Lee Kuan Yew is in the hospital again.  As ever, Singapore’s mainstream media are relentlessly upbeat about his “recovery”.  Yahoo:

Singapore’s founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew is recovering in hospital after suffering from an infection, the government said on Tuesday.

Lee, 90, was admitted to Singapore General Hospital on Sunday after suffering from a fever and bad cough caused by an infection, his press secretary Yeong Yoon Ying said in a statement.

“He is currently on antibiotics and recovering. He has been advised by his doctors to avoid public appearances,” she said.

While foreign media actually assess the situation.  Valuewalk:

Singapore’s “founding father” Lee Kuan Yew has been hospitalized due to a severe lung infection. At 90 years old, Mr. Lee has become increasingly fragile in recent years, though he has tried to remain active in politics. Mr. Lee’s son, Lee Hsien Loong, is Singapore’s current prime minister.

The illness does not appear to be critical, but so far little has been released regarding the extent and nature of Mr. Lee’s condition. It is believed that he has suffered some sort of lung infection and is currently being treated with antibiotics.

While Mr. Lee has largely retired from public life, he remains among the most influential people in Singapore, and is highly regarded across the world. …

Lee Kuan Yew’s party, the Peoples’ Action Party, has slowly lost ground since Mr. Lee stepped down as prime minister. The last few elections have seen approval ratings for the party slip to their lowest levels of all time, while critics are becoming increasingly vocal.

Lee Kuan Yew is known for advocating the concept of a “corporate Singapore” that was very friendly to investment, businesses, and foreigners. While these policies drove the city-state’s economic development, they have also resulted in a growing gap between the rich and the poor, and a strict style of governance, sometimes called a “nanny-state”, that sees high levels of interference with peoples’ daily lives. These polices have now become a source of consternation for many Singaporeans.

 

 


Lee Kuan Yew surfaces after two months of silence.  CNA:

President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, has conferred the Order of Honour on Singapore’s former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.

Mr Lee was honoured on 10 September 2013 for his substantial contribution to strengthening friendship and cooperation with the Russian Federation and development of scientific and cultural relations.

The award was also conferred in conjunction with Mr Lee’s 90th birthday in 2013.

The Order of Honour was presented by Mr Leonid Moiseev, Russia’s Ambassador to Singapore, to Mr Lee on Monday at the Istana.

Singapore and Russia enjoy excellent relations underpinned by regular high-level exchanges between the two countries, as well as through institutional linkages such as the Russia-Singapore Inter-Governmental Commission and the Russia-Singapore Business Forum.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Monday that Singapore will continue to forge closer cooperation with Russia for the mutual benefit of both countries and its peoples. 

 


Lee Kuan Yew is still alive and grinning.  CNA:

Former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew hosted a dinner for former US Secretary of State George Shultz on Monday evening.

The private event was held at Sky on 57th at the Marina Bay Sands.

Mr Lee and Mr Shultz have been good friends for more than 40 years.

Earlier Monday morning, Dr Shultz called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana, along with former US Secretary of Defence William Perry and former US Senator Sam Nunn. 

During the meeting, they exchanged views on regional and international developments.

The group are in Singapore for the Nuclear Threat Initiative meeting, which starts on Tuesday.

 


Lee Kuan Yew opining at Forbes:

Barring any major disruption, the speed at which China is growing in terms of total GDP will enable it to catch up to the U.S. by 2020. China will then go on to surpass America. …

I believe that during the next 30 years the Chinese will have no desire to enter into a conflict with the U.S. They know they will continue to grow stronger, but they are also aware of how far behind they are technologically. They require continued access to American schools so their students can learn how to reinvent themselves.

What is it that makes Americans so much more versatile and innovative? I believe the Chinese have come to the conclusion that the answer lies in the differing natures of the two societies. Innovation and creativity are a part of the American culture, a natural trait of an immigrant society. But China’s is a culture of conformism. It is a 4,000- to 5,000-year-old society, with a written script that’s as readable today as it was 4,000 years ago. That script binds the people to their history.

Yet despite these differences, it is inevitable that the balance of power in the Pacific will shift to the western side.

 


Geoff Wade opines that Lee’s successor might be George Yeo. Malay Mail:

At a time not too far distant, Lee Kuan Yew, the font of all authority, legitimacy, orthodoxy and indeed fear in Singapore for over 50 years will no longer be with us. It is thus perhaps appropriate to begin discussing what the absence of Lee Kuan Yew will mean for the Singaporean republic. …

Amazingly little has been written on what might happen to Singapore after Lee Kuan Yew passes on, as if even expression of this possibility is sacrilegious. Whither, then, Singapore after the demise of Mr Lee? Little change can be expected in administrative superstructures within the Republic or even in foreign policy directions. …

There is no likelihood of the PAP losing power in any foreseeable election, but the death of Lee Kuan Yew will greatly diminish the authority and likely the legitimacy of Lee Hsien Loong both as leader of the party and as Prime Minister. Are there other leaders in waiting? Lee Kuan Yew has long done his utmost to eliminate potential rivals to his own leadership and then rivals to his selected successors as party leaders. The former foreign minister George Yeo had been recognised by Lee as a likely potential challenger to his son in the event of his own death. It was thus that we observed, prior to the 2011 election, the remarkable threats made to the voters of Aljunied Constituency by Lee senior. Repeatedly telling the electorate that they would have five years to ‘repent’ if they chose the Workers’ Party, Lee brought about the result he intended. The electorate voted for the opposition and thereby drove George Yeo out of Parliament and beyond capacity to challenge for the party leadership. No other credible challengers now exist within the cabinet. …

Today, the PAP is obviously frightened. Both the results of the 2011 election and the impending death of the man who has held the party together for more than half a century are bringing to the surface insecurities about the directions which the party has long pursued and its future leadership. Social and welfare policies unthinkable in the past are now being discussed and inviolable shibboleths, such as meritocracy and mandatory death sentences, are being questioned. As the PAP is inevitably pushed by its competitors toward a locus more aligned to social justice, and having necessarily to address some of the injustices perpetrated during the Lee Kuan Yew era, it will be seeking a leader less affiliated with the man and that period. It is at that time that the preparations which George Yeo is now making will position him to contest the leadership of the PAP, a party which he has already declared ripe for reform.


Ignore the title, Tommy Koh appears to be the only Singaporean with a pair of testicles today.  CNA:

Monday’s event, organized by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, also coincided with the 9th anniversary of the school.

The conference was attended by some 600 thought leaders who included former politicians, academics and diplomats.

The views exchanged were candid and frank, perhaps testament to Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s personality.

He has attracted his fair share of critics, and forum participants didn’t shy away from hard questions.

For example, Ambassordor-At-Large Tommy Koh asked: “When he was Prime Minister, he had a practice of launching defamation suits against opposition leaders after each general election…was this practice by Mr Lee to sue opposition leaders for defamation a wise thing to do?

“When you look at other advanced democracies, I know of no other country in the world where after a general election, the victor will sue the opponent for defamation.

“In an advanced democracy, when an election is over, the vanquished will have the grace to congratulate the victor and the victor will have the magnanimity to forgive his opponent for all the unkind things the opponent has said.

“My question…is not that Mr Lee was not within the law, in suing opponents for defamation, he bankrupted some of them, but was it a wise thing for him to do?”

Singapore’s former Cabinet minister, Professor S Jayakumar, said: “There were defamation suits against politicians but it would be wrong to think he sued only politicians and it’s wrong to think he sued politicians after every general election to drive home a point that he (the opposition politician) should have not stood for the elections…

“Whether it was an opposition politician, whether it was the Far Eastern Economic Review or even a publication, say in Malaysia – he issued a defamation action against The Star publication and was prepared to have it tested in the courts in Kuala Lumpur.

“What is the point he wanted to make? He is prepared for a robust criticism of his policies. He can be criticised for foolishness, maybe even for incompetence, for arrogance, but his red line was – not on reputation and integrity.

“So, whether it’s opposition politician or any other source, if you allege his integrity, say, corruption, for example, he would want to demonstrate that that is a red line, you justify it. He’s prepared to justify his record.

“I know in other jurisdictions, in the cut and thrust of politics, all sorts of accusations are hurled but the threshold is different. But he wanted to establish a threshold here that you have people of integrity, including himself, in government, in Cabinet and they are prepared to defend the integrity.”

There were other so-called myths about Mr Lee that were rebutted by the speakers, among them, that the former prime minister always insisted on getting his way in Cabinet.

Professor Jayakumar, who served in the Cabinet for 27 years, said Mr Lee can be persistent, if not stubborn but he was always “intellectually honest”.

“If you can come up with a contrary view and argue your case, he will listen and prepare to change,” said Professor Jayakumar.

He cited the institution of the Elected Presidency and said that the final shape of that reflected the views of Cabinet ministers. …

 

 


Lee Kuan Yew turns 90.  CNA, in an article worthy of the Korean Central News Agency:

Singapore’s founding Prime Minister and former Minister Mentor, Lee Kuan Yew, received a standing ovation from Members of Parliament and Cabinet Ministers in Parliament’s Chamber on Monday on the occasion of his 90th birthday.

The standing ovation came after Leader of the House and Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen delivered a special address to congratulate Mr Lee on the occasion.

Dr Ng noted that Mr Lee has been a member of Singapore’s legislature for 58 years since 1955 when he was elected into the first Legislative Assembly of Singapore.

“But it is what Mr Lee has accomplished for Singapore over that lifetime of service and struggle that is astonishing and without peer,” said Dr Ng.

On behalf of all Members, Dr Ng expressed Singaporeans’ profound admiration and gratitude on Mr Lee’s birthday.

 


More Lee worship, as always printed by SPH.  ST:

A bilingual pictorial book that chronicles the life of Mr Lee Kuan Yew was launched on Friday, to commemorate his 90th birthday on Sept 16.

Titled Lee Kuan Yew: A Life in Pictures, the 268-page book contains a curated collection of about 480 photographs.

It includes more than 100 never-before-published pictures, some from Mr Lee’s personal and family albums that capture private moments between Singapore’s first prime minister and his late wife Kwa Geok Choo, as well as their three children.

The book is published by Straits Times Press, the book publishing subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings. A copy was presented to Mr Lee at his Istana office on Friday by SPH CEO Alan Chan.

 


Sycophancy kicks into overdrive as Lee’s 90th birthday approaches, with an organisation Lee founded awarding him, but the man himself is absent.  CNA:

Singapore’s founding Prime Minister and former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was on Thursday presented with the Business China Lifetime Achievement Award in celebration of his upcoming 90th birthday on September 16. …

The event was an occasion to remember and recognise many of the initiatives which Mr Lee had launched over the years to support the Chinese community in Singapore.

Mr Lee had wanted to attend the event, but his doctors have advised him to avoid large gatherings as a precautionary health measure. …

Speaking to some 800 business and political leaders at the event, the chairman of Business China and president of the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations, Chua Thian Poh, said the ‘Singapore model’ developed by Mr Lee has been highly regarded and widely replicated.

The success of this model has helped Singapore play an instrumental role internationally.

Mr Chua noted that among the major initiatives launched by Mr Lee were the Speak Mandarin Campaign, the set-up of the Chinese Development Association and the launch of Business China in 2007.

 


Lee Kuan Yew gets a head start on celebrating his own birthday.  ST:

Although he was feeling unwell, former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew yesterday continued his perfect record of turning up at every National Day dinner of his Tanjong Pagar ward.

Mr Lee, who turns 90 next month, was feeling weak yesterday but refused to miss the dinner with his residents.

While there, he then went through the entire planned programme, which included delivering a 10-minute speech.

Mr Lee’s effort was clearly appreciated by the gathering of 900 people who broke out into loud cheers and applause when he arrived.

 



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