Singapore and Lee Kuan Yew: Not fade away
The Economist weighs in:
SOMETIMES it seems that the founding father of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, has spent more time trying to tear himself away from running the island-state than he did ruling it in the first place. Now 87, he was Singapore’s first prime minister, serving for 31 years until 1990.
At that point, Mr Lee did not slip quietly off to the links. Rather, he remained in the cabinet as “Senior Minister”. In 2004 a new cabinet post of “Minister Mentor” (MM) was invented for him in the government headed by his son, Lee Hsien Loong.
On May 14th, however, MM announced that he was resigning at last from the cabinet. For any other politician of his age, that would be that, a statesman’s final flourish. The tame mainstream Singapore media treated the event as such.
Don’t believe a word of it. For a start, Mr Lee will retain the parliamentary seat that he won, uncontested, in the general election on May 7th. He will surely continue speechifying from the backbenches, as he did in the previous parliament, on almost every topic under the sun. He will intervene in public debates and write more books, all in his quest to keep Singapore on the straight and narrow. To quote the man himself (from 1988): “Even from my sickbed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel that something is going wrong, I will get up. Those who believe that after I have left the government as prime minister, I will go into a permanent retirement, really should have their heads examined.” …
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