Ladies and Gentlemen,
The New York Times of Sept 11, 2010 has the story "Days of Reflection for a man who defined Singapore". It is an interview with him by the papers' Seth Mydans in Singapore recently. In it, he reflects upon his life in politics, his wife who is bedridden and his feeling progressively weaker with age at 87 and the realization that he will die very soon.
His general tone appears to be one of some sadness, as he reflects on his actions over the years to keep him in power, actions which he appears not very proud of, but which he claims were necessary. You can sense guilt in his words.
Dostoevsky, the Russian novelist and philosopher's theory is that conscience is a much powerful force, even more powerful than Hell after life. In his classic novel Crime and Punishment, the main character who does evil is eventually completely overcome by his conscience when he finally confesses his crimes and looks forward to being punished. By his confession he is released from the agony he suffered in his life by his conscience.
Lee Kuan Yew in this interview is exactly as the criminal in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. The words he uses gives his state of mind away. He asks "So, when is the last leaf falling", meaning when am I going to die? He says "I can feel the gradual decline of energy and vitality". "And I mean generally every year, when you know you are not on the same level as last year."
He spoke with envy of people who found strength in religion. Since he did not believe in God, he could only say to himself "Life is just like that".
About life after death he says "What is next, I do not know, nobody has ever come back". He worries how long and in what form his model (Singapore) may endure once he is gone.
So in order to keep alive as long as he can, he swims, cycles and has a massage. He says "I know if I rest I will slide downhill fast".
The interview is a long one and finally he confesses. He says "I am not saying that everything I did was right", "but everything I did was for an honorable purpose. I had to do some nasty things, locking fellows up without trial".
He also says because Singapore has a multi racial society with Chinese Malays and Indians, democracy will not work and there has to be authoritarian rule. (My paraphrase of what he said).
I agree, Lee Kuan Yew is going to die sooner than he thinks. It is one thing for a man to keep going with exercise in old age because he wants to keep fit. It is quite another when he keeps fit because he is afraid to die, which Lee is. Lee is not keeping fit because he enjoys it, he rather relax, rest and enjoy life, but he cannot.
He does it(excercising and keepng fit) instead, because he is afraid for his son whom he appointed the Prime Minister. He realises that his son is simply not up to it, no one respects him and the moment he dies, he will be given the boot or even worse. He realises that the biggest mistake he did was to place his son Prime Minister which now hangs around his neck like the Albatross. In order to keep his son alive, he too has to keep alive, he has no choice. So he fights every single minute of the day for his last breath.
This sort of desperation will kill him, instead of keeping him alive.
And then he says the illegal actions he took were honorable. That torturing Lim Chin Siong, Said Zahari, Dr. Lim Hock Chew and Chia Thye Poh and jailing them for decades were were "honorable" actions, even though they were not given a trial and there was not a single piece of evidence that they were a threat to the security of the island.
I think here he is having one of those serious attacks of the conscience, which murderers, rapists and burglars face over the years. Sooner or later the guilt of what they have done overcomes them, and they suffer under it, finding a little comfort in confessing their sins to someone, which Lee is doing now with New York Times.
I will tell Lee Kuan Yew this and now. There was no justification whatsoever for what you have done and what you are doing. In the 1960s there was no justification for you to imprison your political foes without trial for decades. None of them were threats to the security of Singapore. If they were any threat, they were threats to you and no one else and in your greed to hold on to power, you misused the law to put these good men away for no rime or reason. You destroyed them, you destroyed their families and their children. These are actions that Hitler did, just as you have done. So please don't call them honorable, you insult the very word.
And your talking of the need to have an authoritarian rule simply because Singapore is a multi racial society is simply funny. Today there is no country in the world that is uniform in race, every country both big and small is multi racial. They are not at each other's throats just because of that. And your excuse to have authoritarian rule just because it is a multi racial society is just silly. It is simply an excuse for you to destroy your opponents and cling to power.
I am glad you put your son as the Prime Minister. You are going to die soon, you will not last. And with your dying, your son will not know which way to turn. And so will your handpicked sycophantic ministers. Singapore will collapse with you and a new and better Singapore will be born like a Phoenix from the sands. It will be a a better place than this, as Darshan Singh Singapore's world famous executioner( Alan Shadrake's book "Once a Jolly Hangman") used to say to his victims just before he slid the noose under their throats.
And in passing let me tell you this. Despite Singapore's glass towers and high rise buildings, Singapore is a place much worse than the poorer neighbouring countries. In your Singapore, there is no rule of law, no independent press, and in it, there is a King, which is you, whom everyone has to live in fear of. Living a life such as that is far worse than living in the neighbouring countries where at least one can be free.
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