The Singapore Story – Lee Kuan Yew

The Singapore Story - Book Cover

The Singapore Story – Book Cover

I finished reading ‘The Singapore Story’ by Lee Kuan Yew few days back. It was nearly 700-page book. But I could read it at a stretch since it was an inspirational story and it is written in a very simple, yet effective language. The book is about LKY’s childhood, youth and how Singapore became an independent state and LKY’s role in it.

Singapore Map

Singapore Map

LKY’s childhood is interesting. He had been a brilliant student but his education was disturbed during Japanese occupation of Singapore during the World War II. But he was lucky enough (or courageous enough rather) to complete his education in the United Kingdom and become a lawyer. Not only that, he was able to become the Prime Minister of Singapore at the young age of 35.

How LKY aligned people, trade unions, and his political party (People’s Action Party – PAP) towards winning elections is amazing. He is a smart, shrewd and cunning politician. He gets the support of the communists to win the parliament elections and then drops them when they become a nuisance. He survives coup attempts by his parliamentary colleagues as well. He never loses hopes for Singapore.

Map of Malaysia

LKY mentions Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in several places in the book and also admires her. The way he describes his travels is very interesting. His travel accounts to different African nations to promote Malaysia are fascinating. He wants Singapore to become a part of a new country that was being formed with integration of Federation of Malaya, Sarawak, Brunei and Sabah regions. (Brunei later pulled out of the plan.) The new country was to be named Malaysia. Though LYK works hard for integration, later Mr. Abdul Rahman -the Tunku- the Chief Minister of Federation of Malaya decides to keep Singapore out of Malaysia for fear that LYK will one day become the Prime Minister of Malaysia. But LYK’s goal is different. He only wants to ensure that the Singaporeans will get equal rights within the state of Malaysia which they are not going to get as the Tunku tries to give priority to Malays in Malaysia over the rest of the nations. Once Singapore is snubbed by Malaysia, Singapore automatically becomes an independent state. The book ends there.

What I most liked about the book was that the author even highlights the negative remarks others have made regarding him without considering the damage it does to his image. In fact the facts in the book become more reliable due to the very reason.

The way how LKY developed Singapore to today’s status is not discussed in the book. It is in another book called ‘From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000.’ Must acquire it as soon as possible.

The problem I have is that why did our late president, Mr. J. R. Jayawardene, with a 5/6unprecedented power, fail to do what LKY did in his country.

Nanda in Beijing, China – In Singapore, as a Transit Passenger


Monday, July 17, 2000

Leaving China was very difficult because I loved this strange land a lot. When we got into the bus to come to the airport, beautiful drizzle started falling making Beijing more beautiful.

With a lot of warm experiences got on board to come back to my country after accomplishing my first ever tour abroad. I had a golden opportunity of seeing the beauty of In Singapore on my way back to Sri Lanka. We were given a free bus ride and a boat ride by the airport. I was amazed to hear that then Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, had taken Sri Lanka as a role model to develop Singapore to the today’s standard. Ironically, after 2- 3 decades, now we take Singapore as our role model. We have gone backward due to dirty politics whereas Singapore has gone forward by miles ahead of us due to the leadership of a good visionary like Mr. Lee Kuan Yew.

After enjoying the Tour of Singapore, I came back to Sri Lanka. The following day I went back to my village to see my sweet Horizon kids. I had a lot to share with the kids. After all, I’m going to see the round faces which I am familiar with.