Singaporean dictator Lee Kuan Yew died Watch

Baron of Sealand
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-32012346

Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew dies at 91


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Lee Kuan Yew, the statesman who transformed Singapore from a small port city into a wealthy global hub, has died at the age of 91.
Mr Lee served as the city-state's prime minister for 31 years, and continued to work in government until 2011.
Highly respected as the architect of Singapore's prosperity, Mr Lee was also criticised for his iron grip on power.
Under him freedom of speech was tightly restricted and political opponents were targeted by the courts.
The announcement was made "with deep sorrow" by the press secretary of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Mr Lee's son.
"The Prime Minister is deeply grieved to announce the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the founding Prime Minister of Singapore," his office said in a statement.
It said Mr Lee passed away peacefully at the Singapore General Hospital at 03:18 local time on Monday (19:18 GMT on Sunday).
'Meritocratic nation'A charismatic and unapologetic figure, Mr Lee co-founded the People's Action Party, which has governed Singapore since 1959, and was its first prime minister.
The Cambridge-educated lawyer led Singapore through merger with, and then separation from, Malaysia - something that he described as a "moment of anguish".
Speaking at a press conference after the split in 1965, he pledged to build a meritocratic, multi-racial nation.
But tiny Singapore - with no natural resources - needed a new economic model.
"We knew that if we were just like our neighbours, we would die," Mr Lee told the New York Times in 2007.
"Because we've got nothing to offer against what they have to offer. So we had to produce something which is different and better than what they have."
Through investment in schooling, Mr Lee set about creating a highly-educated work force fluent in English.
He reached out to US investors to turn Singapore into a manufacturing hub, introducing incentives to attract foreign firms.
Singapore also became a centre for the oil-refining industry. The city-state grew wealthy and later developed into a major financial centre.
But building a nation came with tight controls - and one of Mr Lee's legacies was a clampdown on the press.
These restrictions remain today. In 2014, Singapore stood at 150 in the Reports Without Borders World Press Freedom Index, below countries like Russia, Myanmar and Zimbabwe.
Dissent - and political opponents - were ruthlessly quashed.
Today Mr Lee's PAP remains firmly in control. There are currently six opposition lawmakers in parliament.
Other measures, such as corporal punishment, a ban on chewing gum and the government's foray into matchmaking for Singapore's brightest - to create smarter babies - led to perceptions of excessive state interference.
But Mr Lee remained unmoved.
"Whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him. Or give it up," he told a rally in 1980. "I've spent a whole lifetime building this and as long as I'm in charge, nobody is going to knock it down."
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MatureStudent36
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Quite a respected politician in his day.

He's done a lot of good for Singapore over the years to make it the success story It is today
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Malevolent
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Lee Kuan Yew whilst he had his very tough and harsh ideas he still helped move Singapore into a financial powerhouse.. He transformed the nation.
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Okorange
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I guess this shows you that not all dictators are bad.
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GnomeMage
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Condolences to his family and all Singaporean

A great man is gone

- from a Malaysian
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Arkasia
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I'm not sure it's a fair representation to call him a dictator. Politically authoritarian, but he showed few of the traits seen in other dictators.
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A Great Man. RIP.
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Not sure if it's fair to call him a dictator. After all, he didn't go around arbitrarily arresting his political opponents; instead, he sued them for libel. And, though he could certainly afford the best lawyers to argue his case, he never resorted to bribing or threatening the court.
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I'm not sure to what extent LKY was a dictator. I don't think long time in office is enough, although it may be indicative. South Africa has been ruled by the same party for over twenty years - is it a dictatorship? It has authoritarian aspects that distinguish it from Western Europe, but ultimately most voters probably really did want the ANC in power all that time. Sweden was ruled by one party for decades, too.

As far as I understand it, in Singapore it is perfectly legal to form an opposition party, run candidates, state a manifesto, and vote for an opposition party, in practice as well as in form.

The libel laws couldn't save the government from defeat if it adopted a programme that was simply very undesirable to most people. In that case, the opposition can just ignore the actions of the government and win by stating its own programme. Singapore's laws could explain one party winning a series of knife-edge elections but not consistent overwhelming dominance of one party.
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(Original post by Observatory)
I'm not sure to what extent LKY was a dictator. I don't think long time in office is enough, although it may be indicative. South Africa has been ruled by the same party for over twenty years - is it a dictatorship? It has authoritarian aspects that distinguish it from Western Europe, but ultimately most voters probably really did want the ANC in power all that time. Sweden was ruled by one party for decades, too.

As far as I understand it, in Singapore it is perfectly legal to form an opposition party, run candidates, state a manifesto, and vote for an opposition party, in practice as well as in form.

The libel laws do give the incumbent government an unfair position (it isn't illegal to libel someone who isn't in the government), but that only couldn't save it from defeat if it adopted a programme that was simply very undesirable to most people. In that case, the opposition can just ignore the actions of the government and win by stating its own programme. Singapore's laws could explain one party winning a series of knife-edge elections but not consistent overwhelming dominance of one party.
While i believe he has helped transform Singapore into one of the worlds most developed countries, i do feel that any real opposition is quashed. Singapore regulates freedom of speech with an iron fist, often quashing dissidents , stopping protests, not allowing freedom of speech etc.

If i lived there, i would be terrified to criticize the dictatorship.
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(Original post by Tawheed)
While i believe he has helped transform Singapore into one of the worlds most developed countries, i do feel that any real opposition is quashed. Singapore regulates freedom of speech with an iron fist, often quashing dissidents , stopping protests, not allowing freedom of speech etc.

If i lived there, i would be terrified to criticize the dictatorship.
Can you be a bit more specific? It might be illegal to throw out the sort of pantomime sound bites that we are used to seeing in the British papers, but how often do those really engage with any issue important to the governance of the country? If we had these laws and (for instance) David Cameron abolished the NHS, it wouldn't matter if it were illegal to say that the abolishing of the NHS was a bad thing; you could win just by stating that you would bring back the NHS for positive reasons that have nothing to do with Cameron or the government.

It seems likely to me that the PAP keeps winning because the opposition (which seems to be some sort of reformed communist party) can't offer a better programme.
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(Original post by MatureStudent36)
Quite a respected politician in his day.

He's done a lot of good for Singapore over the years to make it the success story It is today
Whilst being the most backward first-world country is better not being a first-world country at all, he and the government have not made steps to make the society progress anywhere beyond the most basic level of living needs.

Economic development is important, but having nothing but only economic development is bad, especially when it's not mutually exclusive to have economic development and freedom (USA), or cultural development (UK), or creativity (Japan), or a functional legal system (most first-world countries), and many other things.

To compare Singapore with its closest rival, Hong Kong, it is not that impressive of a success story. Economically both cities are developed more or less the same, but HK dominated East Asia culturally, has an independent juridical system, a lot more liberal legally, has actual freedom, and has a more functional democracy despite its system being more restrictive than SG's - all these despite not being an English-speaking country and under Chinese rule.

(Original post by Malevolent)
Lee Kuan Yew whilst he had his very tough and harsh ideas he still helped move Singapore into a financial powerhouse.. He transformed the nation.
And stopped there. You can argue that you need to be tough in the beginning before you could let it grow itself, just like military rule right after a chaos, but not for forever.

(Original post by Arbolus)
Not sure if it's fair to call him a dictator. After all, he didn't go around arbitrarily arresting his political opponents; instead, he sued them for libel. And, though he could certainly afford the best lawyers to argue his case, he never resorted to bribing or threatening the court.
Because he didn't need to. The court always ruled in favour of him.

(Original post by Observatory)
I'm not sure to what extent LKY was a dictator. I don't think long time in office is enough, although it may be indicative. South Africa has been ruled by the same party for over twenty years - is it a dictatorship? It has authoritarian aspects that distinguish it from Western Europe, but ultimately most voters probably really did want the ANC in power all that time. Sweden was ruled by one party for decades, too.

As far as I understand it, in Singapore it is perfectly legal to form an opposition party, run candidates, state a manifesto, and vote for an opposition party, in practice as well as in form.

The libel laws couldn't save the government from defeat if it adopted a programme that was simply very undesirable to most people. In that case, the opposition can just ignore the actions of the government and win by stating its own programme. Singapore's laws could explain one party winning a series of knife-edge elections but not consistent overwhelming dominance of one party.
His time in office is irrelevant but until now it's still in his son's hand. What is this? A monarchy?

You can run an opposing party, but nobody, including the opposing party, has the freedom to actually say anything against anyone.

(Original post by Tawheed)
While i believe he has helped transform Singapore into one of the worlds most developed countries, i do feel that any real opposition is quashed. Singapore regulates freedom of speech with an iron fist, often quashing dissidents , stopping protests, not allowing freedom of speech etc.

If i lived there, i would be terrified to criticize the dictatorship.
And you cannot. In Singapore, no-one is allowed to say anything bad about anyone.

Also, it's still illegal to be gay.
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(Original post by clh_hilary)
And you cannot. In Singapore, no-one is allowed to say anything bad about anyone.

Also, it's still illegal to be gay.
Lol. I grew up in that country always being bullied by my own older sister. Or if you mean "anyone" as in political entities, I'd say PAP did its very best to satisfy their peoples' needs. If it wasn't for PAP I'd be learning how to farm instead of code.
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(Original post by clh_hilary)
Whilst being the most backward first-world country is better not being a first-world country at all, he and the government have not made steps to make the society progress anywhere beyond the most basic level of living needs.

Economic development is important, but having nothing but only economic development is bad, especially when it's not mutually exclusive to have economic development and freedom (USA), or cultural development (UK), or creativity (Japan), or a functional legal system (most first-world countries), and many other things.

To compare Singapore with its closest rival, Hong Kong, it is not that impressive of a success story. Economically both cities are developed more or less the same, but HK dominated East Asia culturally, has an independent juridical system, a lot more liberal legally, has actual freedom, and has a more functional democracy despite its system being more restrictive than SG's - all these despite not being an English-speaking country and under Chinese rule.



And stopped there. You can argue that you need to be tough in the beginning before you could let it grow itself, just like military rule right after a chaos, but not for forever.



Because he didn't need to. The court always ruled in favour of him.



His time in office is irrelevant but until now it's still in his son's hand. What is this? A monarchy?

You can run an opposing party, but nobody, including the opposing party, has the freedom to actually say anything against anyone.



And you cannot. In Singapore, no-one is allowed to say anything bad about anyone.

Also, it's still illegal to be gay.
Two points.

Firstly Hong Kong was far from democratic. The locals dos what the governor told them to do.

Secondly, being gay is illegal in huge parts of the world.

For some unkown reason the 'capitalism is bad' brigade have come out in force.

I've yet to meet somebody from Singapore who decried Singapore for being anything but a success story.
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One point: You can't read.

(Original post by MatureStudent36)
Two points.

Firstly Hong Kong was far from democratic. The locals dos what the governor told them to do.
I've never said HK was/is democratic. I literally said the system is even more restrictive but it's still somehow more functional because the people actually vote in a natural way.

I also didn't say anything in the past during the colonial era.

(Original post by MatureStudent36)
Secondly, being gay is illegal in huge parts of the world.
Did you miss it when I said it's the most backward first-world country?

(Original post by MatureStudent36)
For some unkown reason the 'capitalism is bad' brigade have come out in force.
Exactly where? I literally said economic development is important and that other things could be developed alongside it, citing many countries as examples.

(Original post by MatureStudent36)
I've yet to meet somebody from Singapore who decried Singapore for being anything but a success story.
So what?
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(Original post by clh_hilary)
One point: You can't read.



I've never said HK was/is democratic. I literally said the system is even more restrictive but it's still somehow more functional because the people actually vote in a natural way.

I also didn't say anything in the past during the colonial era.



Did you miss it when I said it's the most backward first-world country?



Exactly where? I literally said economic development is important and that other things could be developed alongside it, citing many countries as examples.



So what?
The man has just died.

You are coming across as very aggressive. Your points seem to come from some personal pain.

What has Lee Kuan Yew done to you?
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Observatory)
Can you be a bit more specific? It might be illegal to throw out the sort of pantomime sound bites that we are used to seeing in the British papers, but how often do those really engage with any issue important to the governance of the country? If we had these laws and (for instance) David Cameron abolished the NHS, it wouldn't matter if it were illegal to say that the abolishing of the NHS was a bad thing; you could win just by stating that you would bring back the NHS for positive reasons that have nothing to do with Cameron or the government.

It seems likely to me that the PAP keeps winning because the opposition (which seems to be some sort of reformed communist party) can't offer a better programme.
I think the governing party is genuinely popular. However it is not competing against a rival offer to the public.

There a number of aspects of dictatorship. Singapore is a "legal" dictatorship in that there is a rule of law but that law is not fair between government and opposition. Moreover the law attempts to manipulate the conduct of the opposition. For the most part individual laws are not unfair but collectively they amount to oppression.

The opposition is always divided because the government can and does bestow patronage Parliamentary positions on some of its opponents. That means that those opposition figures do not need the support of organised parties. As a result opposition parties are weak.

There are financial legal barriers to participation in politics but the extensive use of the law of defamation and fines for illegal political activity therefore operate as covert bans on political activity. The opposition is permanently engaged in trying to raise funds to extract people from bankruptcy to enable them to stand for election.

There is a bureaucracy of participation in politics which hits opposition politicians more harshly both because of inconsistent application of these laws but also because the laws themselves are biased against activity which only the opposition wishes to undertake.
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I think the most important is the result, Singapore is now a very attractive place for working, studying and living. I think I will think about relocating here after creating my own startup
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Lee Kuan Yew once uncovered a CIA plot, turned down a $3.3m bribe and embarrassed the US

At one time in 1961, the late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was offered a bribe of $3.3 million (equivalent of $25 million today) by a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent to keep hush about an unsuccessful operation.

Lee, in his infinite badass-dom, turned down the offer and went ballistic on America.

In a report on the New York Times published in 1965 — and recently uncovered on Reddit's /r/Singapore — Lee had uncovered a CIA plot and refused to kowtow to the American agency, despite Singapore being a young, fragile state during the '60s.

Apparently, a CIA agent had been caught trying to purchase information from Singapore intelligence officials. He then offered Lee $3.3 million for personal and political use if the failed affair was kept under wraps.

Thinking more about the future of his country, Lee refused, and asked instead for $33 million in formal economic-development aid for Singapore.

It was only in 1965 that Lee brought the incident to light when he launched a public tirade against the United States which included chiding the "insensitivity" of Americans in Asia and declaring how he would never let Americans take over the British in maintaining a military base in Singapore. He also recalled the failed espionage attempt by the CIA.

His charges were immediately denied by US Ambassador to Malaysia James D. Bell and the State Department. Department spokesman Robert J. McCloskey vehemently denied allegations of CIA involvement.

Angered by the denials, Lee escorted reporters into his office and whipped out files stamped with "top secret" and produced a letter of apology written by Secretary of State Dean Rusk — dated Apr 15, 1961, during the Kennedy Administration — where he apologized for the espionage attempt and indicated plans to discipline the offending intelligence agents.

The bribe had been offered in January of 1961, just before President Kennedy took office. Inheriting the issue when he took over Eisenhower's administration, President Kennedy had offered compensation to Lee in the form of foreign aid.

Lee also threatened to release full reports and documents relating to the CIA plot, even planning to play tape recordings of interrogations and meetings on Singapore radio should the American government continue denying the allegations.

"If the Americans go on denying, I will have to disclose further details, which may sound like James Bond and Goldfinger, only not as good but putrid and grotesque enough," the displeased Lee said.

Embarrassed by their mistakes, State Department spokesman McCloskey quickly retracted his statements, and quite possibly learned that you should never, ever mess with Lee Kuan Yew.

"The Americans should know the character of the men they are dealing with in Singapore and not get themselves further dragged into calumny," Lee reportedly said.

"They are not dealing with Ngo Dinh Diem or Syngman Rhee. You do not buy and sell this Government."

And that is why, folks, Singapore was in perfectly good hands with Lee Kuan Yew.

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(Original post by nulli tertius)
I think the governing party is genuinely popular. However it is not competing against a rival offer to the public.

There a number of aspects of dictatorship. Singapore is a "legal" dictatorship in that there is a rule of law but that law is not fair between government and opposition. Moreover the law attempts to manipulate the conduct of the opposition. For the most part individual laws are not unfair but collectively they amount to oppression.

The opposition is always divided because the government can and does bestow patronage Parliamentary positions on some of its opponents. That means that those opposition figures do not need the support of organised parties. As a result opposition parties are weak.

There are financial legal barriers to participation in politics but the extensive use of the law of defamation and fines for illegal political activity therefore operate as covert bans on political activity. The opposition is permanently engaged in trying to raise funds to extract people from bankruptcy to enable them to stand for election.

There is a bureaucracy of participation in politics which hits opposition politicians more harshly both because of inconsistent application of these laws but also because the laws themselves are biased against activity which only the opposition wishes to undertake.
This seems plausible to me. I can certainly believe that Singapore's peculiarities are what kept this single man and his single party in power for so long.

I think equating Singapore with the typical dictatorship goes too far, however. A lot of countries have structures that artificially favour incumbents (FPTP?!), but the test to me is whether a clearly and consistently unpopular government could maintain power and I don't think the PAP could have done. It has retained power primarily because it has been successful at improving society as a whole.
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