“What are our priorities? First, the welfare, the survival of the people. Then, democratic norms and processes which from time to time we have to suspend.”
– Lee Kuan Yew, 1986 National Day Rally
“If you are a troublemaker…it’s our job to politically destroy you. Put it this way. As long as JB Jeyaretnam stands for what he stands for – a thoroughly destructive force – we will knock him. Everybody knows that in my bag I have a hatchet, and a very sharp one. You take me on, I take my hatchet, we meet in the cul-de-sac.”
– Lee Kuan Yew, The Man And His Ideas, 1997
Survival first, then ideals and God. Or?
Ideals and God first, then survival.
The wisdom to turn Maslow hierarchy of needs: upside down.
“With few exceptions, democracy has not brought good government to new developing countries…What Asians value may not necessarily be what Americans or Europeans value. Westerners value the freedoms and liberties of the individual. As an Asian of Chinese cultural backround, my values are for a government which is honest, effective and efficient.” – Lee Kuan Yew in speech entitled ‘Democracy, Human Rights and the Realities’, Tokyo, Nov 10, 1992
“They say people can think for themselves? Do you honestly believe that the chap who can’t pass primary six knows the consequence of his choice when he answers a question viscerally, on language, culture and religion? But we knew the consequences. We would starve, we would have race riots. We would disintegrate.”
– Lee Kuan Yew, The Man & His Ideas, 1997
“Please do not assume that you can change governments. Young people don’t understand this”
– Lee Kuan Yew on the results of the 2006 election
“They say, oh, let’s have multiparty politics. Let’s have different parties change and be in charge of the Government. Is it that simple? You vote in a Division Three government, not a Division One government, and the whole economy will just subside within three, four years. Finished.”
– Lee Kuan Yew, Today, Aug 15 2008
“When you look at other advanced democracies, I know of no other country in the world where after a general election, the victor will sue the opponent for defamation.
“In an advanced democracy, when an election is over, the vanquished will have the grace to congratulate the victor and the victor will have the magnanimity to forgive his opponent for all the unkind things the opponent has said.
He is prepared for a robust criticism of his policies. He can be criticised for foolishness, maybe even for incompetence, for arrogance, but his red line was – not on reputation and integrity.
The writer of this article examines how Singapore and most Singaporeans have traded democracy for a policy of wealth.