Don’t trust everything LKY says

I refer to the 6 Oct 2014 Straits Times letter “Start planning for our next 50 years”.

SG50 should be renamed SGI50 because it’s specifically about Singapore’s 50th independence anniversary. SG50 conveys the wrong impression that Singapore has survived for 50 years only when in fact Singapore has survived for 196 years already since 1819.

Mr Lim shouldn’t read too much into LKY’s words let alone regard them as visionary or tenacious. LKY changes words like a chameleon changes color. Back in 1965, LKY said:

Singapore’s Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew … stressed that it was the quality of the people – “the mettle in them” that counted … Singapore … did not believe in shaking knuckle dusters at others because the people here were polite … But, he stressed, the island was determined to survive in South-east Asia for the next 1,000 years … Nothing will hold us back. We have thick skins and necks. Even our chickens have thick necks.
Straits Times, We will survive for the next 1,000 years – Lee, 19 Sept 1965

In 1965, it was the quality of the people that counted. From 2007 onwards, it was million dollar ministers that mattered.

In 1965, the people had mettle in them. In 2009, the people’s spurs are not stuck deep enough in the hide.

In 1965, our chickens had thick necks. In 2009, the people have thick hides.

In 1965, the people didn’t believe in shaking knuckle dusters. In 1997, LKY will put on knuckle-dusters and catch you in a cul de sac … anybody who decides to take him on needs to put on knuckle dusters.

In 1965, Singapore will survive 1,000 years. Hitler was the only other leader I know who spoke about building a thousand year Reich. Then in 2013, it became:

Will Singapore be around in 100 years? I am not so sure. America, China, Britain, Australia – these countries will be around in 100 years. But Singapore was never a nation until recently.
One Man’s View Of The World, Lee Kuan Yew

If everything LKY ever said was put side by side, a Guiness World Record might be set for the World’s longest ever flip flop list.

Mr Lim must be a fool to constantly believe in the consistently inconsistent LKY.

Straits Times, Start planning for our next 50 years, 6 Oct 2014

AS SINGAPOREANS prepare to celebrate SG50 next year, some sceptics have expressed concerns that our tiny nation may not survive the challenges of the next 50 years.

We have uplifted ourselves from living in kampungs lacking modern sanitation, to living in “sky-pungs” with rooftop swimming pools, as well as supermarkets, banks, clinics and facilities for childcare and eldercare.

Forging ahead, we must build on our achievements and focus on the positives.

What we have achieved so far is nothing short of a miracle.

We cannot control external world events.

Our destiny lies very much in how we plan and fully exploit our limited resources, to go beyond just sustainability and into the realm of regeneration for the next 50 years and beyond.

I suggest that we create a Singapore Masterplan 2065, and let Singaporeans who are now 20 to 30 years old, whose children and grandchildren are likely to be alive 50 years from now, take the initiative.

Form a group of 200 and let them brainstorm ideas over the next two years on what kind of Singapore they and their future generations would like to live in, 30, 40 or 50 years from now.

Focus on the “what” and “why”. The “how” will emerge along the way.

With ideas in hand, a working committee of 10 can then be formed to work with the government of the day, evolving the masterplan while marking milestones.

It is fitting to recall the tenacity and vision of former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, when he said in 1965: “I am calculating in terms of the next generation; in terms of the next 100 years; in terms of eternity; and believe you me, for the next thousand years, we will be here.”

Clinton Lim Eng Hiong


One Response to “Don’t trust everything LKY says”

  1. Mike Says:

    Love reading your articles. always factually correct and well researched.

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