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The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew

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Visionary? Authoritarian? Model for the West? Lee Kuan Yew, the long-time leader of Singapore, has been called all these things, and more. In these vivid memoirs, Lee takes a profoundly personal look back at the events that led to Singapore's independence and shaped its struggle for success. And, as always, he lets the chips fall where they may.In intimate detail, Lee reco Visionary? Authoritarian? Model for the West? Lee Kuan Yew, the long-time leader of Singapore, has been called all these things, and more. In these vivid memoirs, Lee takes a profoundly personal look back at the events that led to Singapore's independence and shaped its struggle for success. And, as always, he lets the chips fall where they may.In intimate detail, Lee recounts Singapore's unforgettable history. You'll be with Lee as he leads striking unionists against the colonial government; shares tea and rounds of golf with key players in Britain and Malaya; and drinks warm Anchor beer with leaders of the communist underground at secret midnight meetings. From British colonial rule through Japanese occupation in World War II, Communist insurrection, riots, independence -- and the struggles that followed -- few political memoirs anywhere have been this blunt, or this fascinating.Anyone interested in the political history of Singapore, Asia, and the modern world.


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Visionary? Authoritarian? Model for the West? Lee Kuan Yew, the long-time leader of Singapore, has been called all these things, and more. In these vivid memoirs, Lee takes a profoundly personal look back at the events that led to Singapore's independence and shaped its struggle for success. And, as always, he lets the chips fall where they may.In intimate detail, Lee reco Visionary? Authoritarian? Model for the West? Lee Kuan Yew, the long-time leader of Singapore, has been called all these things, and more. In these vivid memoirs, Lee takes a profoundly personal look back at the events that led to Singapore's independence and shaped its struggle for success. And, as always, he lets the chips fall where they may.In intimate detail, Lee recounts Singapore's unforgettable history. You'll be with Lee as he leads striking unionists against the colonial government; shares tea and rounds of golf with key players in Britain and Malaya; and drinks warm Anchor beer with leaders of the communist underground at secret midnight meetings. From British colonial rule through Japanese occupation in World War II, Communist insurrection, riots, independence -- and the struggles that followed -- few political memoirs anywhere have been this blunt, or this fascinating.Anyone interested in the political history of Singapore, Asia, and the modern world.

30 review for The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew

  1. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Unfortunately I was unable to finish this book and thus my review remains incomplete. This autobiography was a fascinating view into a bygone era: the decline of Britain's empire and the struggle of Asian colonies for independence and against the spread of Communism. It's difficult to truly understand the significance of the twin challenges of Imperialism and Communism, so far removed are we from those times. Lee accomplishes three things here: he states his principles, he tells the story of his o Unfortunately I was unable to finish this book and thus my review remains incomplete. This autobiography was a fascinating view into a bygone era: the decline of Britain's empire and the struggle of Asian colonies for independence and against the spread of Communism. It's difficult to truly understand the significance of the twin challenges of Imperialism and Communism, so far removed are we from those times. Lee accomplishes three things here: he states his principles, he tells the story of his own life, and he tells the story of Singapore. The first task is somewhat awkwardly done in this format; I got the sense that Lee couldn't help slipping in strongly held views, but doesn't spend much time justifying them. He nails his flag to the mast against soft punishments and cites his experiences in the Japanese occupation as being formative of his understanding of human nature but doesn't expound. Lee is deliberate in his mentions on race but doesn't argue his views at any length. I was intrigued in particular by his Left-leanings and departure from Fabian Socialism and wanted to know more, but Lee merely dismisses the issue with a minor comment about how he disliked their views on education. Lee's actions earlier in his life often seem at odds with his later actions, but little time is spent in reflection. He describes his use of the media to fight issues when he had no chance on the legal merits but doesn't reconcile this with his later use of litigation and legal controls against political discussion. The young Lee Kuan Yew unquestioningly participates in extensive industrial action but there is no discussion of it as something other than a political tool. Lee lambasts the Straits Times for receiving editorial direction against his party, but has no problem with it receiving direction in his favour. He accuses the newspaper of subversion, then when he wins power claims the flight of its staff demonstrates their unwillingness to live under the policies they advocated. Lee vociferously denounces foreign ownership of the press, but his censure is more than a little self-serving. For an autobiography, I had incredible trouble engaging with Lee's emotional life. He's a merciless rationalist, reeling off incidents and ideas, piercing assessments of people, brilliant political tactics and analysis, remaining emotionally detached throughout. Lee bluntly repudiates youthful ideologies and sharply criticises his own legal cases: he thought this once, but it is wrong and stupid; he successfully defended someone who should have been convicted by applying media pressure - and that is all. There's no sense of ruefulness or regret, no self-doubt. It's all black-and-white. Most tellingly Lee's romance with his eventual wife is described in the starkest of terms: she is described in terms of her background and education, her most prominent attributes commitment and intelligence. I'm a poor romantic, but the matter-of-fact tone permeating this tome felt immensely jarring here. Their association seemed like a business transaction, and I couldn't help but wonder about what Lee and his fiancee were feeling at the time, what they spoke about, and how they spent those days together. Throughout the book Lee describes very precisely his political tactics, how he intended to appear to different parties, and the efforts he went to to manage his public image (appearing sorrowful rather than angry, appealing to workers without spooking the middle-class). The narrative covers what appears to be the establishment of Lee's reputation rather than the illumination of his character. He is persistently concerned by appearances and means and does not discuss values or goals. Lee single-mindedly pursues the independence of Singapore over many years but doesn't explain why this is so important to him. He describes the arguments he made in different fora, but not his own personal reasons. The book begins in media res when Lee announces Singapore's independence, betraying his allies with backroom dealings, crying on camera. Given book's clinical tone and focus on image management, I struggled to believe that this abundance of emotion was genuine, and not artifice designed to attract the sympathies of the audience and dramatise the prologue. Lee's autobiography is most successful portraying the political struggles of Singapore's early years from the midst of the action. Defeating the erratic David Marshall, using and opposing the unions, allying and then clashing with the powerful Communists, meeting the mysterious Plenipotentiary, fortifying the party against infiltration, employing one opponent to fight another - it's gripping, high-stakes, means-justifies-the-ends political action. Lee has penetrating insight into the schemes and strategems of the political game, and readily guides the reader through the labyrinth of manipulation. Until I read this book I had no idea how divorced the Chinese community of Singapore was to the English-educated society, or how powerful, well-organised and legitimate the Communists were in the region. As a senior member of government Lee the author has access to the investigations British Special Branch performed on him so many years ago - I found this quite amusing. The writing is technically very workmanlike - recitations of detail that struggle to be evocative. Other political biographies are bland, self-justifying pieces designed to elevate the politician's image for posterity. Lee Kuan Yew eschews this dissemblance, telling it like he sees it, revealing exactly how he made his decisions. While there may be flaws in his arguments and views, I got the sense that they were truly his.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rob Price

    https://pricelesseconomics.wordpress.... (a few pictures are included in the blog post, link above) I recently visited Singapore and read Lee Kuan Yew’s (LKY) “3rd World to 1st World – The Singapore Story” to get a feel for the history, culture and politics. What an incredible character and an intriguing place! LKY is an unusual mixture of free-market advocate, state interventionist, anti-communist but adherent of socialism and yet he’s also against the welfare state. NO NONSENSE, NO AID, NO COMMUN https://pricelesseconomics.wordpress.... (a few pictures are included in the blog post, link above) I recently visited Singapore and read Lee Kuan Yew’s (LKY) “3rd World to 1st World – The Singapore Story” to get a feel for the history, culture and politics. What an incredible character and an intriguing place! LKY is an unusual mixture of free-market advocate, state interventionist, anti-communist but adherent of socialism and yet he’s also against the welfare state. NO NONSENSE, NO AID, NO COMMUNISM When he came into power in the late 1950’s LKY tried to avoid ideology and pragmatically targeted what was needed, jobs. Singapore refused aid handouts from developed countries because of the dependency it created. He wanted Singaporeans to add value, learn new skills and create productive sustainable jobs. After being a union lawyer in his earlier years, he managed to persuade the unions, align them with goals and breakup the more militant strikers. Let’s not beat around the bush – govt. came down like a shit ton of bricks on communist disrupters – sometimes putting people in detention for years and expelling people from the country. He opened the economy up to international competition, partnered with large multi-nationals, encouraged them to do business in Singapore and created a culture of training, hard work and merit based reward. He refused to see Singapore as a victim and chose to leapfrog economic neighbours, generating unprecedented economic and social development from the 1950’s onwards. Singapore is one of the very few countries to transition from a 3rd world country to 1st world. It’s incredible how few have achieved this transition in the past century (off the top of my head, Singapore, South Korea and perhaps Estonia) so there should be lots to learn. CAPABLE BUT LIMITED STATE The Democratic Alliance (DA) in South Africa often cites Singapore as an example of a “capable state” that other statists can aspire to. Yes, the government is integrally involved in the Singaporean economy but budgets are always balanced outside of recessions and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) ran a prudent monetary policy from the start. They refused to use debt, low interest or a cheaper currency to stimulate the economy because they understood the negative long-term consequences of these short-term policies. He doesn’t actually spend much time detailing these concepts in the book, almost taking them as a given. What I would give to live in a country where monetary and fiscal prudence are the default… Perhaps these, in of themselves, are enough to drive a capable state, or at least limit the degree of destruction caused by government in society. PEOPLE BENEFIT BY RESPECTING CAPITAL Added to these core principles, Singapore has astonishingly low tax rates. Approximately 28% for the top income tax rate, 26% corporate tax, 3% VAT, 5% estate duties and no capital gains taxes. Back in the 50s and 60s Singapore would sign 10-year tax exempt agreements with multinationals to encourage them to set up industry and train local people. Talk about an effort to promote savings, capital accumulation and economic growth! LKY also didn’t just pander to multinationals. Singaporeans were trained, upskilled and eventually held senior positions. If you’re uncertain about the impact on Singaporeans, consider that in 1960 Singapore’s per capita real GDP was 7 times smaller than the United States and equivalent to South Africa’s. By 2017 Singapore’s per capita real GDP was equivalent to the United States and 10 times higher than SA’s. HARD-LINE ON CORRUPTION Officials, including Lee himself, had to pay for any legal fees if there was any wrong-doing. This seems like a no-brainer – why doesn’t every government implement! After admitting guilt for a corruption offence, one senior official chose to commit suicide rather than face the public backlash, which provides an idea of the social cost of being found guilty of corruption in Singapore. LKY refused to curry favour to political friends and managed to create a capable public service. These guys seem like angels in comparison to any other public service around the globe. This level of integrity is not the norm, which is why I generally favour a limited government approach in order to limit the potential destruction government can reap in society. INTEGRITY ABOVE ALL ELSE? One defining aspect that comes across clearly in LKY’s book is his personal integrity. He stood for the truth at each and every turn, spoke his mind even under trying circumstances and held his colleagues to the same standard. This characteristic was apparent at international conferences when he openly criticised world leaders, major powers and stood against the status quo when needed. For example, supporting US involvement in Vietnam because he appreciated the buffer it created against Chinese and Russian communism, as well as criticising the US for their overreach when trying to impose their political and economic systems in the 3rd world. He also criticised 3rd world leaders for their focus on race politics, lavish lifestyles and consistent focus on the past (LKY took ordinary passenger aircraft into the 1990’s in attempt to maintain 3rd world wealth, while much poorer countries’ Presidents were cruising in private jets in stark contradiction to their requests for aid support). My sense is that these criticisms were offered to their face and in a non-antagonistic way, which is a delicate balance that he seemed to navigate successfully. There were also examples where he potentially overstepped the mark – like when he encouraged educated Singaporeans to marry other educated Singaporeans – but he was afforded a degree of leniency because people appreciated his honesty and knew his heart was generally in the right place. Perhaps integrity should be the primary characteristic we look for in politicians and society needs to find a reliable format to test these principles? Unfortunately, politics seems to attract the opposite characteristics, flaky individuals who bend to popular pressure in order to win favour at the next election. VALUES: CONFUCIAN SOCIALISM VS. WESTERN INDIVIDUALISM Singapore is often taken to task for its authoritarian approach. LKY argues that they aren’t authoritarian but that their Confucian values elevate society above the individual, which is why they’re more comfortable on limiting the rights of the individual than Western Democracies. The contrast between various values is a common thread throughout the book and LKY has a wonderful handle on it due to his extensive travel. While clearly some ideas are better at targeting certain outcomes, LKY was very cognisant of the values that held certain cultures together and disliked the mono-philosophical approach followed by some. For example, free markets support economic growth and democracy can empower individuals, which are reasonably good outcomes. However, LKY disagreed with the dogmatic way in which the US tried to assert these values across the 3rd world because it under appreciates the societal differences. This naivety lead to significant failure. Western countries, particularly America with it’s brash approach, should have been more careful in the way they imposed their values. An evangelical approach can turn people against the values in the first place. This really resonates with me. Good ideas should be shared but they need to be grappled with, understood and adapted to circumstance. A dogmatic student-teacher, “I’m right – you’re wrong” approach is dangerous and I think we’re seeing the consequences in society today. I can appreciate where they come from but reactionary anti-colonial movements that espouse communist values result in damaging outcomes for their people. AUTHORITARIANISM RESTRICTS INDIVIDUAL FREEDOMS There’s no doubt that there are authoritarian aspects to Singapore that I wouldn’t appreciate. Alcohol and liquor taxes are outrageous, Singaporean’s get charged special fees for entering casino’s, there are strong mandates on savings with very little choice for the individual and I’m sure there are a ton of other annoying restrictions on personal freedom. It’s also probably also a little boring living in Singapore – my friend living there tends to fly elsewhere to have fun in SE Asia. LKY obviously doesn’t spend too much time on the negatives in his book… He does, however, note that Singaporeans aren’t as entrepreneurial as some of cultures because people have become dependent on the state. It’s not all unicorns and rainbows but just glance back to the increase in per capita GDP… DIFFERENT LAND POLICIES FOR A VERY DIFFERENT STATE After full independence from Malaysia in 1965, the Singaporean government started to purchase large portions of its national land for housing developments. This example is used as a justification for nationalisation of South African land by the government but I think the examples above highlight clear differences between South Africa and Singapore. National land ownership is not the normal economic path but perhaps a state with almost zero corruption, an incredibly disciplined approach to property rights and a strong record in obeying contract law is capable of land ownership and distribution on an incredibly small island. Singapore’s land mass is 722km2, which is 25 times smaller than Gauteng – South Africa’s smallest province (Singapore is 1700 times smaller than SA). Even if it were possible to overcome the pressures created by the sheer size of South Africa, corruption is endemic, respect for property rights is poor and policies are prone to change depending on the political pressure at the upcoming election. The character of government couldn’t be further apart between Singapore and South Africa. If here’s one thing I took from LKY it’s a pragmatic approach to target policies that could logically work and avoid those that cannot. Until such time as the South African government shows itself capable of clamping down on corruption, respecting property rights and sticking to long term plans it would be unwise for the population to put further power in the hands of an extractive political elite. Overall, 3rd world to 1st world wasn’t the greatest book I’ve ever tucked into – there were long sections of geopolitical ramblings of little interest to me that I did my best to skim over – but it certainly provided wonderful context and enhanced my travel experience. I had lots to chew on as I experienced the professional service on Singapore Airlines, walked through the ultra-clean streets, whizzed around the city on efficient (and cheap) public transport, ate a variety of tasty foods at their world-renowned restaurants, glared up at the towering sky-scrapers and took solace in the beautiful parks, gardens and multitude of flowers in this wonderfully green city. It’s also great to be posed with so many intriguing political, economic, historical and cultural questions. Singapore confirms my belief in free markets, sound money, austere fiscal policies, education and integrity but it also challenges my scepticism of the state, authoritarianism and centralised planning. It’s great to be challenged and learn from such an iconic figure of the 20th century.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Caleb Liu

    He is too fascinating a man, and has left far too large an imprint on modern Singapore history for this to be an uninteresting book. Having lived through many of the climactic moments surrounding the foundation of the modern Singapore state, this first volume of memoirs would have value in itself as a historical account of what happened. Still, one gets the sense in reading this of a didactic lecturer not seeking justification - he never has felt the need - but closer to that of a stern father i He is too fascinating a man, and has left far too large an imprint on modern Singapore history for this to be an uninteresting book. Having lived through many of the climactic moments surrounding the foundation of the modern Singapore state, this first volume of memoirs would have value in itself as a historical account of what happened. Still, one gets the sense in reading this of a didactic lecturer not seeking justification - he never has felt the need - but closer to that of a stern father instructing his wayward children. One gets the sense that the events, his personal image and everything else is presented through a very particular and finely polished patina. This is sad, as all too often, what lies beneath is far more interesting.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

    Mr Lee Kuan Yew has gone down in history has one of the greatest leaders of his generation. In this book, he tells his story of how Singapore went from a fishing village to a first-world nation in the course of a generation. If you're looking for a read that tells you how Singapore developed to how it did in modern times, this is required reading. One of the strongest aspects of the book is how Mr.Lee developed policies to create a country with few natural resources. One of the most admirable fa Mr Lee Kuan Yew has gone down in history has one of the greatest leaders of his generation. In this book, he tells his story of how Singapore went from a fishing village to a first-world nation in the course of a generation. If you're looking for a read that tells you how Singapore developed to how it did in modern times, this is required reading. One of the strongest aspects of the book is how Mr.Lee developed policies to create a country with few natural resources. One of the most admirable facets of Mr.Lee is that he is never afraid to make unpopular decisions. He does what he thinks is right for the long-term prosperity of the nation. While the success of Singapore cannot be entirely credited to one man alone; what great leaders do is provide a vision and the follow-through for that vision to create something in tangible terms. While many do not agree with all of Mr.Lee's policies, they have been effective in catapulting a former fishing village into a thriving economy in the course of a generation.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Ying

    annoying

  6. 5 out of 5

    anna b

    I'm a 3rd generation Singaporean and have great reverence for LKY (I've work on a small project directly involved with him and partly also due to the propaganda in school.) Hence, I find it hard to reconcile the fact that my grandparents disliked him and my parents (and their siblings) find him bearable. This book is a candid memoir of his early life as well as his political journey which led to the separation of Singapore and Malaysia. I got to know LKY better and the reason why some may dislik I'm a 3rd generation Singaporean and have great reverence for LKY (I've work on a small project directly involved with him and partly also due to the propaganda in school.) Hence, I find it hard to reconcile the fact that my grandparents disliked him and my parents (and their siblings) find him bearable. This book is a candid memoir of his early life as well as his political journey which led to the separation of Singapore and Malaysia. I got to know LKY better and the reason why some may dislike him - my grandparents came from China and had immediate families in Malaysia. My parents and their generation are the products of those seeking the Singapore (then, Nanyang) dream and are a part of the progress of the country. Right at the beginning of the book, he has proved himself to be an elitist, a belief I abhor but have to accept as it helped in Singapore's progress then. He did so much dirty politicking that if it were not for Singapore, it will make me really dislike him. He is also extremely aggressive. All these attributes were good for Singapore then, it is the now that the Singapore government has to mull over - what sort of man will it take to lead Singapore to her next course? A man like him worked for Singapore 50 years ago and totally worth the ministerial-level salary we paid him. As an educated Singapore leading a comfortable life, I owed what I have today to him. The first part of the book ends with the climax of separation and I can't wait to read the next part which I can relate more to. I dropped a star as there are still many difficult words in the book despite him advocating the use of simple English. Oh well, he was a lawyer! Edited to add: I get a deeper knowledge of history of Singapore and the Malays of the region, the political sentiments between Singapore and her immediate neighbours. A must-read for all Singaporeans.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Celeste

    In 2015, I had this conversation with a Yale-NUS student: Me: I’m reading that book you recommended me. Him: Liu Cixin? Me: Yeah, I don’t like it. I’m a person rooted in reality. I don’t like books about fantasy; I find them hard to relate to. Him: Did you read Lee Kuan Yew’s Hard Truths? That is fantasy to me. I admit I picked this up when a mentor at work advised me to familiarise myself with the Singapore story so I could add value(TM) to my future classmates at business school in the US. It’s fun In 2015, I had this conversation with a Yale-NUS student: Me: I’m reading that book you recommended me. Him: Liu Cixin? Me: Yeah, I don’t like it. I’m a person rooted in reality. I don’t like books about fantasy; I find them hard to relate to. Him: Did you read Lee Kuan Yew’s Hard Truths? That is fantasy to me. I admit I picked this up when a mentor at work advised me to familiarise myself with the Singapore story so I could add value(TM) to my future classmates at business school in the US. It’s funny how one reads the alternate versions and criticisms of Singapore’s “myths” before reading about the man himself. Since university, sociology courses have taught us to critically examine our understanding of Singapore history as taught by Social Studies courses. Since then, I read anthologies like A Luxury We Can Afford that criticised how the value of the arts was diminished beside commerce and science based on a famous LKY phrase; and The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, presenting an alternative view of Lim Chin Siong and PAP’s collaboration with Communists. The Singapore Story follows the journey of Singapore from pre-World War 2 to gaining independence in 1965. I initially thought this memoir would be 600 lengthy pages of how LKY dislikes communism, plays golf, and visits the Cameron Highlands to clear his mind. I then considered abandoning this tome for the next chapter in Singapore’s history — from Third World to First — but I realised that there was so much wisdom to glean from the Man even before all that. This book was brilliant political maneuverers, LKY’s skill for reading situations and positioning his allies and detractors in ways that would help him advance his cause. It was breathtaking and awesome to read his analysis of Communism and the ways in which Singapore would gain independence. LKY is steely, clear minded, and a strongman. He does not seem to have any room for self-pity, any denigrations or criticisms are water off a duck’s back. LKY is the kind of leader that comes about once a century, and even business leaders should look up to him for the way he handles negotiation and thinks for the best for his country, not a sell-out who flips and flops whichever the wind blows. Yes — in the memoir you realise he’s not the most popular diplomat, and some contemporaries criticised him for being two-faced and uncooperative, but goddamnit he pulled it off didn’t he? On a personal level, I drew parallels between LKY’s experiences and mine. LKY was willing to learn to speak in Chinese, Hokkien and Malay to gain the trust and popularity amongst his constituents. He was able to sit through marathon schmoozing sessions to achieve his aim of achieving acceptance and awareness of Singapore and Malaysia. And for me — should I learn French to fit into my partner’s family, and likewise play the part of graceful power couple in marathon social sessions? I sense a fundamental difference between us — he was a political figure, and willing to play politics; but I am unwilling to compromise what I perceived as authentic self. On another note, it’s dismaying to read accounts of brilliant people and realise you could never be as impressive as them. Finally, LKY is a stunning reminder for one to be tough and not to end up succumbing to a comfortable bourgeoise life even though you might be provided with opportunities to be. For if he were like his contemporaries who internalised the inferior status of “Asiatics”, or a “colonial stooge” who was just interested in lining his pockets and having gentleman’s agreement at the club, where would Singapore be? 4 stars as I thought this memoir could be shorter and more concise, my eyes glazed over when he detailed every diplomatic visit he had — no doubt affirming his boundless energy, but did not contribute to the overall narrative.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sean Liu

    Some countries are born independent. Some achieve independence. Singapore had independence thrust upon it. I loved this memoir. It is an incredible testament to the fact that so much of the Singapore story is inextricably tied to the Lee Kaun Yew story. From the days of the Japanese occupation, to his overseas education in the UK, to his weeks of golf/whiskey/poker diplomacy with the Tunku of Malaysia, LKY's history is nothing short of an adventure filled with drama and world travel that I Some countries are born independent. Some achieve independence. Singapore had independence thrust upon it. I loved this memoir. It is an incredible testament to the fact that so much of the Singapore story is inextricably tied to the Lee Kaun Yew story. From the days of the Japanese occupation, to his overseas education in the UK, to his weeks of golf/whiskey/poker diplomacy with the Tunku of Malaysia, LKY's history is nothing short of an adventure filled with drama and world travel that I'm sure will one day make a great TV miniseries. Another reason why I appreciated this book so much is more personal. I've read many biographies of great presidents and statesmen but I've never studied one that was Asian, let alone Hakka. And as a Hakka and overseas-born, English-educated Chinese myself, I couldn't help but feel kinship with his family history and also pride in what a Hakka person achieved in such a historic and transformative period in Southeast Asian history. Living in Singapore now, a city state that is lauded for its strong and efficient governance, it feels more and more like home every day (especially in light of what's happening in the US where I grew up). The last thing that really struck me is that it's easy to take for granted Singapore's rise and pivotal role in the "Asian economic miracle," but this memoir serves as a reminder of just how unlikely this outcome was. LKY repeats often that Singapore was just a "small Chinese island in a sea of Malays," with grim hopes of surviving after failing to merge with Malaysia, let alone thriving as its own independent nation. It was an incredibly uncertain time. Understanding the character and wisdom of LKY helps us understand how Singapore was able to beat the odds and emerge as the wealthy and successful city-state we know today. Can't wait to read his "sequel" next, From Third World to First, which covers the 25 year period following Singapore's independence in '65.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cristian Strat

    Wow

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marcus

    The growth of Singapore is almost always presented as the rapid transformation from a dilapidated fishing village to bustling city state. As a child, I've largely been left to my imagination to fill in the gaps as to what transpired in order to create the modern Singapore. In this book, the late LKY shares in intricate detail the hardships that he & his fellow party members endured from the Japanese occupation to the final separation from Malaysia. The memoir is not only an extremely well-writte The growth of Singapore is almost always presented as the rapid transformation from a dilapidated fishing village to bustling city state. As a child, I've largely been left to my imagination to fill in the gaps as to what transpired in order to create the modern Singapore. In this book, the late LKY shares in intricate detail the hardships that he & his fellow party members endured from the Japanese occupation to the final separation from Malaysia. The memoir is not only an extremely well-written autobiography of Mr Lee, but also one of Singapore and how it came to be. Many citizens express their concerns of the growing apathy that Singapore's youths have towards politics & the direction that Singapore's leaders have chosen for the nation. I strongly encourage fellow Singaporeans to read this book; for in order to decide the future for ourselves and our home, we must first know our past.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maxim

    Overrated book, i think, but still very interesting, since the author was leader of Singapore for almost half a century. His comments on politics and economics are often very smart and iteresting to read, as well as his comments on many famous politicians, but at times are boring and superficial (or maybe it is just eastern politeness). The book is worth to read for everybody who is interested in history, politics and economic policy.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Madhumitha

    It was a good read to understand what happened before the formation of Singapore and the hardship that Lee Kuan Yew and his team faced internally and externally during this period. But what I really wanted to know was how Lee Kuan Yew transformed Singapore from a struggling island to a thriving developed country. Perhaps my expectations from the book was something else.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Pieter Vermeulen

    Extremely insightful book covering a variety of topics. It ranges from exlaining the development of Singapore to South East Asian history and politics. The part about China is very interesting still relevant even after 20 years

  14. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Mustread

    More than I wanted to know (or could ever remember) about Singapore's independence and political beginnings. More than I wanted to know (or could ever remember) about Singapore's independence and political beginnings.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ali Al-Mansoori 🇦🇪

    In the beginning it was interesting however it gets boring due to details that are not needed at all. I could not finish it accordingly

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mohamed IBrahim

    The book is a propaganda about modernization of a small country by force and by ignoring all the costs that societies will pay. How one person vision could overthrow all other things. It reminds us that modernity should be multiple ways. There should be many modernizations not only the western backed route. World shouldn't get away from their roots and became one dimensional societies which live inhuman life. Humans should be more than that. But the book also gives us some details about the hist The book is a propaganda about modernization of a small country by force and by ignoring all the costs that societies will pay. How one person vision could overthrow all other things. It reminds us that modernity should be multiple ways. There should be many modernizations not only the western backed route. World shouldn't get away from their roots and became one dimensional societies which live inhuman life. Humans should be more than that. But the book also gives us some details about the history of this region and some successful management stories.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Lee Kuan Yew recounts the first half of Singapore’s history, focusing on its short-lived marriage with Malaya. The attempted merger was awfully complex. Its failure was simple. The power dynamics and racial divide were too much to overcome.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Esteban Vargas

    Amazing man, amazing story. The world can learn a lot from Singapore. That being said, this book gives way too much detail about that story, way more than I wanted to know, so for that reason I stopped reading it halfway.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Josiah

    First part of an autobiographical trilogy by Singapore's founding father. I read it because I wanted to get details and backstory behind why Singapore and Malaysia separated, which is the climactic moment in the book. It took me a while to get through but it did not disappoint. I'm looking forward to reading part 2. First part of an autobiographical trilogy by Singapore's founding father. I read it because I wanted to get details and backstory behind why Singapore and Malaysia separated, which is the climactic moment in the book. It took me a while to get through but it did not disappoint. I'm looking forward to reading part 2.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Oof. This one was rough sledding. My 19-yr-old, who is fascinated with Cold War history, recommended this book. Sadly, I don’t see what he saw. This book seems to be written for Singaporeans, or those fascinated with Singapore. I’ve never been to Singapore. I don’t particularly care about Singapore. I didn’t particularly like the only Singaporean I’ve ever known. This is the memoir of a man who is proud of his work in creating something for which I feel no affinity. For me, this was like reading Oof. This one was rough sledding. My 19-yr-old, who is fascinated with Cold War history, recommended this book. Sadly, I don’t see what he saw. This book seems to be written for Singaporeans, or those fascinated with Singapore. I’ve never been to Singapore. I don’t particularly care about Singapore. I didn’t particularly like the only Singaporean I’ve ever known. This is the memoir of a man who is proud of his work in creating something for which I feel no affinity. For me, this was like reading the memoir of the founder of NASCAR or the inventor of curling - interesting from a general historical perspective, but not really my thing. Then there was the subject matter. ‘The Singapore Story’ is a misnomer, as the actual title should simply be ‘The Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew, Volume I.’ The book ends just when Singapore becomes its own independent city-state, and that’s the problem. Prior to that moment, it’s a book about the creation of Singapore, which I don’t find interesting. After that moment (in what I imagine is Volume II), things get very interesting as this tiny little nation becomes an economic powerhouse and a beacon for its region. That’s the story I want to learn! Why two stars and not one, if I disliked it so much? Well, Lee was a brilliant and interesting man, and he (or his ghost writer) knows how to put pen to paper. If I were a Singaporean, or even someone with any kind of personal connection to the subject matter, I may well have loved this book. If you’re either of these things, this may be your favorite book of the year.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Duminda Rathnayaka

    Absolutely fantastic This book sheds so much light on so many things that we barely notice. Apart from the fact that Lee Kuan Yew was a great politician who made Singapore into a prosperous country, it seems to me he was a great mind first and foremost. At the beginning of the book there’s this anecdote about why LKY chooses Choo, who is couple of years older than him to be his wife. He explains it to her along these lines: “I don’t want to look after someone. I want someone who can look after he Absolutely fantastic This book sheds so much light on so many things that we barely notice. Apart from the fact that Lee Kuan Yew was a great politician who made Singapore into a prosperous country, it seems to me he was a great mind first and foremost. At the beginning of the book there’s this anecdote about why LKY chooses Choo, who is couple of years older than him to be his wife. He explains it to her along these lines: “I don’t want to look after someone. I want someone who can look after herself”. This was when he was as in early 20s. He goes against tradition (or her parents) in marrying her in secret, but has the good sense to keep it secret for years when they again get married. Sort of sums up this whole book. Doing things by the book, yet against it. And achieving something beautiful.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Danny Quah

    A good read generally. The book is an account of developments as told by LKY himself - straight-talking and opinionated. Obviously there are disagreements - even with those closest to him - some not just of opinion but fact. The English language used in the book is definitely of its time, with a rhythm and phrasings no longer encountered. But all in all a chunk of valuable history for pretty much everyone who wants to know about Asia generally and development in the second part of the 20th centu A good read generally. The book is an account of developments as told by LKY himself - straight-talking and opinionated. Obviously there are disagreements - even with those closest to him - some not just of opinion but fact. The English language used in the book is definitely of its time, with a rhythm and phrasings no longer encountered. But all in all a chunk of valuable history for pretty much everyone who wants to know about Asia generally and development in the second part of the 20th century specifically.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mantareads

    This is not THE Singapore Story. It is the political story of one man's life. In other words, it is a percentage of a fraction of a decimal of a massive iceberg of the Singaporean past. It has no right to arrogate upon itself the status of speaking for ALL Singaporeans. For this, the book's publishers, editors, and author himself should be called out for their conceit. I feared this would be a tiresome slog, and near the middle, when Lee goes into the byzantine intricacies of "fighting the commu This is not THE Singapore Story. It is the political story of one man's life. In other words, it is a percentage of a fraction of a decimal of a massive iceberg of the Singaporean past. It has no right to arrogate upon itself the status of speaking for ALL Singaporeans. For this, the book's publishers, editors, and author himself should be called out for their conceit. I feared this would be a tiresome slog, and near the middle, when Lee goes into the byzantine intricacies of "fighting the communists", the whole momentum of the narrative slows down to a painful crawl, in part because Singaporean historiography ('both' sides) has granulated this episode: of the communists, the Barisan, and the events leading up to Operation Coldstore, into a spectacularly boring drag. The so-called 'counternarratives' of this period actually reinforce the agony. Make no mistake: this part is FUCKING boring. But the pace picks up again when Singapore moves into Malaysia, and Lee shows us butthurt Malay ultranationalists determined to fix the PAP, and to bring this upstart little state to heel. I'm not saying this because i'm a Pappie dog. History shows us how a threatened UMNO would deploy similar tactics again in Kuala Lumpur in 1969, this time sending in the police to fire into Chinese shophouses. Reading the 1964 Singapore race riots with 1969 in mind one cannot help but feel a sense of ominous foreshadowing. Curiously, Lee makes no mention nor connection of what was to come later as far as this is concerned - understandably so, but some context helps to corroborate what he's saying here. And while Lee is careful to hedge his words where the Tunku is concerned, the impression that emerges from this account is a weak, unsavoury mafia boss with his coterie of yes-men, which Lee, Goh Keng Swee, Rajaratnam, and Toh Chin Chye refused to be party too. The evidence checks out, more or less, to this casual reader of Singaporean history. Lee's claim that Malaysia's ultra-nationalists were stoking racist sentiments to divide and conquer corroborates with what was to come in 1969, and then again through Mahathir's rhetoric. Even the Malaysia of today shows you how ethnonationalists still occupy the prime ground. The Malaysian Solidarity Convention was quite an epic attempt to fight UMNO's communal strategy, and i can't help but wonder how things would have panned out if Separation hadnt happened; if martial law in Malaysia hadnt been declared in 1969. I think the Tunku and UMNO were right to fear what was to come had they allowed a Malaysian Malaysia to flower and bud. So many roads not taken; not just the ones lazy pseudo-historians like to whine about wrt LiM cHiN sIonG and teH bArISAn s0cIaLiS fiGhTing 4 deMocraCY. Once you realise how dead set against Separation the British were, the fact that Malaysian and Singaporean leaders had pulled this off entirely without their knowledge was pretty epic too. I think in the ebb and froth of everything else, this crazy achievement got sidelined. But how often do you hear of a colonial power completely blindsided by the plans of its two successor states, which it was still trying to paternistically guide? Lee wasn't wrong to say they'd pulled a "bloodless coup" from under the British noses. Ending the book at Separation was a good choice. I came away feeling with a much better understanding of why Lee and his crew were so resolute, so determined to go it on their own, and why Separation was such a "moment of anguish" for him. The Malaysian Experiment had failed, and failed horribly; the events of Kuala Lumpur 1969 would later reinforce that. Better Singapore would go it alone, than parley with the greedy, the flabby, the ones in it for themselves (Tan Siew Sin also emerges as a villain; i wonder what GKS or Tan himself had to say about this). A perfect example of why divorce is sometimes better for all parties involved. I still disagree with the incredibly misleading title of this book, though its subtitle is accurate. I think as a memoir of Lee Kuan Yew, it's pretty solid: decently-paced, and relatively lucid, if painfully and blinkeredly political. Lee writes clearly, but in a weirdly staccato register that is tiresome to read for too long. 'Machiavellian' would not be an unfair description of the persona in this book, but i think that word has overly negative connotations - it's clear that this is a man with an incredibly sharp political acumen, a sense of political theatre, and how his actions would be perceived and played out. I think the other amazing thing is the fact that in addition to this political-sense, Lee would later show he was an excellent administrator too. Overall, a decent Singapore Story. But not THE definitive one by a long shot. Lee and his publishers and editors cannot claim to represent the stories of the hundreds of thousands of other Singaporeans who lived through that time period. So this is one man's story of one aspect of his life. And while this aspect may have shaped independent Singapore in the years to come, it cannot even tell the stories from the perspectives of other political leaders of the period, let alone the millions whose lives were irrevocably changed in a thousand different ways by the decisions him and his colleagues made. I would have given this book 2 stars for its arrogant title and its political tunnel-vision. But the Malaysian part of the story, and the conclusion, raised it up in my standing a little more.

  24. 5 out of 5

    David

    A great man of wisdom show me a big picture of developing a country from zero to prosperous one.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Saidi Mdala

    THE SINGAPORE STORY: MEMOIRS OF LEE KUAN YEW - Vol. 1 In one video clips that’s been trending lately, Tyler Perry, uses a great example of the amount of work, resources and effort that goes into the foundation of a building as an invaluable life lesson, he says, he learnt helping his father with construction work. About half the labour, material and time goes into the foundation of an ordinary house. And ALL of that work is buried under the ground never to be seen again, certainly never admired a THE SINGAPORE STORY: MEMOIRS OF LEE KUAN YEW - Vol. 1 In one video clips that’s been trending lately, Tyler Perry, uses a great example of the amount of work, resources and effort that goes into the foundation of a building as an invaluable life lesson, he says, he learnt helping his father with construction work. About half the labour, material and time goes into the foundation of an ordinary house. And ALL of that work is buried under the ground never to be seen again, certainly never admired and rarely, if ever, spoken about. It is a profound lesson for anyone looking for an authentic and, sadly, only way to enduring achievement. So I set out to find out how statesman extraordinary and futuristic leader, Lee Kuan Yew turned Singapore from swamps to a first world country, and 680 pages later I realised I had just dispensed with the foundation of this feat. But if truth be told, I have no regrets. In fact, if anything, I am glad I picked this first volume first, because it would have been less exciting to have to go back to it after the second one! It’s like reading ‘The Loser’s Seminar’ after ‘Know What Matters’. This is a memoir well written and as carefully detailed as a wise old man, keen to tell it all as far as memory and available resources can permit, could. Mr. Lee Kuan Yew is a great story teller and reading his book is like watching a well thought through and expertly packaged documentary. The experience is real-life like, gripping and as authentic as anything supervised by his no-nonsense wife can be. It takes you back 23 years into the 20th century, when Lee Kuan Yew was born in Singapore and it promptly launches you into a story that has every indication of becoming an extraordinary one. Of course there are no shooting stars, eclipses and storms that normally signify the birth of a great man. Except, maybe, this one thing; Kuan Yew (Lee’s actual first names) means either ‘light and brightness’ or ‘bringing great glory to one’s ancestors.’ As it unfolds, Lee Kuan Yew’s story is one of how an ordinary boy born of middle class parents into British colonialism, has his career determined for him by Japanese invasion and the atrocities they unleashed on him and his people and the unsuccessful alliance he tries to build with the Malay. Thus, when in his early 20s, he inevitably goes into politics, he has his work cut out for him. Ahead lies a precarious path, one he has to beat up himself, and as he treads its endless blind spots, unmarked pitfalls and occasional barriers; he has the unenviable task of having to study, understand, befriend, make the most of, part with, and outlive or outwit the friends, foes and phonies he meets along the way. In the first 42 years of his life he has to deal with his erstwhile colonial master and his permanent interests, the wrath of a wicked Japanese invasion that lasted for the three years – the longest Lee and his people ever had to live through – and the shrewd, determined and highly organised pro-communist Chinese who were hard bent on annexing Singapore. Later he has to contend with the Malay and other neighbours on who he spent the larger part of his early political career trying to merge with. The merger yields Malaysia, a short lived federation from which Singapore is unceremoniously ejected a short two years later. Because, in many ways, this merger often takes centre stage, Lee Kuan Yew weaves this volume of his memoirs around it. In fact, he opens and closes with it. It is a heartrending account of trials and tribulations and everything that can go wrong in the pursuit of freedom; suppression, invasion, subjugation, exploitation, abuse, deception, betrayal, crucifixion, endless ambushes, you name it. But it is also an inspiring account where all these mishaps are constantly interfaced by striving for an outcome Kuan Yew Lee believed so much in: that if all the suffering was ‘mixed’ with a larger than life vision, a constantly flexible plan, relentless soldiering in the face of hardship, creative thinking and harnessing of every relationship that yielded mileage along the way; the outcome would be something worthwhile. And after half of his initial 42 years chasing the dream he had conceived for his country and fellowman, he lays a solid foundation for Singapore and in the process become some extraordinary person worth becoming. The result is a story of determination, character, integrity, extraordinary wit, unremitting perseverance, lots of hard work, solid leadership, hope and the luck that always comes with the cocktail of these great qualities and unwavering focus. It is a story I enjoyed reading and from which I learnt many invaluable life lessons in virtually all aspects of meaningful pursuit. It is a story you might find, like I did, game changing!

  26. 4 out of 5

    KN

    Last night I finished reading the first volume of Lee Kuan Yew's autobiography - The Singapore story. The book had such a poignant ending that I had to just close the book and just sit for a moment to feel unburdened. After all the months of fighting that LKY and his political party had to endure against opposing powers, he found himself in an unenviable position - of a leader of a country that was pushed out of a federation and left to fend for itself. That is how overwhelming the ending of the Last night I finished reading the first volume of Lee Kuan Yew's autobiography - The Singapore story. The book had such a poignant ending that I had to just close the book and just sit for a moment to feel unburdened. After all the months of fighting that LKY and his political party had to endure against opposing powers, he found himself in an unenviable position - of a leader of a country that was pushed out of a federation and left to fend for itself. That is how overwhelming the ending of the book is. The Singapore Story is the first of two volumes that LKY has written about his life and political career. The first book talks about how Singapore gained Independence, or rather, how it was forced into Independence. Strange but true. The second book, From Third World to First, talks about LKY's efforts in turning Singapore from an isolated backwater into one of the most livable cities in Asia. It is all the most impressive because at the time it was handed Independence, Singapore was a third world nation, a small weak country with no major industries and no sense of self-reliance. At the time it was dependent on its neighbouring state even for its water supply. Although there are many inspiring lessons from his leadership, there are few particulars that I liked about the book. First, I was quite impressed by LKY's grasp of English. It defintely helped that he was schooled in English at an early age. His higher education in England also contributed to this. And the book showcases his impeccable English and his expansive vocabulary. I found myself grabbing the dictionary multiple times throughout the book. One only has to watch his interviews available online to see how fluently he spoke English. In fact, it was only later during his political career that he started learning other languages such as Chinese and Malay, in order to better communicate with the mass. There are two major events that can said to have shaped LKY's thinking and his political philosophy. One was his time in England where he saw the British (his country's colonisers) in their home land. And second was most probably the Japanese invasion of Singapore. These two events contributed most to how he designed his political career and the principles on which he built Singapore. So I feel it is not simply a concidence that LKY's description of the Japanese invasion of Singapore are some of the most vivid and harrowing chapters in the book. His authoritative streak in his government policies probably came from his observation of his oppressors and adoption in parts of their methods. The book does get a bit dense in a few places. Singapore faced a lot of strikes in the 1950s, notably of which were the Hock Lee bus riots. Effectively, this period was also the time when LKY's legal career took off. But I found that the author spent a lot of time describing these strikes, and how LKY helped the students and workers get their due against the establishment. Later on in the book, the author also describes in painful detail the tension and power-play between the communists parties of both Singapore and Malaysia and LKY's own political party, the PAP. By the time the Malaysian PM pushed him out of the Malaysian Federation, it was evident that they were quite intimidated by his popularity and his unwavering focus in bringing Malaysia together. There are lots of poignant moments in the book, especially the speech that he gives in the Malaysian Parliament and the press conference he was forced to have when Singapore was kicked out of Malaysia. One can watch parts of these events online and it gives a clear sense of the pressure and responsiblity that LKY faced at that time. Singapore today is the envy of Asia, if not the world. And although criticized for some heavy handedness in his governance, LKY has definitely achieved brilliantly what he set out to do - make Singapore into one of the best cities to live in. Although this book does not chronicle how he did that, but it sets the background of how LKY found himself in that position and what events in his life influenced his thinking to turn Singapore into the place that it is today. If you are a fan of biographies, then you will definitely love this book. It stretches a little too much in the middle. But I urge you to stay with it. And it will help you understand one of the most important and respected world leaders of the 20th century.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jake Losh

    A very good memoir book, full of the history and politics of Malaysia and Singapore and with lots of juicy details about the history and politics of 1950s-1960s Britain and Commonwealth countries. The early chapters are as good a history of the British colonial twilight and Japanese occupation of Malaya/Singapore as you're likely to find in English. It's a fascinating part of the Pacific theater that I'd never considered before reading this book. How LKY governs following WW2 is also really inte A very good memoir book, full of the history and politics of Malaysia and Singapore and with lots of juicy details about the history and politics of 1950s-1960s Britain and Commonwealth countries. The early chapters are as good a history of the British colonial twilight and Japanese occupation of Malaya/Singapore as you're likely to find in English. It's a fascinating part of the Pacific theater that I'd never considered before reading this book. How LKY governs following WW2 is also really interesting and paints a vivid picture of how powerful a force communism was in Singapore at the time. It also gives considerable detail into what went down that caused the ultimate break with Malaysia; although, I take LKY's account with a grain of salt since he does have incentive to paint himself as the underdog in the story. Same caveats apply to everything as it is meant to be a memoir and not an objective history. There is a considerable amount of political play-by-play in this book. This was my first introduction to books by political figures so at first I greatly appreciated all the details of who got influenced to get what outcome, but I have to admit it wore thin by about page 400. You get a really good sense of how politics works, block-by-block and district-by-district and I came away with a much greater appreciation of what elected representatives do, how they build coalitions, etc. You should skim this stuff if you're not into it. It's worth reading if you have interest in the region and/or you like memoirs.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mohamed El-Zeadani

    The Singapore story is a book about Lee Kuan Yew’s life from his birth up to 1965 when Singapore parted from Malaysia and became independent. The author explains vividly how he grew up, the Japanese invasion of Singapore, his life at Cambridge, and his law and political career. I found the book extremely entertaining given the fact that it is not my type of book. I can’t deny that after reading this book, my appreciation and affection towards politicians who really want to help their countries p The Singapore story is a book about Lee Kuan Yew’s life from his birth up to 1965 when Singapore parted from Malaysia and became independent. The author explains vividly how he grew up, the Japanese invasion of Singapore, his life at Cambridge, and his law and political career. I found the book extremely entertaining given the fact that it is not my type of book. I can’t deny that after reading this book, my appreciation and affection towards politicians who really want to help their countries prosper have grown. The book clearly depicts what happens when having the right person at the right job. The role of a government in today’s world is indispensable, without a government, anarchy would reign and disorder would be tangible. But to have a government that really wants to push the country forward and achieve prosperity; you could see the next Singapore. On a last note, this book should be an encouragement to all those smart leaders out there who refrain away from joining politics, if Lee didn’t work hard and venture into politics we might have not of heard of Lee Kuan Yew. Let this book be a reminder that we need to follow our passion and assume responsibility if we needed so, life is about giving back, and it is those who give back the most are the ones that shall be remembered.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kes

    I loved this retelling of Singapore - it emphasised policies I hadn't considered but remain significant in Singapore today. For example, we all learn two languages in school, and this was a result of historical negotiations. The book talks about the power of the communists and the Chinese-educated; because Singapore (one generation later!) is so English-educated, we easily dismiss the influence that the Chinese-speakers (despite being a majority!) had. The downside is that because LKY spent a lo I loved this retelling of Singapore - it emphasised policies I hadn't considered but remain significant in Singapore today. For example, we all learn two languages in school, and this was a result of historical negotiations. The book talks about the power of the communists and the Chinese-educated; because Singapore (one generation later!) is so English-educated, we easily dismiss the influence that the Chinese-speakers (despite being a majority!) had. The downside is that because LKY spent a lot of time fighting against the MCP (Malayan Communist Party), which drew much of its support from its Chinese communist base, the non-Chinese and their political situation are not often discussed (and after often lumped in with the English-educated / Anglo-philic society). Similarly, we don't see much argument for why people wanted closer ties with the British - it seems like they were politically a minority, which is why LKY doesn't deal with them a lot. The politics involved was also fascinating. LKY talks about his worldwide trip to garner support from various countries such as Africa. We see how he plays off the British and the Malayans (before Malaysia) against each other - knowing that each party has their own autonomy, and their own preference, and trying to encourage the eventual decision. 5/5 for what I learned.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Manu Datta

    I started working in Singapore about 3 years ago, and it is clear that public consciousness and public debate still resonates and revolves around Mr LKY's ideas. So naturally I was conscious and acquired a copy of his book. By no measure does this run like a standard auto-biography and for sure by no measure has his life been anything but ordinary. (view spoiler)[ He has survived Japanese Occupation, found an opportunity to study in England, came back , find agreeable honourable people he started I started working in Singapore about 3 years ago, and it is clear that public consciousness and public debate still resonates and revolves around Mr LKY's ideas. So naturally I was conscious and acquired a copy of his book. By no measure does this run like a standard auto-biography and for sure by no measure has his life been anything but ordinary. (view spoiler)[ He has survived Japanese Occupation, found an opportunity to study in England, came back , find agreeable honourable people he started a Political party with, forayed into elections in his own country whose own language he couldn't speak well at first, cooperated with the communists and later obliterated them, made fake friends who turned on him and he spurned them, directed Singapore into a country and out of it in 3 years. No other man can make such a claim (hide spoiler)] Apart from the richness of his experience is also the astounding tenure of it. Mr Lee is also unusual like most political operatives in being most candid, even while he was at the centre of the political arena. The Singapore story is a revelation as to what is possible if hardworking decent intelligent men set their minds together to enrich an impoverished nation and that is a lesson to the 21st century that should be studied well. You may disagree with Mr Lee, but you certainly cannot be ignorant of his achievements.

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