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Is MM Lee still relevant?

leekuanyew-listening.jpgThe other day I was asked a question – a question which is getting asked more and more nowadays.

“Do you think MM Lee Kuan Yew is still relevant to Singapore?”

It took me a while to ponder on it and come up with an answer. My answer is not one which is 100% against the man. After all, the guy, old as he may be (85 this year!), he still has a ticking brain and a ticking heart.

My answer is this:

MM Lee was – was – relevant. In my very humble opinion, I don’t think he is anymore. The reason I say this is, he is too old. In fact, some years ago he himself admitted that he is not as fast on the uptake, especially with young people. He also recently spoke about how physically weaker he felt.

The thing is, whether MM Lee is still around to have a hand in the running of our country is really not that important. What is important, in this day and age, is that a system of check and balance is in place – instead of relying on one man’s past historical achievements to guard against abuse.

A check to make sure abuse is not institutionalized and rampant and balance to bring the government to accountability. Don’t even get me started on that one.

MM Lee instituted and created a system which worked in the past but which no longer works. All it, the system, does is to generate economically vibrant statistics. That however is just one aspect of life, one aspect of our aspirations. If it were not, it should be.

MM Lee does not seem to pay much mind to other facets of life. Indeed, he also once said that as long as the economy is doing well, all other problems can be solved. But MM Lee is wrong. We have problems which no economic success will necessarily resolve.

MM Lee lives in the past where “children are seen and not heard”. At times he still exhibits such anachronistic thinking.

I do believe that once the man has gone from the scene, Singaporeans like myself will breathe a huge sigh of relief. It would be a sort of coming of age, really – for all of us. We’ve been under the shadow of this one man for far too long, so much so that the vitality of each one of us is curtailed by the ominous shadow of his presence.

So, my answer to the question posed at the beginning of this article is: MM Lee was relevant.

But he is no longer.

We are ready to stand on our own. And I dare say also that we of the new generation will do even much better than he did. Only thing is, the government under his tutelage seems to think not – in spite of all its exhortations to get us to be creative, daring, entrepreneurial and all.

MM Lee should retire.

Just go, for goodness’ sake.



17 Responses

  1. No man is indispensable, but to say MM Lee has no more purpose is not fair to the man himself. It is just that he has to have regards for others.

    He(MM) must be the most arrogant leader the Modern World has ever witnessed. Had he manages a big nation successfully, then maybe he should be acknowledged for his ability. He took over an island that had its’ foundation soundly established by its’ former (Colonial) British master. So tell us, which former British Colony(ies) is in unsound political state now?

    His intellect is also indeed respectable, but should he be so fond of displaying it, to showcase it in bringing down his opponents? Wielding his power upon his citizens, telling them that whatever came out of his mouth were pure wisdoms, immune to challenges and further improvements by others?

    Let us hope that he has a very, very long life, long enough to see Singapore in the next 20 years and how it develops from here. He had a vision of Singapore prospering for a long time to come. We shall see, won’t we?

  2. Don’t forget the age where he was from…children are not heard, and Singapore is his child. The child who dares to speak up gets a tight slap and is sent to his room!

    As for MM Lee having a very long life…well…you forgot to mention a given – namely, that he decides to retire.

  3. MM Lee is a control freak. He put systems in place to almost guarantee that the PAP will stay in power for many years to come. The success that Singapore has had and his contribution to it have certainly gone to his head. He believes that there are no equals to himself and his lackeys. And because of this, they have earned the right to “rule” this land of theirs. So no matter how irrelevant he has become, we won’t be rid of him until he goes to his grave. The saddest part of this is that he himself is instrumental in putting a black mark on his own legacy.

  4. *clap clap clap*

    well said! my sentiments exactly!

  5. we should give him some recognition, after all he built Singapore from 3rd to 1st world, though it is a small nation, easily managed

  6. Gary,

    My piece is not about his past achievements. Granted, he did do some real good stuff. But I was talking about whether he is still relevant. And my contention is that he is not.

    I mean, come on. The man himself has admitted that he is slower, both physically and mentally. I’m not disparaging the man, but just speaking realistically as he himself does and would.

    If any of his ministers admitted in public that they’re slower than before, do you think MM Lee would allow that minister to still be in cabinet or govt?


  7. After the string of boo-boos he has had for the past few years, eg. thinking of re-joining with Malaysia, casino, fault-finding other countries (ie Sweden, Finland, etc) to make SG look good, using fear when called a despot (precisely what a despot does), putting his hand into the SIA union saga, still paid as a Minister Mentor…

    how can he be relevant?

    I have utmost respect for him for where he has brought SG during my father’s generation. *salute* I applaud what he has done IN THE PAST.

    Let’s move on. And I do not think his thoughts are relevant in the global economy.

    Best piece of advice: just retire quietly.

  8. “we should give him some recognition” :
    Wasn’t this line used recently in a pathetic attempt to whitewash an Indonesian leader’s reign of corruption, nepotism and cronyism?

  9. He has, in religious language, an apostolic anointing for wealth. He and his wealthy prophets have laid the foundation for its people to build their homes on. The house on which its foundation was built has in recent times been somewhat shaken. But can this house weather more storms ahead? Will its foundation hold and for how long?

    Perhaps, the crystal ball is in the hands of those with sovereign fund who trust in him?

    Snake wisdom of the day: Small stool may small monkey sit not break. However, a king kong will not the stool hold!

  10. The Key Was. Was. Has been. Pass expiry. Old and GST is to help the poor 🙂 not to fund that Tem Hold chaired by D in law.talk about unfair advantage.I bet He think that all will not survive without his benevolence. But I guess there are a lot of expectation for the expiry date so that we can shpo for better Talent 🙂

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  13. He’s a has-been.
    My condolences to the PR group that mops up his disasters whenever he says something.

    “Retirement Means Death.”

    Wah lau eh.

  14. At the risk of sounding like a PAP apologist (which I’m not), I’d like to put it to you that MM Lee is still useful for foreign relations. You won’t believe how many leaders in other countries (esp developing countries) have utmost respect for Singapore because of him. This is especially true in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa, where some even use his memoirs as a bible for developing their own country.

  15. He has become a hindrance to our progress.

  16. He should fold his arms like Sir Stamford Raffles and watch the Singapore that he has developed. That would be a win-win for Singapore and himself.

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