20150405 Was Lee Kuan Yew “a horrible person”?

Singaporeans who idolise LKY (many who are parents, Ah Kongs and Ah Mahs) should not have demeaned themselves by reacting to Amos Yee’s video rant with profanities. Some LKY supporters have posed really stupid questions on social media with one calling for his execution.

Below is the comment on a TRS article

The worst comment came from, of all people, a ‘grassroots leader’ who wrote he should have “cut his [Amos] dick and put in his mouth for blemish Jesus Christ”.

Although the FB profile has been deleted, the above comments have already been verified by TR Emeritius.

If there wasn’t an iota of truth in Amos’s video, wouldn’t it be better to disregard his rant? Or did the truth hurt?

In a letter to ST Forum on 27 March, Chia Boon Teck, Ferrari owner and lawyer, wanted more limits to freedom of expression because he was pissed by many disrespectful jokes and opinions regarding LKY. Chia wanted Singaporeans to “take the disrespectful to task” by “raising the issue with the relevant authorities or the individuals’ respective professional or governing bodies”.

But is there any law against being disrespectful? How about others who display disrespectful behavior towards cleaners, bus drivers, etc? Or perhaps it is only an offence when the rich and powerful are involved? Who are the relevant authorities? Isn’t this pure bigotry?

Perhaps Chia was hinting at introducing a new law similar to Thailand’s lese-majeste? There shouldn’t be any issue with creating new titles such as .. king??? After all, the PAP has already created SM, MM and also new ministries. Shouldn’t be an issue to introduce a king as well in a pseudo democracy.

Whatever little freedom of speech Singaporeans have, Chia wanted this to be further curtailed. He had also made a police report against Amos for posting the video. This would have been a trivial issue and handled very differently in any other democratic country. And because more than 20 police reports have been made, the whole world now knows about our pseudo democracy!

Before we come to the question of whether LKY was a horrible person, I would suggest Chia and other like-minded persons be a bit more discerning – the public image and the real LKY are worlds apart. The real LKY is what he had done, both good and bad, and what he had said.

One inconvenient truth which the PAP has refused to come clean – LKY did jail his political opponents when he came into power and he did not even acknowledge his mistake for ruining their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Instead, the PAP has used the mainstream media to poison the minds of citizens who now believe the ‘sacrifice’ to achieve our economic ‘success’ was worth LKY’s ruthlessness.

The distortion of our history has gone on for too long. The nation cannot move forward by sweeping injustice under the carpet. Was LKY not a horrible person?

Some of LKY’s quotes from Wikiquote:

If you can’t force or are unwilling to force your people to follow you, with or without threats, you are not a leader” – Forcing citizens with threats – is this a sign of a good or horrible leader?

“That was the year the British decided to get out and sell everything. So I immediately held an election. I knew the people will be dead scared. And I won my bet big-time.” – Was LKY looking forward to serve the people or simply a horrible power hungry person?

“Look, Jeyaretnam can’t win the infighting. I’ll tell you why. WE are in charge. Every government ministry and department is under our control. And in the infighting, he will go down for the count every time… I will make him crawl on his bended knees, and beg for mercy”. – Was LKY not a horrible person?

“We have to lock up people, without trial, whether they are communists, whether they are language chauvinists, whether they are religious extremists. If you don’t do that, the country would be in ruins”. – Everyone could be locked up as long as they were perceived to be dissenters. It was LKY’s way or no way. All must agree with PAP’s idealogy and submit to their control. Was LKY not a horrible person?

“If we had not intervened on very personal matters – who your neighbour is, how you live, the noise you make, how you spit, or what language you use. We decide what is right. Never mind what the people think”. LKY was a leader who was not bothered to listen to the people. Was LKY a good or horrible leader?

“If nobody is afraid of me, I’m meaningless”. Through exemplary leadership, great leaders earn the respect of the people. But LKY used fear to control the civil service, mainstream media and the population. Was he a good or horrible person?

It’s like with dogs. You train it in a proper way from small. It will know that it’s got to leave, go outside to pee and to defecate. No, we are not that kind of society. We had to train adult dogs who even today deliberately urinate in the lifts”. A leader who compares the people to animals – a good or horrible leader?

Each person’s perception of another is subjective. There are quite a number of citizens who perceive LKY to be a horrible person and they are entitled to their views.

If the question of whether LKY was a horrible person was posed by a speaker at Hong Lim Park during the ReturnOurCPF rallies, the answer would have been a resounding ‘yes’, probably audible from the Istana.

That LKY has played an integral role in Singapore’s development is undeniable but his achievements have been overblown by the mainstream media. LKY has also done lots of horrible things and implemented horrible policies which have hurt ‘too many’ citizens.

Our limited public resources have been used in preparation for SG 50 celebrations, fixing opposition/bloggers/ordinary citizens etc and the government can ill afford to divert attention from more pressing national issues to a teenager’s video rant.

If there’s anything to be fixed, it’s the PAP itself. The contents of Amos’s video resonate with many voters and Amos will not be the last person to display disrespectful behavior to a politician. It’s about time the PAP embraces the internet instead of attempting to exert more control. Control and propaganda had worked for PAP during LKY’s time but that was decades ago.

The only way to convince a person that LKY was not a horrible person is to present evidence to the contrary. To Chia Boon Teck and and company who idolise LKY, please grow up and stop resorting to using fear to silence powerless citizens.

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1 Response to 20150405 Was Lee Kuan Yew “a horrible person”?

  1. Xmen says:

    Public policy and governance under LKY has caused irreparable harm to (segments of) Singapore society.

    1. Stop at two – The third children of many lower income families were deprived of basic education and other rights available to their peers. Women from lower income families were coerced to give up their reproductive rights or ‘forced’ to go through abortions.

    2. Land Acquisitions Act (1973) – The government basically confiscated properties from tens of thousands of landowners with minimal compensation. Many families lost their wealth and some were bankrupted by the regulatory taking.

    3. Constitution and Rights – With super majority control of Parliament for 50 years, there was no law or constitution that could not be changed to suit LKY’s political agenda. There was no check and balance. This was no accountability.

    There were grievances and some had ‘horrific’ personal and societal costs. It is time for the country to recognise the past wrongs and make amends.

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