Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Stop accolades to sexist, racist, homophobic Lee Kuan Yew

Stop accolades to sexist, racist, homophobic Lee Kuan Yew

LET me not to the perception of sincere souls admit impediments, but there is something weighing mighty heavily on my chest.

It is the flow of effusive paens to that alleged exemplar of regional statemanship, that pocket dynamo who can turn a fetid swamp into a glizty gum-free metropolis.

Yes, it is that stroppy little Cagney of the East: the incomparable, the fantastical former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

The exit of the old geezer is a big deal, no question about that.

And the gushing epitaphs that followed his decision to quit the cabinet suggest that those nutters who claimed the world was going to end earlier this month almost got it right.

In a Singapore context, it must seem that the world is ending.

And it is doing so not because Lee chose to leave of his own accord, nor because of a decision by the ruling People’s Action Party, headed by his son, the current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

No, it is happening because Lee and his colleagues got a kick up the bum when the PAP lost this month’s general election.

Wait! Sorry, the PAP did not really lose, though you might have thought so after the scenes of desolation among their ranks when the opposition won 6 of the 87 seats in parliament.

That kick for six signified many things, one of which was that Lee and his “disciplined democracy” was given a one-way ticket to the glue factory.

Which is where his sickly and rather spooky pre-obituaries ought to be consigned.

Not only because they are often full of inaccurate tosh, but because they employ sugary purple prose of a type unseen since Edward Bulwer-Lytton prowled London’s dark and stormy nights.

One of the more effusive was penned by a friend of mine, Parag Khanna, a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington DC.

Writing in Foreign Policy last week, Khanna quoted with approval Samuel Huntington’s comment that Lee has been among the 20th century’s most successful statesmen.

He also claimed that due to Lee’s stewardship, Singapore is “one of the few truly successful post-colonial nations.”

When you read these worshipful accolades, just recall misogynist Lee’s proposal that men should have two votes and women only one.

Remember also his racist reaction when his daughter in America called to say she had got engaged, and he blurted out: “Is he black?”

And do not forget that his homophobic government ordered those dying of AIDS to be double-bagged and incinerated within 24 hours.

None of this, nor the nepotism or the Geylang brothels or the vast squalid worker dormitories at Kaki Bukit are noted in the tributes.

Well, why should they be when we ought to focus on the way Lee transformed his backward island into what it is today?

According to the Straits Times, when Lee took over Singapore, it “had yet to learn to read and write, far less to create jobs.”

And apparently the folks not only had to communicate by smoke signals and carrier pigeons, but they lived in indescribable squalor.

Actually, the sycophants use the cliché phrase that it was an undeveloped “mosquito-ridden swamp.”

Then, bang, Lee arrived and overnight, well, over half a century, it was transformed into a veritable Xanadu of the East.

The problem with this nonsense is clear when you look at photographs of Singapore before Lee took over.

No swamps, but lots of majestic colonnaded streets full of cars and, hey, people reading and writing!

Another old battleaxe, Winston Churchill, once said that the darkest day of World War Two was not the blitz or Dunkirk, but the fall of Singapore.

Why would the wartime PM lament the loss of a mosquito-ridden swamp?

No, it is a canard perpetrated by the PAP and they have now had their comeuppance from the voters, who clearly realised that Lee’s day has come and gone.



Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

Turkish Embassy calls for closure of Zaman schools

With an attempted coup against the government of President Recep Erdogan quashed only days ago and more than 7,000 alleged conspirators now under arrest, the Turkish ambassador to Cambodia yesterday pressed the govern

CNRP lawmakers beaten

Two opposition lawmakers, Nhay Chamroeun and Kong Sakphea were beaten unconscious during protests in Phnom Penh, as over a thousand protesters descended upon the National Assembly.

Student authors discuss "The Cambodian Economy"

Student authors discuss "The Cambodian Economy"

Students at Phnom Penh's Liger Learning Center have written and published a new book, "The Cambodian Economy".