The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew

The Western press has relentlessly trotted out the opinion that Lee Kuan Yew built Singapore’s undeniable economic success at the cost of fundamental civil liberties

Some of my Western friends who have never lived here for any period of time have sometimes self-righteously proclaimed, no doubt after reading the clichés in the media, that they could never live under the ‘stifling and draconian’ laws that we have. 

My answer to them is simple: are you the sort to urinate in public when a toilet isn’t available, the sort to vandalise public property, the sort that would leave a mess in a public toilet that you share with your others? Are you perhaps a drug smuggler? Because we execute those. Or maybe you molest women? Because we would whip you. Are you the sort that would get drunk and then get into fights and maybe beat up a stranger in the bar? Back home you may get away with it but if you are that sort, then maybe this place isn’t for you.

In short, are you a civilised person who wants to live in a civilised society? Because the things you cannot do in Singapore are precisely the sort that civilised people should not do anyway. If you are, you have nothing to fear.

Or maybe like the Western press has kept saying these few days in their commentaries on Lee, you fear that you could be locked up because we do not have freedom of speech?

Do you want to come here and insult other people’s race and religion? Maybe these are fundamental freedoms in your country, but in ours, because we have experienced deadly racial riots at the birth of our country, these are a no-no. But then again, why would you want to purposely offend others anyway?

Or maybe you want to tell lies about our public figures, accuse them of corruption when you have no evidence to back them up, or accuse them of stealing, cheating, or all manner of untruths? If so, then be prepared to be sued for libel – even if Western societies think that you can say these things about your political figures, we don’t and we are better for it. And those political opponents of Lee that have been bankrupted, allegedly because they were such formidable foes? No such thing. The fact is that every single opposition politician successfully sued for libel engaged in the type of politics that we do not want, the kind founded on vicious lies being told in the name of political campaigning.

So wither the trade-off? How are we unfree?

I tell you what freedom is.

Freedom is being able to walk on the streets unmolested in the wee hours in the morning, to be able to leave one’s door open and not fear that one would be burgled. Freedom is the woman who can ride buses and trains alone; freedom is not having to avoid certain subway stations after night falls. Freedom is knowing our children can go to school without fear of drugs, or being mowed down by some insane person with a gun. Freedom is knowing that we are not bound by our class, our race, our religion, and we can excel for the individuals that we are the freedom to accomplish. Freedom is living in one of the least corrupt societies in the world, knowing that our ability to get things done is not going to be limited by our ability to pay someone. Freedom is fresh air and clean streets, because nothing is more inimical to our liberty of movement than being trapped at home because of suffocating smog.

These are the freedoms that Singaporeans have, freedoms that were built on the vision and hard work of Lee Kuan Yew, our first Prime Minister. And we have all of these, these liberties, whilst also being one of the richest countries in the world.

There was no trade-off.

Not for us.


Source: The Independent


Society of Bookbinders International Bookbinding Competition 2015

Disappearing leather spine Bradel binding with wood veneer boards of chestnut burr, sepele and chenchen. Hand-sewn Japanese silk endbands, hand-painted endpapers. Finished with ghosting gold leaf sunago and traditional French polish. The natural figures of the burr are skin to an ancient map, with Singapore being “the little red dot”. Traditional French polishing on boards of books and solid maple slip case box by Louis Kwok. 

It is my greatest pleasure and joy to be able to be here, in Keele University, in Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom, to be part of the Society of Bookbinders Education and Training Conference. And together with the conference, is the exhibition of the Society of Bookbinders International Bookbinding Competition Exhibition 2015. I am really happy and grateful to all those who supported me by pledging and helping me raise funds to be here. I am proud to say, I am here, as a representative, of Singapore’s one and only fine binder. This is one of the two books I entered for this competition. I will be posting the second book up in the next post. 

*Please read the first bit*

Hey guys! I am aware than loads of you are probably not from Singapore but I think it’s apt to say this here.

So earlier this week, our founding Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, passed away at the age of 91. In memory of him, I think I should share a bit about how amazing and what he has done for my country. If you would like to read it please do because I would love to share about my culture and country :)

Keep reading

RIP Mr Lee Kuan Yew, 1923 - 2015. 

Being a Singaporean, I feel like it’s my job to spread what this man has done to our country 50 years ago which impacted the life of millions 50 years later, and maybe more. 

He was the founding father of Singapore, and he fought hard for the independence of Singapore. Singapore was once nothing but a mere fishing village, with slumps everywhere and almost no standard of living at all. But today, Singapore is a multi-racial and multi-religious country which accepts people from all walks of life. Today, Singapore has the lowest crime rate in the world. Today, Singapore has one of the most efficient transport system in the world. Today, all Singaporeans will be able to undergo at least 6 years of education regardless of their financial system. Today, Singaporeans can enjoy clean water and an abundance of electricity. The water is so clean that you can drink it out of the tap or from the toilet bowl, like literally. Today, most Singaporeans will be able to own a house on their own, even though they cannot afford it. Today, Singapore has one of the largest foreign reserves, and is one of the world’s largest exporter and importer. Today, Singapore has one of the lowest unemployment rate. Almost everyone has a job! The list goes on and on, and all these can happen only because of Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

It irks me how some Singaporeans used to blame him for everything that has gone wrong in Singapore. Blame him for the excessively high taxes on cars and the frequent breakdown of our MRT (train service). But do they know that because of the tax, lesser Singaporeans own cars, and that’s why our roads are not frequently congested? It takes only about 10 to 20 minutes to travel from one point to another whereas it’s 2 hours for the same distance in some country because of the heavy traffic? Singaporeans are complaining about the 30% tax into their CPF. But do they know that in countries like America and Canada, they are being taxed 40%? And CPF is like our own savings account which we can withdraw the money from when we are 55. The government is actually helping us to save the money to help us for our retirement, to prevent people from being broke and bankrupt after retiring. 

I’m only 19-year-old, and the third generation of Singaporeans (after my parents and grandparents) so I will witness less of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s action. But I’m living through the impact of his actions. I dare to go home alone at 3am because I’m not afraid of being mugged and raped. This is how safe Singapore is. I’m going to college this year despite my family’s financial situation. I actually have a life full of education. I have friends of different races, and religion, and country, all in Singapore. This is because Singapore is a cosmopolitan country. There is so much more I can do in this country, and there’s so much that I can do for this country, and I would like to thank Mr Lee Kuan Yew for all that. 

The founding father of Singapore. Singapore’s first prime minister. Our leader.

I don’t know why, but I cried when I read the news about his passing when I woke up. I don’t usually care much for politics. But then I realised he really has done a lot for this country. I don’t care how many reblogs or likes this post gets. But I just want to get my message across to everybody in the world, that Mr Lee Kuan Yew is a great man and without him, ha I might even get the chance to post this on my laptop while sitting next to a working fan with a bowl of noodle in front of me. It was no doubt a heartbreaking news to know that he won’t be able to witness SG50, Singapore’s 50th Birthday. But I know that he will be there in spirit with us. 

Thank you, sir. May you rest in peace. See you soon. 

Revising for my French contrôle tomorrow. iPad wallpaper is made by myself (hit me up if you would like some minimalist quotes wallpapers posted here); quote is by the late founding prime minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew, who passed away yesterday morning at the age of 91.
“If you want to reach your goals and dreams, you cannot do it without discipline.” - Lee Kuan Yew (1923-2015)

I am glad, for a few things

One, that I live in a clean city, with clean water not polluted with the waste from Man.

Two, that corruption does not run rampant in my country, there is no imbalance between the rich and the poor.

Three, that all children are educated with an excellent education system and we are encouraged to pursue who we want to be.

And lastly, that there is no social discord but harmony, among the four major races that make up our little land.

And for that, I thank, this man, this excellent visionary, if not for whom I, a middle-class citizen would never be here, typing away on a laptop on a social platform.

We grieve, for the man who gave everything and his life, for our own.

Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts

Lee Kuan Yew (September 16, 1923- March 23, 2015)

Lee Kuan Yew (1923-2015)

Although  I am not a Singapore national, many of my friends and family are and I  have visited the country many times.

As an overseas Chinese born to Chinese-Indonesian parents in  Europe, the question of my cultural and ethnic identity has always been a poignant issue. Lee Kuan Yew’s  influence in this respect has spread far beyond the borders of Singapore and even Asia, because he showed us what we as Asians are worth and what we are capable of. That we need not bow our heads in shame but rather to be proud of our past, present, and that we should work towards an even brighter future.

He has been a true inspiration to me as a major figure in the Renaissance of Asian self-awareness.  For that I am very thankful to this true Asian tiger. May he rest in peace.

In your face, America. To all the newscasters whom dissed our “lack of human rights”, come back and report on Mr Lee Kuan Yew when your women and men are able to walk free on the streets without fear of rape, your students can go to school without fearing shootings, and your racial minorities are able to integrate with the rest of society without experiencing widespread racism.

Last night, I decided to head towards the Parliament to witness the LKY tribute for myself, and ask some of the officers how they were managing the entire thing. An officer refused to have her face show up, but she said something rather telling

“Eh you see ah, they keep saying in western news Singaporean people unhappy, got no empathy, got no emotion. Then all these hundreds of people come to see one man for one week straight! Some 80-year old man wait 8 hours in the heat! Then what you say to him, we got no emotion? Of course we got! Perhaps we bleed on inside, but we still bleed.”