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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A candid and critical look at the history of Singapore
Lee Kuan Yew is one of the most misunderstood leaders in the world. "Helicopter" journalists, on 3 day visits, without appreciation of local conditions think that all societies can be governed the same way. Even foreigners who reside in Singapore do not appreciate how each society can be very different beneath the veener of the skyscrapers in an urban...
Published on 4 Mar 1999

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not very compelling
Although certain portions manage to be engaging and do present an illuminating view of Singapore's recent history, on the whole, it simply remains a 680-page shrine to the author's own ego and reputation, deftly down-playing the efforts (and objections) of other politicians of the era whose contributions to Singapore are certainly no less than that of the author's. The...
Published on 29 Dec 1999


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A candid and critical look at the history of Singapore, 4 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew (Hardcover)
Lee Kuan Yew is one of the most misunderstood leaders in the world. "Helicopter" journalists, on 3 day visits, without appreciation of local conditions think that all societies can be governed the same way. Even foreigners who reside in Singapore do not appreciate how each society can be very different beneath the veener of the skyscrapers in an urban society. Lee does not subscribe to "isms" but views society in the necessary harsh light of social Darwinism. All these are evident from his book. This is a very candid and critical look at a certain period of the Singapore history of which he was the main player, though not the only one, as he himself acknowledges in the book. The battles he fought againt (the colonialists, the chauvinists, the communalists, the communists), the qualities he personified (hard work, integrity, trust, discipline, courage, leadership, imagination)and the policies he pursued (free market, strong defence, meritocracy, social cohesion, clean government, emphasis on education) all have stood Singapore well and are now making it stand out in a region ravaged by economic turmoil. This book is therefore very important for politicians. It teaches that good government is hard work but that once entrusted with the people's will to govern, politicians must do away with easy and populist measures and govern with intelligence, integrity and imagination.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, Amazing, Enlightening. Changed my opinion of LKY, 24 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew (Hardcover)
I've spent more than 8 years living in Singapore spread over 4 decades (60s, 70s, 80s, 90s). I thought after all of that experience I had a strong sense of why things are the way they are in Singapore (Both things I liked and hated.) I was wrong. LKY's book opened my eyes and gave me a look at things I had never considered. While I may not have been a big fan of LKY in the past . . . after reading his book, combined with my own knowledge of SE Asia, I honestly believe he did the right things needed to build Singapore. To top it off, he provides a surprising personal look at himself for so private a man. Frankly, I now think Lee is one of the most courageous, and effective leaders of the 20th Century. This book is absolutely a must read! Well done Mr. Lee.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The style of the prose may not be prize-winning..., 15 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew (Hardcover)
The style of the prose may not be prize-winning for the purists, but it is easily understood, and serves the aim of the author - to make the book widely understandable to his people. One could not really fault the subject matter...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring account of the battle for Singapore, 5 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew (Hardcover)
This book is a gripping read and puts you strongly on LKY's side in the battle for freeing Singapore from the grips of the colonial British, the communists and finally the Malaysians. Very eye-opening for those Westerners who can't understand how this society came to be both so modern and remain so authoritarian. Full of personal honesty and insight.
LKY is one of the most amazing statespersons this century and is certainly one with incredible political skill - Singapore couldn't be half the country it is today without him. To have coexisted with communists in his party for 10 years and to still have kept his integrity took an inordinate amount of personal character - a strength which has served Singapore enormously well.
However, one complaint I have is that Mr. Lee does not provide a lot of personal insight into what drove him in the battle for Singapore - nowhere in the book does he talk about how or why his love for a free Singapore became so strong, and there is not a lot of insight into the source of his own strengths (of which there are many) and weaknesses (of which he has a few). He seems to have picked up views early on which have never lessened, even as times have changed - for example, he admits that he learned the importance of strong penalties for crimes from his experiences during the Japanese occupation in World War II, yet 50 years on Singapore is the country in the world with the highest number of executions per capita, even more than China - is it really still as important for the country to be as authoritarian now as the Japanese were in wartime?
Also, although Mr. Lee owns up to his mistakes along the way quite openly, he doesn't provide his personal motives behind his long struggle, his feelings for his actions and friends, even when he was clearly overcame as in his breakdown during his independence press conference in August 1965, and the reasons why he was so much more perceptive and successful than other leaders. I hope to see more introspection in the second volume. A wonderful read, nonetheless.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly candid, informative, and provacative, 11 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew (Hardcover)
As an American who has spent years living in Singapore, I cautiosly read Lee Kuan Yew's book. I expected a tome of self-congratulatory hogwash, but I was rewarded with a candid, sometimes brutally honest, story of the making of a country. Whether you love him or hate him, Lee Kuan Yew is the only person who could write the definative story of the making of this marvelous Republic called Singapore. It is well written, with careful insights, amazing stories of courage and self sacrifice, and a good bit of humor. I highly reccomend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, candid and frank, 15 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew (Hardcover)
The story of Lee Kuan Yew is a story of Singapore. Lee Kuan Yew showed that with determination, persistance and vision, a small Island state could prospher despite the odds - Singapore, an Island state surrounded by corrupt Islamic countries determined to see Singapore's demise.
This book is a must read to the corrupt governments of Malaysia and Indonesia.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Man, 20 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew (Hardcover)
Candor. Mr. Lee simply speaks with cruel candor on what he thinks and what he sees.
I just can't stop reading it. As a foreign student who had stayed in Singapore for four years, I complaint about everything on this island. However, after I read it, I finally learn the political conditions (law, government, authoritarianism) of Singapore are logically necessary; every decision and policy is based on social relativism. And Mr. Lee also teaches me that politics, virtue and justice can exist in one man at the same time. It is a happy thing to see the story of a Man who struggles for his ideal and still keeps the integrity of his personality consistently for the rest of his life.
This book and the story of the Man tell me so much that I might have to spend a long time to think about it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly candid revelations!, 28 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew (Hardcover)
I loved SM Lee's book. When my father passed me the book, I was apathetic and did not really bother to read it as thoroughly as I should have (partly because of the O Levels). After the exams, I picked up the book, and boy, was I swept into a detailed narrative of Singapore's history and how SM Lee's government helped to bring Singapore to the heights of prosperity.
The book is highly insightful and gives us a clearer look into the psyche of the man himself and why he had to institute the many policies that underscored Singapore's functioning (even today). I recommend it as a textbook for any world leader or politician. Read it and you'll be left in awe and wonder.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book has affected my school work!, 16 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew (Hardcover)
When I first picked up this book, I told myself to read it with caution. I expected a totally biased view on the formation of Singapore. However, the contents were a pleasent surprise. Lee wrote the book with such finesse that he kept me up all night for a week, glued to his pages. His writing style is full of excitement and references to actual events that shaped singapore. I was so engrossed that I totally forgot about my schoolwork. I was impressed by his achievement and i must say that the book is timely, allowing younger generations to understand the Singapore they never knew, and the Singapore that is today. I can't wait for volume 2.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unstinting praise from 36 world leaders, 26 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew (Hardcover)
I cam across this review in the respected magazine Foreign Affairs by Professor Lucian Pye of the Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT). He said: "His remarkably in-depth character analyses means that Volume Two -- which will describe a whole generation of world leaders -- will command great interest. Possibly mindful of this, 36 former presidents, secretaries of state, prime ministers, and foreign ministers have already provided blurbs of unstinting praise. The praise is well deserved for Lee; the readers will come away feeling that they have come to know an exceptionally brilliant political man."
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The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew
The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew by Lee Kuan Yew (Hardcover - 7 Oct 1998)
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