NDP and the building of a personality cult around MM Lee

11Aug09

An interesting editorial piece on Lee Kuan Yew’s ubiquitous presence at National Day parades.  Temasek Review:

For those of you who have watched last night’s National Day Parade (as well as previous years), you will not fail to realize a recurring theme: the images of MM Lee Kuan Yew either from the past or the present.

He was shown no less than 5 times on TV including a 1 minute clip of he making a speech in 1965 which must be familiar to most Singaporeans by now. …

An entire contingent of PAP members holding the party banners was included in the parade as well. Isn’t NDP supposed to be a non-partisan event for all Singaporeans regardless of political affliations? Why then only the PAP contingent is allowed to the exclusion of other political parties?

The subtle building of a personality cult around MM Lee over the years by repeated state propaganda seemed to have the aim of reminding Singaporeans, especially the young, that we owe our success today solely to him. …

We are grateful to MM Lee for developing Singapore into what it is today, but it is seriously time that we move on without him for his time and era have passed. It will be a sad day for Singapore that after 44 years of nationhood, we still live in the shadows of the founding father.

Only in North Korea do we see such an enduring personality cult of its founder and what’s more we are supposed to be democratic republic. MM Lee should bow out of stage gracefully and enjoy his golden years. Singapore can do without him and in fact, we will be able to soar to greater heights in his absence.

Oddly, the CNA article whose snapshot is included in the article has removed its pictures of Lee.

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2 Responses to “NDP and the building of a personality cult around MM Lee”

  1. No, I disagree that MM Lee Kuan Yew should have come to a dead-end road in his life-journey or career. Singapore still need him around. Till the last breath one as a simple citizenship of Singapore is still able to contribute the society provided one is still fit & sound not mention about one’s qualification or capability. I feel MM Lee Kuan Yew is really an exceptional wise & convincing leadership in Asia if not the world. He is still clear & sharp in his mind-heart. He got all those informative data Singapore need or look for. Nobody in Singapore can beat him mentally yet. Smile & cheers!

  2. 2 john francisco

    I think it is a big slant and very dis-ingenuous of the writer of the article to compare our MM to the regime in North korea. Perhaps the writer would like to spend a couple of years or the rest of his life in N Korea before making such comparisons.

    I personnaly take offense that the writer is not aware of the history of Singapore and the advances it made under the stewardship and leadership of MM. Clearly he or she appears to be blindsided in the opinion of MM to the point that the writer misses the purpose of showing the clips and ignoring the wealth of evidence of the good he has done. The showing of the clips, is not as the writer says, to build a cult around MM. Rather it is a reminder to Singaporeans that we came forth from a very difficult circumstance, that our very existence as an independent country was in doubt. 45 years is a very short period. It is foolhardy to believe that the our world has changed so much that Singapore will not face challenges in the future. The words in the speech are just as moving then as it is now. It reminds us of what it takes to survive then and it will also do the same in the future. Great words from men like MM are etched in history. Something I believe the writer will never understand nor admit.

    Everywhere I have travelled, people have marveled and have only words of admiration and praise for MM and Singapore. This are from not just people on the streets but people of substance and that hold world attention.

    I was in South Korea this week and my firiend also related how some South Koreans believe that North Korea is not what the media; govt. of USA or south Korea make it out to be and that there is a conspiracy against North Korea. My friend says that many south koreans that if they do not believe it then they are invited to spend some time inthe north to learn the truth. None take up the offer. I would like to invite the writer to spend time in North Korea so that he/she understands what goes behind building a cult or even comparing our society and country to North korea. I am sure my invitation will most like by turned down.



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