Mr Lee Kuan Yew : on…Fate of Singapore in 100 years’ time

Lee Kuan Yew on…Fate of Singapore in 100 years’ time

On Aug 22, 2012, I received a thank-you card from a Singaporean by the name of James Ow-Yeong Keen Hoy.

From his elegant, cursive handwriting, I guess he must at least be in his 50s. Young people these days prefer to type, and when they do write, they simply do not write as beautifully.

He wrote: “My family is deeply grateful and has benefited from your magnificent leadership and solid contributions that have enabled our nation to achieve peace, happiness, progress, prosperity, solidarity and security all these good years. A big thank you!

“May we have the honour to sincerely wish you, Sir, peace and joy, wisdom and longevity and all the very best in the coming good years. And may our beloved country be blissfully and richly blessed and be mercifully safeguarded now and always. God bless.”

I quote at length from this card to highlight the enormity of the mindset shift, from an older generation, including this writer, his peers and his seniors, to a younger one that takes for granted Singapore’s affluence.

People like Mr Ow-Yeong have seen Singapore develop from the unsettling 1960s, when hardship and poverty were still the rule rather than the exception, to today’s vibrant and cosmopolitan Singapore, providing well-paying jobs to a highly educated population.

Many older Singaporeans also progressed from living in shanty huts to high-rise apartments with present-day conveniences and surrounded by safe neighbourhoods.

They have a good understanding of the nation’s imperatives – what it took for us to get here and what it would take to keep up our success – as well as its vulnerabilities.

The younger voters do not share those views. Having been born into a Singapore that had in many ways already arrived, they see all that is around them – a working system generating stability and wealth – and they ask: “Where is the miracle?”…

Even as things stand, we have regretfully shifted the system away from attracting the best talent through reductions to ministerial pay.

If I were a Cabinet minister at the time the change came up for discussion, I would have stood firm. But the younger generation of ministers decided to go with the trend.

It is true that no country in the world pays ministers as we do. But it is also true that no other island has developed like Singapore: sparkling, clean, safe, with no corruption and low crime rates.

You can walk the streets or jog at night. Women will not be mugged. Police do not take bribes, and if they are offered bribes, there are consequences for the ones offering.

None of this came about by coincidence. It took the construction of an ecosystem that requires highly paid ministers.

With every pay reduction, the sacrifice that a minister makes – giving up his profession or his banking job – becomes greater.

Some will eventually tell themselves: “I don’t mind doing this for half a term, 21/2 years, as a form of national service. But beyond that, it has to be: thanks but no thanks.”

The final outcome would be a revolving-door government, which will inevitably lack a deep understanding of the issues or the incentive to think about problems in a long-term manner.

Will Singapore be around in 100 years? I am not so sure. America, China, Britain, Australia – these countries will be around in 100 years. But Singapore was never a nation until recently.

An earlier generation of Singaporeans had to build this place from scratch – and what a fine job we have done.

When I led the country, I did what I could to consolidate our gains. So too did Goh Chok Tong.

And now, under Lee Hsien Loong and his team, the country will do well for at least the next 10 to 15 years.

But after that, the trajectory that we take will depend on the choices made by a younger generation of Singaporeans.

Whatever those choices are, I am absolutely sure that if Singapore gets a dumb government, we are done for. This country will sink into nothingness.

repost from Fabrications About The PAP


Comments :

  • And MM LKY often sees the road ahead of us. I share his worry that the myopic generation today will lead us down the slope to obscurity. I can imagine the headline of the future-
    a once prosperous country is now become third world, a country that is suffering economic desolation, the young are leaving the island to look for a better life”
  • I like his frankness. Dumb government is so easy to come by, and Singapore would end in nothingness.
  • Singapore is such a small country that we can be easily devoured. We really need a strong government to keep Singapore afloat. I just hope that this will continue in the future.
  • Only our dear Lee Kuan Yew can be this frank and correct at the same time. Our people are doomed to mediocrity if we disregard his advice and wisdom.
  • Mark my word : Singapore wont last even 25 to 30yrs..not to mention 100yrs…enjoy while it last my friends..when the older generations which are mostly loyal, hardworking, resourceful and honest are gone..tat will be the downfall of Singapore.
    Wat do our youngster know? complaint abt everything easy…ask them to come n be PM for one day…they cant even last half!
    Fully agreed with our dear Mr Lee KY. A great man tat is way ahead of his time..
    Worried for our offspring...very worried…those of us born in the 70’s may still be around in 25yrs time..i for one..dont wanna c tat day come..No Singapore.
    A country with no natural resources and low population with a dumb government cant last for 1 day.
  • I suppose that is why it is important for us to voice out. We cannot be the ‘silent majority’ anymore. Keeping quiet is easy, but when the tough decisions need to be made, I think it is important for us to make our stand known.
    Otherwise, there are sheep out there might just follow the loudest voice… right over the cliff.
  • Singapore won’t last another 20 years if the younger generation is pushing it in the wrong direction. No 2nd chance people.
  • Singapore must continue to have good and capable people to lead the country, and all Singaporeans, young and old, must support the government at all times, because a government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
  • “..Whatever those choices are, I am absolutely sure that if Singapore gets a dumb government, we are done for. This country will sink into nothingness.”
    These words may sounds showboating, but is so hard truths that we must have some brilliant mind to lead and keep Singapore going… !!
  • other nationals around us are envious of how and what our PAP had achieved with MM Lee but our own citizens ( some of them) are trying to run him down without realising the hard work he had put in, and some loud-mouthed, uninformed citizens here are vociferous trying to mobilise the general citizens onto their hidden agendas, sad to say this
  • Our generation is mostly 55 to 60 years old now,we have gone through the era of no television ,black and white snowing,black and white,semi colour television ……..until now television at your pocket,and we have Graduated from NUS at early 80s.
    Looking at the behaviour of younger generations,my sons are born in late 80s and 90s,it not difficult to imagine the likely future of Singapore and the trajectory it will follow in the absent of strong,intelligent and selfless leadership.
    We have seen the development of this nation from nothing to what we have today in the face of enormous difficulties and threats,its success is definitely not by chance.
    Hence as a Singaporean,I wish and pray that younger generation can remained as one nation ,one people under a strong and capable leadership to face future challenges for their own good.
    Majulah Singapore 🙂



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