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Politics

Lee Kuan Yew and Ferdinand Marcos Jan 26, 2003 Sunday

Lee Kuan Yew and Ferdinand Marcos

After returning my rental car, I passed by Chapters to browse. Lo and behold, I found a book (From Third World to First : The Singapore Story: 1965-2000) about Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew, a dictator I hold in the highest regard...and it's even written by him. I have long hoped that I would get to know more about this man beyond the snippets I get from different readings I've done that mention him in passing.

Coming from the Philippines and having experienced first-hand the iron-fisted dictatorship of the corrupt Ferdinand Marcos, the word dictatorship should leave a foul taste in my mouth...and it does. But I'm talking about a different kind of dictatorship. Lee wielded his autocratic power the way a stern father would for the benefit of his children...tough love, but for the greater good of the nation. He stands alone in the global arena of world leaders precisely because there aren't too many who have ALL these qualities:

  • intellectual force of nature - bright, brilliant and ingenius. Fidel Castro comes to mind, Ben Gurion too
  • visionaries - envisioning an idealized state for the country. Pol Pot...Mao Tse Tung, they both had vision
  • political will - having the balls to make the difficult decisions
  • good intentions - all the above won't make sense if you just want to steal from the treasury

Lee Kwan Yew is all of that and more.

Let me elucidate. Pol Pot was a man of well-meaning vision...of bringing the glorious Angkorian past of Cambodia into the here and now. There's vision. Implementation? Millions died needlessly resulting in the killing fields (where a movie with the same name was made). Even today, human skulls pile high as a grim reminder of this madman's unbridled foray into his vision.

Mao Tse Tung likewise was a well-meaning visionary. His accomplishments as the "Great Helmsman" of Communist China are legendary. However, his pursuit of a wild utopia and failed program implementation (Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward) wreaked famine and death to some 60 million...very bad implementation.

When Lee assumed power in Singapore in 1959, the city-state was a colonial backwater considered by many as a rag-tag piece of swampland mired in political and social unrest by a racially and ideologically divided population...in many ways, very much like the Philippines during that time. I cannot help but make the parallelism between Marcos and Lee. They both came into power about the same time, the political and social condition of their respective countries were roughly the same, both are regarded by many to be geniuses in their own rights, and both enjoyed absolute power.

Fast forward to 1986 (when Marcos was toppled down), Singapore ranks as the world's fourth-highest per capita real income with mass public housing. The Philippines? After Marcos plundered the Philippine treasury coupled with human rights violation, 80% of the population plunged below the poverty line - enough said.

There is common sentiment that Marcos had what it takes to make the Philippines as progressive as Singapore. He had what Lee had...brains, power and political will - the way he ingeniously implemented his corruption scheme from the systematic extortion of money to numbered Swiss accounts not to mention Liechtenstein and Panama is showcase-worthy. Unfortunately, he didn't have the one thing Lee had...the one thing in nature that stands beyond reproach...good intentions.

Marcos had a unique moment to be part of history - to make the Philippines great...to lift the common man out of poverty...but he chose to pocket the money instead of using it for the greater good of the people. The other presidents succeeding Marcos could not even come close to having a shot. It was only him who could have done it. What a waste of a precious gift.

While Lee is revered by many (he has his share of detractors and critics as well) for his selfless sacrifices into building Singapore to what it has become, Marcos lies dead with the billions he looted from the Philippine treasury yet you can't distinguish his bones from that of a poor man.

--- TheLoneRider

Here are international links about Ferdinand Marcos

(which the revisionist Marcos media machinery cannot influence or bribe)

More Information about Singapore

Singapore Blogs by TheLoneRider

  1. Mini-Life in Singapore August 8-22, 2016
  2. Peoplescape of Singapore Aug. 8-22, 2016
  3. Discovering the Neighborhood Cafes of Singapore Aug 8-22, 2016
  4. Biological Cell Regulation (BCR) Therapy at Chang Wellness Aug 16, 2016
  5. Getting my Xiaomi Redmi Note3 Smart Phone Aug. 9, 2016
  6. A Roof Over my Head in Singapore Aug. 8-22, 2016
  7. 2-Hour Detention at Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority August 8, 2016
  8. Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew Mar 23, 2015
  9. Life Hacking in Singapore Mar 22, 2015
  10. Exploring More of Singapore Feb 21 - Mar 22, 2015
  11. Power Yoga Class at Yoga Inc., Singapore Mar 21, 2015
  12. Touring Marina Bay Sands Mar 17, 2015
  13. The Singapore Magic Mar 16, 2015
  14. Singapore Yoga at Yoga Inc. Mar 8, 2015
  15. Singapore on a Shoe String Feb 20, 2015
  16. Things to do in Singapore Oct 20, 2013
  17. Singapore Girl July 21, 2013
  18. Lee Kuan Yew and Ferdinand Marcos Jan 26, 2003

Political Statements by TheLoneRider




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January 26, 2003

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