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on 9 July 2017
It explains how Lee kept Singapore out of communist hands an how the Malaysian leader expelled him. I am now going to read the next volume about how Singapore rose from a third world country to a first world country. After that, I intend to read a volume by someone else that puts forward the view that Singapore's 'repressive' laws infringe their citizen's rights. I cannot comment more until then!
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on 28 September 2017
Interesting perspective by the father of modern Singapore.
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on 4 March 1999
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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on 5 April 1999
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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on 24 February 1999
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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on 15 January 1999
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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on 11 January 1999
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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on 15 September 2000
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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on 3 May 1999
While I found Harry Lee's book a fascinating view of Singapore's post war to separation from the Malaysian Federation engrossing, it is important to acknowledge that this is only one view of the story.
Harry Lee has produced a fine and detailed narrative, yet it is punctuated with indications of how readily he uses stereotypical views of other races to justify his own views and actions.
I heartily recommend the book, but read this political history as one would read any other - with caution - Lee's view is only one, it is not 'the one'.
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on 20 February 1999
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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