Crown Colony long before Lee Kuan Yew was born. While it is true that our per capita GDP grew manifold after Lee took power, the architect of that progress and implementer of the architect’s plans were Dr Albert Winsemius and Dr Goh Keng Swee respectively.

You referred to Lee Kuan Yew as having fought the communists. Not a single bullet was fired in Lee’s fight with the so-called ‘communists’. Where on earth at that time did communists fight without guns and bullets? Let’s be honest with ourselves. Lee did not fight ‘communists’. He merely called them such so that he can lock them up for such a record number of years even Nelson Mandela cannot beat.

You said Lee Kuan Yew came of age fighting colonialism. Actually, the hard work was done by his Chinese speaking comrades, not Lee. After the work was done, Lee simply used colonialism to lock up his former comrades and replaced the old colonialism with his brand of new colonialism. It was just animal farm played out in real life.


9 Responses to “Lee Kuan Yew and Deng Xiaoping ‘had special bond’”

  1. Kay Tay Says:


  2. wz Says:

    I have my doubts that history is as rosy as mainstream media portrays but people always say that in hindsight, everything is 20/20. In that moment, who’s to say what the uncurrents of communism were behind the facade of “peace without ammunition”? I think u are sorely mistaken that economic progress can occur without an individual who holds a leadership role & plays the execution behind the plan. A lot of credit goes to GKS for his well-thought out policies but having the willpower, strength of character and influence to win the heart and minds of the people are defining character that few have in a time of crisis and uncertainty.

    • trulysingapore Says:

      Who is to say that there were undercurrents of communism? Who is to say that “peace without ammunition” was just a facade? Communism in Singapore has been over-exaggerated without ever being substantiated.

      While progress requires peace, peace doesn’t necessarily require a leader with willpower or strength of character. There was essentially a power struggle between the Chinese educated faction and the Lee faction. Lee thriumped. But if the reverse had happened and that Lee lost power, it doesn’t mean we would have descended into chaos. You see, whichever side won, peace would have resumed.

      • taylor Says:

        communism didn’t work well for the USSR and China…… regardless of whether LKY’s actions towards the communists were justified, his decision was for the better. would you rather Singapore be under the communists, just to have a failing economy and a backward country?

        furthermore, WZ is right. the economy needs strict leadership & stringent management in order to succeed. look what happened in the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. It started because Thailand had a LACK of effective leadership, so did Indonesia. LKY, being in charge of the government, was crucial in making key decisions for the economy.

      • trulysingapore Says:

        Amongst the Chinese elite who were branded as communists or had communist connections were Tan Kah Kee. He couldn’t come back to Singapore and had to spend the rest of his life in China. Do you actually believe that Tan Kah Kee was a communist? LKY’s labelling of the Chinese faction as communists was politically motivated and had no evidential or legal basis. That’s why they could only invoke the internal security act to lock them up but could never once charge them in court. Therefore, your notion about I rather Singapore to be under communists is simply ridiculous considering that the communists were never in Singapore to begin with.

        The economy needs the right mix of strictness and freedom. The basis of the market economy underpinning all successful economies today is free market principles. The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis does not reveal anything we do not already know about Thailand. It is less than First World and there is no point in comparing First World Singapore with less than First World Thailand. The more sensible thing is to compare Hong Kong with Singapore, the closest to us in terms of level of progress. Laissez Faire Hong Kong holds up well against strict Singapore in just about every department you can think of. Strictness is simply not superior to Laissez Faire.

        Whether LKY was crucial in decision making is anybody’s guess. What cannot be denied is that our basic strategy and plan came from Dr Albert Winsemius and the person who worked most closely with him was Dr Goh Keng Swee.

  3. Devildog Says:

    In the first place, Straits Times and all other main stream newspaper are just a mouth piece of the government. They will only say good thing about government. Don’t read them, Don’t care about what they said as it doesn’t mean a thing.

  4. Ayam Says:

    Excellent reply

  5. Rosie Says:

    Love it! An intelligent article, well said. I wonder if it will, or if it can in fact, be challenged,

    Thank you or this post, which i can’t imagine will ever be published in mainstream media. Kudo to TOC for posting this.

  6. random Says:

    Lee Kuan Yew … a legend in his own mind.

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