Lee Kuan Yew unworthy of tribute

I refer to the 6 Mar 2014 Straits Times report “Pay tribute to Mr Lee and other pioneers.

I disagree with Ms Irene Ng’s exhortation for our nation to pay Mr Lee Kuan Yew a special tribute in this year’s NDP.

Mr Lee has personally insulted Singaporeans time and again, once referring to us as animals not having spurs stuck deep enough into our hide and on another occasion threatening Singaporeans in Aljunied with five years of repent if they didn’t vote for PAP. Why should the nation honor a person who insults and threatens its people?

Mr Lee was Senior Minister when he allowed the PAP to disadvantage opposition wards for HDB upgrading. Why should segments of this nation that have been disadvantaged by Lee Kuan Yew and his party honor him?

Mr Lee spoke for the freedom of the press at the beginning of his political career but did an about turn to his own words the moment he consolidated power. We can find many more flip flops in what he said throughout his life. Why should this nation honor a person who doesn’t honor his words?

Mr Lee locked many Singaporeans up, some for longer than Nelson Mandela had been, without ever giving them a chance at an open trial in court. No matter how some state apparatuses try to distort the stories of these innocent Singaporeans, the fact remains that these weren’t people who went around carrying guns and shooting people. They were not the equivalent of terrorists that today’s ISA is used for. Why should this nation honor a person who caused so much pain and anguish to many innocent Singaporeans?

I also disagree with Ms Ng saying:

Without his strong and visionary leadership, without his determination and gumption, Singapore would certainly not be where it is today.”

What Ms Ng said isn’t fact but mere speculation and perhaps even wishful thinking. It was none other than Mr Lee’s good comrade Dr Goh Keng Swee who said that Singapore had overcome one adversity after another during colonial times long before PAP came about and that PAP’s good work was merely the continuation of excellent British colonial policies and institutions honed and perfected over more than a century since our founding in 1819. So if we honor Dr Goh Keng Swee and believe in his words, we must also believe that without PAP, whichever other team had received these excellent British colonial inheritances in 1959 would have steered Singapore to where it is today just the same or even better.

Visionary leadership is the last thing you would associate Mr Lee with. All that Lee could envision soon after he took charge in 1959 was merger with Malaysia, not export industrialization that ultimately brought Singapore success. Mr Lee used his ‘strong leadership’ to plunge Singapore into a disastrous merger with Malaya. If Mr Lee had vision, why did he not envision the bad blood that would ensue almost immediately after the merger? In an interview some years back, Mr Lee boasted of having extra long antennae that could sense far into the future, and almost immediately after that, GIC which he was then the board chairman of, suffered tremendous losses over the Global Financial Crisis. If Mr Lee has vision, why did he not prevent those stupendous GIC losses? The only vision Lee has is borrowed vision. Export industrialization was Dr Winsemius’ vision executed by Dr Goh Keng Swee. Why should this nation honour Mr Lee for the vision and contributions of others? In a tribute to Dr Winsemius on his demise, Mr Lee actually thanked Dr Winsemius for showing him how Singapore could prosper through export industrialization. So if Ms Ng wants to honor Mr Lee, she should first honor Mr Lee’s words when he said that both Singapore and himself are indebted to Dr Winsemius for our prosperity. Should Ms Ng call for the honoring of Dr Winsemius this NDP instead in honor of Mr Lee’s words?


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