From Nantah to NTU: Difficult but necessary journey

Dear Mr Lee Kuan Yew,

I refer to the 2 Dec 2011 Straits Times print of excerpts from your new book.

You wrote that Tan Lark Sye and his supporters believed communist China was a great nation and could back them. Exactly what backing did Tan Lark Sye need from communist China? Money? No, he had millions of that himself. Manpower? He was leader of the Chinese community and had no lack of manpower. By merely being the leader of the Chinese community then, you had him labelled as a communist believer. Which Chinese community leader then who was against you escaped being labelled as a communist believer? Your entire political career reads of all kinds of labelling of your political opponents.

According to the book “The business of politics and ethnicity: a history of the Singapore Chinese” by Sikko Visscher (pages 154-156), Tan Lark Sye could not have been a communist sympathiser since he set up Tasek Cement complex in Ipoh with considerable Taiwanese financial involvement. He also appointed former Chung Cheng High School (which was synonymous with nationalist Taiwan, not communist China) principal to be Vice Chancellor of Nantah. It was Mr Visscher’s view that Tan Lark Sye was a millionaire businessman with no interest in communist ideology and that being at the top of the Chinese social pyramid did not make him a pro-communist.

According to the book “Singapore: the Unexpected Nation” by Edwin Lee (pages 418-419), “Nantah was a threat to the English educated ruling elite and the PAP government. It was PAP’s economic transformation of Singapore that put a premium on English and undermined Chinese education. Tan Lark Sye was too sold on capitalism and too good and too lucky at it to have been a communist.”

According to the book “Singapore: Wealth, Power and the Culture of Control” by Carl A. Trocki:
– Page 123, “PAP was able to play the racial card, accusing the Chinese-educated groups of ‘Chinese chauvinism’ when they championed the cause of Chinese education.”
– Page 131, “since the government controlled the political discourse, any expression of a political or social nature that came from an ethnic source could be tarred with the label chauvinist.”

For all your lofty claims, it seems to these authors that your closing of Nantah was more politically motivated than anything else.

Deng Xiaoping said Singaporean social order is good because the country put it under strict control. In other words, he came to study how our government kept strict control of our people. This is nothing to be proud of. Tan Lark Sye would never have imagined how the strict Chinese communists had to come to Singapore to learn to be strict.

You wrote that language was more than just a tool of communication and that larger issues were at stake. By ‘larger issues’, do you mean economic issues and prosperity? But whether it is the Korean language in South Korea, Traditional Mandarin in Taiwan, Cantonese in Hong Kong or Simplified Mandarin in China today, language never got into the way of economic issues or prosperity.

You claimed to have opposed Nantah’s use of the language of the race in order to stamp out racial education. Being born and bred in English and Malay, the language of your ‘race’ is English and Malay. You therefore cannot claim to be stamping out racial education since you didn’t stamp out the two languages of your ‘race’. You were merely stamping out political opposition the strongest of which happened to be the Chinese speaking.

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2 Responses to “From Nantah to NTU: Difficult but necessary journey”

  1. patriot Says:

    Never know how erudite Lee Kuan Yew is with
    languages. However, being a Chinese and his
    having difficulty in learning and understanding
    his very own native language and the common
    Chinese Language(putonghua), is indicative
    of his comprehension of languages.

    patriot

  2. Canbury Says:

    This senile-beyond-redemption stepfather of SinCity has is not proficient in any language except in Bird and money language.

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