Overturning Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy in Singapore


Analysis of Singapore after Lee Kuan Yew, intended for an audience not already familiar with the topic.  Foreign Affairs:

Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s storied first prime minister, gave his countrymen two things that elude most developing nations: stability and prosperity. Now, a new generation of Singaporeans with little recollection of Lee’s crusade against poverty and violence wants democracy as well. In pursuing greater political openness in two elections this year, they are challenging one of Lee’s most deeply ingrained beliefs: that development and stability do not necessarily go hand in hand with democracy. …

Generational change also played a role in the PAP’s poor showing. Younger Singaporeans have no memory of the difficult economic conditions under which the party took power. They do not feel the same sense of gratitude to Lee Kuan Yew and his party as their parents do. Moreover, social media has allowed a measure of political expression that would have been inconceivable 18 years ago, when Singapore held its last competitive presidential elections. (In the two elections between 1993 and 2011, a candidate backed by the ruling party ran unopposed.)

Still, this year’s election probably does not necessarily mark an irreversible turn toward genuine multiparty democracy. Critics say that Singapore’s protection of the rights of assembly and freedom of expression lags behind that in other East Asian democracies. And the short campaigning period (nine days) deprives relatively lesser-known opposition candidates an opportunity to present their message to the public.

Moreover, the ruling party still has substantial resources at its disposal. It could use them to address public grievances and prolong its life in office. Few can deny that Tony Tan is highly qualified and experienced, especially when it comes to finance, since he headed one of Singapore’s largest commercial banks and was deputy prime minister for the country’s top sovereign wealth fund. And for his part, Lee Hsien Loong, has emerged from his formidable father’s shadow and is widely respected for his competence and leadership. The electoral setback may be just the spur they need to show leadership in reshaping Singapore. …

In 1992, Lee Kuan Yew told a business group in the Philippines that he did not “believe democracy necessarily leads to development.” He continued, “I believe that what a country needs to develop is discipline more than democracy.” In July, after the parliamentary elections, he restated his belief with equal candor. Democracy, he said, “may satisfy the curious, but . . . what is required is good governance, eradication of corruption, economic development.”

2 Responses to “Overturning Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy in Singapore”

  1. 1 Ballster

    Absolutely no one will be able to overturn
    Lee Kuan Yews’ Legacy Of Eugenics!


  2. 2 lee fuck yew

    LKY’s legacy??

    from a freedom fighter to the bane of freedom itself….and that’s an understatement!

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