Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) became an easy target

Source – > Zaid Ibrahim On Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew

Zaid Ibrahim On Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew

August 16, 2013

COMMENT: I have read many books and articles on Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew including his memoirs and his latest, One Man’s View of the World. He is no doubt a brilliant man and a formidable force in our part of the world. His take on politics, economics,. international affairs, and history is read, debated and respected by all who are in interested in public policy and management, and statecraft . Like him or not, let us give him due credit for his stellar achievements.

Lee-Kuan-Yew-book-singapore-060813_360_524_100We in Malaysia–not all of course–cannot accept that Mr. Lee has been able to transform a colonial backwater into a modern and dynamic Singapore.  More so, because he is seen as a living remainder that we have failed in nation building. For Mr. Lee, nation building was a challenge thrown at when we decided that Singapore should leave Malaysia in 1965. He took that challenge and made Singapore a model of good governance. That is an achievement not to be scoffed off.

I admire Mr. Lee for his vision, integrity, capacity to choose his leadership team, and  tenacity in overcoming adversity. He was tough on his political adversaries. But then so was Mahathir. But unlike our former Prime Minister, Mr. Lee was able to resist the temptation to lecture and badger his successors. In stead, he became a statesmen for his country. I am of course glad that Zaid Ibrahim has written this article and I congratulate him for it.

I for one strongly advocate the idea of learning from others. It takes humility, not arrogance to acknowledge someone’s achievements. Learning starts with humility and  an open mind.  –Din Merican


Zaid Ibrahim On Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew

“There is no need to suffer from some complex about Singapore and always belittle the old man (Lee Kuan Yew) and other leaders for that matter when they say something about us that is less than flattering”.–Zaid Ibrahim

Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) became an easy target for our national and Pakatan Rakyat leaders when he recently commented on how Malaysia was suffering from the effects of its race-based politics.

Their response was typical of Malaysian politicians from both sides of the divide: they hurled personal insults at the ageing Singaporean leader that offered little insight into the real issues. The Opposition’s Karpal Singh and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim put it as (A) mind your own business and (B) your ideas are no longer useful.

As for the Barisan Nasional, they pointed out that Singapore is also racially biased and therefore unqualified to speak on the subject.UMNO leaders then loudly proclaimed that the “Malays first” policy is here to stay and that the Malays are not ready for any change. End of story.

I am reluctant to defend LKY as I think he was heartless when he was in power and he punished his opponents too harshly for my liking. However, I do admire his pragmatic approach to public policy. His strength of conviction and willingness to be unpopular is well known, and it was firmly rooted in his belief that his policies were good for the people.

Like China’s Deng Xiaoping, he favoured policies that were practical and useful to the general public.Deng’s famous saying, “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice” cleverly encapsulated this practicality.

Deng understood that a market economy was crucial for his country’s survival and competitiveness and gradually guided China away from the ideals of Mao Tse Tung.

LKY took a similarly pragmatic approach when he said that Mandarin and local dialects had to take a back seat as mastering English had to be a top priority for Singapore.

I am not an ideologue myself because ideology seldom solves anything; in fact, I think it brings misery to its believers.I am inclined to support anything that works and leads to a tangible improvement in people’s lives.

Policies that work have measurable results and are mindful of the resources that are needed (policies that use enormous resources and achieve few results are simply no good).

It’s obvious to me that we need to give up the present culture of race-based policies, not because LKY said so, but because they simply don’t work.

We need to stop doing a disservice to those who are excluded as well as to the Malays who are supposedly the beneficiaries of these policies.Surely 40 years is enough time for us to see that, collectively, these policies are the mother of all that ails the country.

The simple fact is that Singapore is a first world country today and we are third, in whichever way we define it.

In 1965 Singapore was a small island state that drew its revenue from small ships anchoring at its ports and from several thousand British Navy personnel in Woodlands spending their money there.

There didn’t seem to be much for the island to build on but LKY did it.  The world has recognised his contribution to transforming this third world island into a first world metropolis. Only Malaysian leaders do not. I call it envy.

On the other hand, Malaya and later Malaysia started on much happier ground: endowed with among the richest natural resources in Asia, it had public institutions that were respected by many outside the country.

We were the success story of the Commonwealth. Today we are a lot less successful, whichever way we look at it. Some say we are sliding down a slope and picking up speed.

I am not endorsing everything that LKY and other leaders in Singapore have done, and neither am I ignoring the differences—cultural and otherwise—between our two countries.

There are huge differences of course, but we need to admit that in the last 50 years we have done something wrong and they have done something right.

There is no need to suffer from some complex about Singapore and always belittle the old man and other leaders for that matter when they say something about us that is less than flattering.

Shouldn’t we learn from how LKY curbed corruption and how he transformed the communist-infested Singaporean universities into what many consider to be among the world’s best institutions of higher learning?

If we are honest then we cannot possibly deny LKY’s many achievements, and we should be humble enough to listen to him.

I believe our Prime Minister is also a pragmatic leader and so I hope he will not be discouraged from meeting his Singaporean counterpart and LKY to exchange views.

If our PM depends too much on Utusan Malaysia and the old guards, then our prospects will remain dim for the next 50 years. Then who will we blame for our failures? The Chinese I guess, if they are still around. – The Malaysian Insider, August 14, 2013.


The Battle for Merger Exhibition : Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s radio talk on subversion by communists

Lee Hsien Loong  <-

Visited the Battle for Merger exhibition at the National Library with my Teck Ghee activists. In 1961, Mr Lee Kuan Yew gave 12 radio talks, telling the inside story of the fight between the non-Communists and Communists, and explaining to Singaporeans what was at stake. Later he published the talks as a book, The Battle for Merger. The book has just been republished; hence the exhibition.

The radio talks were a crucial move in winning the hearts and minds of the people. It led to Singapore joining Malaysia, then Separation and today’s independent Singapore. Had Mr Lee and the non-Communist side lost, our history would have been totally different. 

Mr Lee worked very very hard to write and deliver the talks. I remember the “family holiday” in Cameron Highlands in August 1961, which we took so that my father could compose the talks away from the day to day pressures in Singapore. His secretary came with us, and there were multiple drafts and redrafts all over the flat in Cluny Lodge. 

I also remember following my father to Radio Singapore to record the talks. He broadcast 12 talks, in 3 languages, making a total of 36 broadcasts in just one month. Now that I have done my own talks and speeches, and know how much work goes into a single short broadcast, e.g. the National Day Message, I understand what a superhuman effort this was.

The subject was serious, but Mr Lee presented it simply and vividly. Singaporeans listened to the broadcasts eagerly. When the book came out, I read it, fascinated. I still have my old copy. It still reads like a thriller today.

After more than 50 years, Singapore has changed enormously, and vastly for the better. Most of today’s Singaporeans were born long after the broadcasts. They hardly know what the fight was about, why it mattered so much, and how it is still relevant today. 

That is why for #SG50, we are republishing The Battle for Merger.

Do look up the book, and visit the exhibition if you can. It’s on the 7th floor of the National Library Building at Bugis until 30th November.– LHL


建国总理非常明白合并对当时新加坡的前景,非常重要,费尽了体力和心思,为了就是要很明确的解释给国人具体的情形和后果。1961年8月,我们全家就上了金马伦高原陪着李先生让他能专心的写稿。印象中,演讲稿写了又改了好几遍,整间房子到处摆着一叠叠的演讲稿。最后,在一个月内做了36 次的电台广播,三种语言,每一种语言12次,很耗体力, 不过他坚持下去,完成重要的任务。


例如有关人士的亲笔记录等,是第一次公开展示。《联合早报》配合《争取合并的斗争》的再版,制作了“解读李光耀十二讲”中文电子书。可以点击www.zaobao.sg/lkyradiotalk 阅读。在国家读书馆7楼的展览到11月30日为止, 不妨去看一看

– 李显龙

Mr Lee Kuan Yew delivering the radio talks from the recording studio. I remember watching him record from the control room, able to see but not hear him through the double glazed windows of the sound-proof studio.
And here’s a close up of the drafts! 

(Image courtesy of National Archives of Singapore)


Overheard :

  •  My dad was born in 1941 n he often tell me about the past, also situations in Singapore before n after Mr Lee Kuan Yew rise up as Prime Minister therefore I become more appreciative towards PAP n deeply respect Former PM Lee Kuan Yew.
  • Because of your Dad ,n HE produced a good Son there4 I am PROUD S’porean ^^
  • He is not only good but he is great.
  • 我们的国父,为我们的国家奉献了一切,我们永远敬爱你,祟拜你,祝愿你身体健康,为我们的国家加油,再次的忠心的謝謝你,我们的好囯父
  • 感谢前辈的艰辛付出!
  •  We must never be a normal country but an exceptional one. 
  •  If LKY and the first guards had lost, Singapore would not be what it is today. Salute! Salute! Salute!!!


Battle for Merger: PM LKY’s radio talk chronicling the subversive actions of the communists and their determination to scupper the proposed merger between Singapore and Malaya and most importantly topple the government in power, the PAP. 

He said: “While we only became an independent nation in 1965, our road to independence began earlier, with our attempt to forge a shared destiny with the then Federation of Malaya. Our hard-fought attempt to gain independence by merging with Malaya was in fact a battle for the future of Singapore. On the surface, it was a battle for merger. But this was only on the surface. Below the surface was another deeper, more momentous, more dangerous battle – that between the communists and non-communists in Singapore.

At the heart of this battle were two contrasting visions of how society should be ordered and how we should govern ourselves. It was not simply a fight to get rid of British colonial rule; rather, the communists and their allies had a larger agenda. Their objective was to impose a communist regime in Malaya and Singapore through all means, including subversion, and ultimately, armed revolution.”
Video link ->Battle for Merger: LKY’s radio talk on subversion by communists


Let’s start this movement to thank Mr Lee Kuan Yew for his contribution to Singapore !!

Published on Aug 31, 2014

My friend saw a plate art I did of MM Lee (http://instagram.com/p/reASjYvXHg) on my Instagram and suggested that I kickstart a movement to wish Mr Lee Kuan Yew a very happy birthday!

He turns 91 on 16th Sept 2014.

You can post a greeting (pic/video) on your Instagram and hashtag  #HappyBirthdayLKY 

Share the picture on your Facebook to encourage Singaporeans in your network to do the same!

Let’s start this movement to thank MM Lee for his contribution to Singapore.

Every year from now onwards truly is a celebration of his life and achievements.


I am a Designer who specialises in Logo Design from Singapore! 🙂

INSTAGRAM: http://www.instagram.com/catherineleck
TWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/catherineleck
YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/user/catherineleck


Shine Singapore: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AIgyJ…
Theme song of My Singapore Music Charity Education Project 2013
Music, Lyrics & Vocal by the amazing Lorraine Tan 陈莉芯
Produced by Wedding Harmony & Pink Piano Productions

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lorrainetan.fanpage
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/lorraineclx
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/lorrainetanonline

Thanks Lorraine & Josephine for allowing me to use this amazing music for this special video!


Great smile Mr. Lee Kuan Yew !! Frail but still a Giant :)

Overheard  :

Singapore’s first National Day celebrations

“On the eve of Singapore’s first National Day, then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew addressed the nation at a National Day Rally. After reviewing Singapore’s progress over the past year, Lee expressed confidence that the year ahead would become easier, “as the shape of things is becoming clearer to everyone”.[21] In his speech, he outlined the core competencies that Singaporeans had to develop to progress.

The delivery of the National Day Rally Speech and the National Day Message by the prime minister has become the annual occasion when the incumbent prime minister gives an overview of the government’s performance, and highlights the nation’s key challenges and its future directions.[22]

Between 1966 and 1970, the Prime Minister’s National Day Address was held before 9 August. In 1970, the rally was moved to the first or second Sunday after National Day.. ”

Read more about our first National Day Parade at this link -> Singapore’s first National Day celebrations


Photo: MP Alex Yam shares his encounter with Mr Lee Kuan Yew earlier this week; when Mr Lee was asked if he'd attend the #NationalDayParade this year. </p> <p>#NDP2014 #HappyBirthdaySingapore #NationalDay #Singapore #LeeKuanYew #LKY

Comments :

  • Seriously guys, whoever is organising NDP year after year, let’s drive LKY one round and let all Singaporeans say a big thank you to him that he could hear.
  • 李光耀先生,您对国家,人民的付出。并打造出一个国泰民安、经济繁荣、种族合谐的新加坡。岂是我能用三言两语能表达谢意,敬意呢?感恩,上帝賜于如此伟大,有远见的建国之父。求祂保守李先生健康,快乐!
  • Happy Birthday Singapore!! I am so pleased my children can enjoy and sing along with songs that make us feel home and more importantly, learn of our roots with great respect for MM Lee Kuan Yew and all our pioneers. Thank you for building a nation which we can call home and live in peace and prosperity!
  • 假如能添你寿我愿意折我的寿,敬爱的国父!死有重如太山轻如鸿毛,你能带领全国人民走向光明,值得!
  • Dear Mr Lee Kuan Yew, you and our pioneer fathers have built a country which I am proud to call home. We will jealously guard against any attempts to destroy what our forefathers have painstakingly built. Thank you Sir on behalf of my family and every proud Singaporean. Happy National Day. We wish you good health and more good years.
  • Frail in body he might be but strong in spirit for Singapore he is. May God bless him and his family people for contributing so much to the country.
  • 李光耀先生,明年2015 ~ 新加坡50歲,先和您預約,要与我们不见不散哦!
  • We are very blessed to have you as our great leader. An Argentinian congratulated me in a restaurant in Ushaia”Congratulatuons, do you know that you are in a very well run country,”on hearing that I am from Singapore. People around the world know about your achievements on this red dot. Many of us here are aware too. Appreciate with a big thank you.
  • 向电视中的您轻声问:李光耀先生,您好吗?


What have i got ? What have i given up ? . – Mr Lee Kuan Yew

Your voice :

  • Whatever he did in the past, he did it truly with his heart of goodwill and good conscience for his country and its nation
  • He is one of the few very respected leaders in the world !
  • His conscience was clear, no matter what the history books would say. He had done what he thought was right and that was good enough for him.
  • Objective criticism and criticizing a person just because you don’t like that person are not quite the same. And there is a world of difference between criticizing a person and hatefully hurling insults and curses.Very often what a person says and d

    oes is a reflection of the person himself/herself. What Mr LKY had done all his life is a reflection of the great leader that he is who is consumed with passion for Singapore and the destiny of its people and how to give a good life to them.What Han Hui Hui had done is a reflection of the person that she is, a person consumed with hate and self-importance, of poor upbringing who does not understand the meaning of good manners and respect.

    What Mr Lee Kuan Yew would say to people like ignorant&complete disgrace HHH and fouled mouth Tan Kheng Liang.

  • In fact Spore r very lucky to have such a great leader who is so committed  his whole life building our country till today.We should b grateful n appreciated what he had done.May God blessed him always.
  • He does have a golden heart for his country and people.
  • “Even as Malaysia is a bigger country, there are a lot more countries which are bigger and more successful than Malaysia.”
    As a Malaysian myself, I agree fully that Malaysia is currently under shitty governance. Perhaps Singapore breaking away from Malaysia back at 1965 was a wise move.
    MM Lee has contributed much to Singapore as much as Tunku Abdul Rahman did to Malaysia. The only difference is the management of nations thereafter. Singapore develops and gradually becomes a developed nation, while Malaysia constantly goes downhill after Tunku’s resignation (and still going).
  • You are forever our beloved father!!
  • I don’t think anyone else could do a better job than LKY at that time and situation. You have my utmost respect always and forever Sir.
  • Each of us live in our own world and each one thinks that one is correct and the other is wrong. What we think is a fraction of the big picture in place. To defend the shrewd and the bad, there is need to think like one and surpass that one. What Sir LKY has done is nothing less than a phenomenon. Regardless, it takes a shrewd businessman to make a business successful and he made Singapore successful. In my books, Sir LKY is one Great Man and he proved is all it takes is one man’s vision and will to make dreams a reality. We are having a better life because of his actions. Now it is up to us to progress further and take challenges to better ourselves even more.
  • I, my parents, my wife and children are all profoundly grateful to LKY. Thank you, Sir, for giving up your life for Singapore. No one knows fully the pains you and your wife have gone through and the sacrifices you have made.
  • I think none of us here have done or can do what he has done for singapore. If you dislike him that is your perogative . He is my mp and i will vote for him again and again and again weather he is active or not and that is my perogative.
  • We had leaders that brought us out from the lows at that time. Look at us today. We are a proud nation thanks to our pioneers. Many comments now are made about things not knowing what the nation had gone through in our darkest hour. When we are too comfortable we become complacent. God bless Singapore, forever.
  • 被孤立无助的时候, 谁为新加坡掉泪? 岂能尽如人意 但求无愧于心。愿国家世代平安.
  • only people of my age will know the hard truths, GOD be with you, Mr Lee…., no worries, you have done us proud !
  • Truly well said, thanks for your sacrifice. There is no perfect person so you did your best for a successful Singapore. Having travelled extensively, I am truly proud to be a Singaporean!
  • LKY stood by his conviction to get Spore to what it is today! During his time when he fought against colonialism and the communists as well as getting Spore out of Malaysia , where was HHH? If she was not in that era, can she just go into the archives at the National Library and read how difficult it was then.. Any lesser disciplinary and courageous person than this man LKY would had thrown in the towels and our history would then be a lot lot different than today… All those who criticized LKY for all his work done for Spore are simply ignorant and naive . A lot of so called oppositions thought that LKY was lucky to have comrades like Goh Keng Swee, Rajaratnam, Toh Chin Chye, etc and would not be who he is today without them! well , all these great comrades of LKY had their inidvidual unique talents but they were unable to put each separate ideas to work without nominating a person like LKY who was good in public speaking and leadership to put all their ideas together through. I would dare say that if HHH parents or grandparents who had not one way or another benefited from the success of governance during LKY’s time , she would not be here today criticizing so frivolously about LKY .. To sum it all, I have tremendous respect for this great statesman LKY and certainly Spore would not be where she is today although we are just a small red dot in the world map.
  • Grace to Allah …
    We are fortunate to have you to lead SINGAPORE & this NATION …
    Results is undeniable -> SUCCESS is SEEN.
    You have carve a path to success …
    Failure are them & their choice …
    Still it’s not to late as there are always room for improvement …
    I thank you ..
    You are my idol ..
    I cannot manage the nation …
    Least I Can Manage My Family …

    We are yet to be the Best ..
    From Good we keep going for the Better … Cheers

  • Salute to you with full respect Mr. Lee. Thank you! Me and my family are grateful to you, your wife and your team has had done for Singapore. Amazing work by firm hand of leadership. Is the work perfect? No, but the greatness is good enough to transform this small red dote to held our head high on international stage. Provide economic stability, racial harmony, low jobless rate, roof over our head and safety! For sure this calling , accountability and responsibility is not a walk in a park. Big hug to you .


The Rickshaw puller who saved Lee Kuan Yew

Published on Jun 29, 2014, casschew@sph.com.sg

StraistTimes source link -> The Rickshaw puller who saved Lee Kuan Yew

Mr Koh
Mr Koh Teong Koo with his wife, Madam Sit Chu Song, photographed with their eldest son Ko Ming Chiu in a photo taken in the 1940s. — PHOTO: COURTESY OF KO MING CHIU

The Rickshaw puller who saved Lee Kuan Yew

Happy ‘reunion’ as two grandsons of Koh Teong Koo meet former PM’s brother

Trishaw rider Koh Teong Koo pedals steadily down Oxley Road, pulling up at No. 38, the home of Singapore’s prime minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

A group of his friends trail in a car from a safe distance, expecting him to be turned away by the Gurkha guards at the gate. None of them believes his story that he regularly visits the home of Singapore’s most powerful man.

Then, to everyone’s surprise, the gates are opened and Mr Koh cycles right in.

It turns out their coffee shop buddy is no ordinary trishaw rider, but the only one in 1970s Singapore with close ties to the Lee family.

It is a story the late Mr Koh’s surviving friends relate with relish. What his friends did not know either, was that the Lees always described Mr Koh as the man who saved Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s life during World War II.

His story began in 1934 when he arrived in Singapore from Fujian province in China at the age of 22. Like many of his kinsmen from the Hock Chia dialect group, he became a rickshaw puller.

In 1937, a Peranakan housewife, Madam Chua Jim Neo, got him to start taking her four sons and daughter to school by rickshaw. Mr Lee Kuan Yew was her eldest.

Said Mr Lee’s youngest brother, Dr Lee Suan Yew: “Imagine that, one man pulling at least four of us at one go. You have to be very strong to do that.”

Mr Koh also put his green thumb to work, growing sweet potatoes and cucumbers in the Lees’ backyard at Norfolk Road, in the Farrer Park area, where they lived until 1942. “Teong Koo also taught me how to rear chickens and ducks,” recalled Dr Lee.

But to the Lees, Mr Koh is best remembered for taking care of Mr Lee when it mattered the most – when the Japanese invaded Singapore in 1942.

By then, the family had moved to their grandfather’s home in Telok Kurau, farther from the city, to avoid getting hit by bombs.

One day, Mr Lee, then 19, and Mr Koh were checking their food stocks at the Norfolk Road house when they were ordered by the Japanese to go to a registration centre at Jalan Besar stadium.

They were to be screened by Japanese soldiers, who would decide if they were “cleared” to return home, or if they should be rounded up and taken away. Those who refused to be screened would be punished by the Kempeitai, the Japanese military police.

It happened that Mr Koh’s coolie-keng – the dormitory for rickshaw pullers – fell within the registration centre’s perimeter which was enclosed by barbed wire.

It was an area with many Hock Chia immigrants and Mr Koh had a friend who let him and Mr Lee stay for a night at his home at 75 Maude Road.

The next day, Mr Lee tried to leave the centre through the exit point, but the Japanese soldier on duty told him to join a group of young Chinese gathered nearby.

Feeling instinctively that this was ominous, Mr Lee asked if he could collect his belongings first. The soldier gave permission and Mr Lee took off. He did not return.

Instead, he laid low with Mr Koh for another day and a half until a different soldier was on duty. This time, he was cleared to leave.

Mr Lee recalls that episode in his memoir, The Singapore Story. Had he not escaped, he would almost certainly have been taken to a beach near Changi prison and shot to death.

The Lees believe they have the rickshaw puller to thank for Mr Lee’s narrow escape from Sook Ching, an exercise to punish the Chinese in Singapore for supporting China’s war effort against the Japanese. It is estimated that Sook Ching claimed between 25,000 and 50,000 lives.

Dr Lee told The Sunday Times that when he visited his eldest brother recently, Mr Lee, now 90, could still recall the episode in detail.

Dr Lee said: “My son told him, ‘If it weren’t for Teong Koo, the history of Singapore would have turned out very differently!'”

Mr Lee laughed in response, said Dr Lee.

Retired factory worker Tan Ah Mok, 84, who lived in Maude Road after the war and knew Mr Koh, told The Sunday Times: “Mr Lee’s mother was very happy that he came back alive. So she treated Teong Koo well.”

Dr Lee believes Mr Koh looked out for the family because his mother first looked out for him. When he wanted to try his hand at entrepreneurship, it was Madam Chua who helped him with the money he needed to get started.

He opened a canteen stall, then two provision shops on Maude Road and Bencoolen Street, and later bought five trishaws that he rented out to other riders.

When war broke out, Mr Koh moved all his supplies of food and provisions to the Lees’ Norfolk Road home, and these kept the family going as food became increasingly scarce.

“My mother always said, ‘Kindness begets kindness’. And she was right,” said Dr Lee.

Mr Koh’s devotion to Madam Chua was apparent when she died of a heart attack in 1980 at the age of 75. He attended the funeral at Mount Vernon Crematorium, and was clearly upset.

Mr Tan recalled: “One of Mr Lee’s brothers told him not to cry. Then he gave him some money and told him to go home.”

Despite the support he received from Madam Chua, Mr Koh was unsuccessful in his business dealings.

“He was too easy-going,” said Mr Tan, who recalled how Mr Koh would often be seen relaxing in the evenings at the neighbourhood coffee shop or on grass patches. He drank a little but did not smoke.

It was at Mr Ding Chin Hock’s father’s coffee shop, at 37 Maude Road, that Mr Koh bet with his friends that he could get into No. 38 Oxley Road after they wouldn’t believe that he was a regular visitor to Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s home.

“Teong Koo really stood out to me because of his relationship to the Lee family,” said Mr Ding, 66, a retired accounts clerk.

Mr Koh had a wife and three sons in China, and he sent money home regularly.

Eldest son Ko Ming Chiu, 67, remembers meeting his father for the first time in 1960, when he was 13 years old.

“He was so tall and well-built, just like my grandmother,” said Mr Ko in a telephone interview from Hong Kong.

In 1970, Mr Koh sent 8,500 renminbi for the family to upgrade from an old, small house to a bigger, newer one.

He visited every few years and would bring gifts such as watches, notebooks, woollen clothing and bicycles, said Mr Ko.

“My father said it was difficult to make money with a rickshaw or trishaw – especially when it rained,” he said.

Mr Koh moved back to China in 1986. He made his last trip to Singapore in 1987, when he took his eldest son and granddaughter Jenny to see Mr Lee’s second brother, the late Mr Dennis Lee. But none of the Lees knew about that visit.

Mr Koh died in China in 1998 at the age of 86, survived by three sons and nine grandchildren. His wife Sit Chu Song died in 2000 at the age of 80.

No one heard Mr Koh’s voice again until June 5 this year, when his grandsons George and Ken learnt during a visit to Singapore that he had recorded an oral history interview in 1981.

The brothers listened to a recording during a dinner organised by Dr Lee Suan Yew and heard Mr Koh describe his life as a rickshaw puller in 1930s Singapore.

At one point, Mr Koh let out a hoarse chuckle and his grandson Ken, 33, a businessman, exclaimed: “He always laughed like that! My father will cry when he hears this.”

Mr George Ko, 39, a customer service manager, added: “I had always known that my grandfather was close to the Lee family, but to me, these were just stories. Now, I want to know more about my grandfather’s life in Singapore.”


Mr Lee Kuan Yew (in black) with his family members, comprising siblings (clockwise from left) Monica, Dennis, Freddy and Suan Yew, as well as mother Chua Jim Neo and father Lee Chin Koon, in a family portrait shot at Lloyd Studio. This shot was taken the night before Mr Lee left for England to further his studies. -- PHOTO: COURTESY OF LEE KUAN YEW
Mr Lee Kuan Yew (in black) with his family members, comprising siblings (clockwise from left) Monica, Dennis, Freddy and Suan Yew, as well as mother Chua Jim Neo and father Lee Chin Koon, in a family portrait shot at Lloyd Studio. This shot was taken the night before Mr Lee left for England to further his studies. — PHOTO: COURTESY OF LEE KUAN YEW

StraistTimes source link -> The Rickshaw puller who saved Lee Kuan Yew

Mr Lee Kuan Yew (in black) with his family members, comprising siblings (clockwise from left) Monica, Dennis, Freddy and Suan Yew, as well as mother Chua Jim Neo and father Lee Chin Koon, in a family portrait shot at Lloyd Studio. This shot was taken the night before Mr Lee left for England to further his studies. — PHOTO: COURTESY OF LEE KUAN YEW – See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/the-rickshaw-puller-who-saved-lee-kuan-yew-20140629#2
Mr Lee Kuan Yew (in black) with his family members, comprising siblings (clockwise from left) Monica, Dennis, Freddy and Suan Yew, as well as mother Chua Jim Neo and father Lee Chin Koon, in a family portrait shot at Lloyd Studio. This shot was taken the night before Mr Lee left for England to further his studies. — PHOTO: COURTESY OF LEE KUAN YEW – See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/the-rickshaw-puller-who-saved-lee-kuan-yew-20140629#2

Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who turns 90 next month, was feeling weak yesterday (17 Aug 2013), but refused to miss the dinner with his residents.

‪#‎ndrsg‬ ‪#‎ndp2013‬ Despite feeling unwell, Mr Lee Kuan Yew yesterday kept up the tradition of attending every National Day dinner with his Tanjong Pagar ward. 

ST – 17 Aug 2013 — By Tham Yuen-c

Mr Lee: Give kids early start in bilingualism. He reiterates belief close to his heart at N-Day dinner in his constituency 

ALTHOUGH he was feeling unwell, former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew yesterday continued his perfect record of turning up at every National Day dinner of his Tanjong Pagar ward.

Mr Lee, who turns 90 next month, was feeling weak yesterday but refused to miss the dinner with his residents.

While there, he then went through the entire planned programme, which included delivering a 10-minute speech.

Mr Lee’s effort was clearly appreciated by the gathering of 900 people who broke out into loud cheers and applause when he arrived.

In his speech, he made it clear that the topic of bilingualism, a subject close to his heart, still weighed on his mind.

Speaking in both Mandarin and English while standing at a podium, Mr Lee reiterated his belief that parents needed to give their children an early start at learning two languages.

“Education is the most important factor for our next generation’s success. In Singapore, our bilingualism policy makes learning difficult unless you start learning both languages, English and the mother tongue, from an early age – the earlier the better.”

And to that end, he had pushed for a new pre-school that will expose students to Mandarin.

The pre-school, called Hampton@Tanjong Pagar, comes under the PAP Community Foundation umbrella but is run by private school operator EtonHouse. It will offer a programme that aims to help children develop a natural love for Mandarin.

Mr Lee told residents that research by American social scientists has debunked the common belief that teaching young children multiple languages will only confuse them.

Mr Lee had previously described bilingualism as a “cornerstone of Singapore’s success story”, and in 2011 made a personal donation of over $10 million to a fund that will be used for initiatives to help children learn both English and their mother tongue.

With about a month to go before his birthday on Sept 16, residents took the opportunity to celebrate the occasion. Mr Lee was presented with a cake made up of more than 200 cupcakes arranged in the shape of Singapore.

Said education consultant Ho Weng Kee, 52: “I belong to the generation that has benefited from his leadership and I hope he will be around for many more years to come.”