Mar 23, 2015
Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew
September 16, 1923 - March 23, 2015
Philippines Here and Now
I come from a country where our educated leave their family and country to be domestic helpers, nannies or workers in other countries, doing a job that is beneath their educational attainment. It hurts. With over 80% of the population living below the poverty line, politicians have the gall to plunder the treasury as in the case of the Napoles pork barrel scam that funneled public funds in the amount of P10B (US$230M) into the personal pockets of our senators, congressmen and mayors - Enrile, Estrada and Revilla (2 of them former screen actors) to name the apex 3. Corruption is not only widespread but has permeated deep down into the moral fabric of society. Housing shortage has long reached alarming levels but with nothing done, people are left with resignation that nothing can be done. The economy is rigged to keep the people poor and the public educational system is designed to keep the people ignorant. Why? Because you keep a person poor and ignorant enough and you can get a vote by doing a song and dance number and throwing in P500 (US$12)come election time. They won't know the difference. They'll even think you're Robin Hood. With so much resources, the Philippines remain poor because of the inept and corrupt public officials who run the country.
Singapore Here and Now
Singapore on the other hand enjoys first rate transportation and telecommunication facilities with high speed internet as a norm. It has the 3rd highest GDP/capita on the planet. It's public housing provides a roof to 90% of its population, complete with recreational and sports amenities, food courts, shophouses, making it a self-contained satellite city - there are no squatters in Singapore and there is no corruption in Singapore. Nobody would throw their litter on the street and no one will ever counter flow. Discipline and mindfulness is ingrained in them that they are part of the nation-building process.
Philippines and Singapore Back in the Day
What I find uncanny about these two countries is that at one point in time, not very long ago, Philippines and Singapore were on the same level - social unrest, decaying infrastructure, widespread corruption, high unemployment and sluggish economic growth. The great disparity between these 2 countries only underscore what a strong, dedicated and HONEST leadership can do to move a country forward. In the 30 days I stayed in Singapore, I witnessed and experienced first hand the prosperity and success of Singapore. I cannot help but speculate that with able leadership, the Philippines could have been this. Lee Kuan Yew proved that it is humanly possible to achieve this in one generation.
Lee Kuan Yew Quotes About the Philippines
- "The Philippines had so many able people, educated in the Philippines and the United States. Their workers were English-speaking, at least in Manila. There was no reason why the Philippines should not have been one of the more successful of the ASEAN countries. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was the most developed, because America had been generous in rehabilitating the country after the war. Something was missing, a gel to hold society together."
- "Filipinos had many children because the church discouraged birth control. The result was increasing poverty."
- "(in the Philippinnes), I believe what a country needs to develop is discipline more than democracy."
- "Something had gone seriously wrong. Millions of Filipino men and women had to leave their country for jobs abroad beneath their level of education. Filipino professionals whom we recruited to work in Singapore are as good as our own. Indeed, their architects, artists, and musicians are more artistic and creative than ours."
- "Only in the Philippines could a leader like Ferdinand Marcos, who pillaged his country for over 20 years, still be considered for a national burial. Insignificant amounts of the loot have been recovered, yet his wife and children were allowed to return and engage in politics."
- "The Philippines had a rambunctious press but it did not check corruption. Individual press reporters could be bought, as could many judges. "
- "One Filipino newspaper, Today, wrote on 22 November 1998, 'Ver, Marcos and the rest of the official family plunged the country into two decades of lies, torture, and plunder. Over the next decade, Marcos's cronies and immediate family would tiptoe back into the country, one by one - always to the public's revulsion and disgust, though they showed that there was nothing that hidden money and thick hides could not withstand.' Some Filipinos write and speak with passion. If they could get their elite to share their sentiments and act, what could they not have achieved?"
With his passing, I write this article to honor him...a look at the man...this rarest of the rare...who dedicated his life in the service of country. I have said this many times, I will say it again, Singapore is lucky to have such a man.
Singapore and Lee Kuan Yew are synonymous - it's hard to mention one without reference to the other. It's almost like they had an umbilical cord that bound them together for 5 decades. Lee Kuan Yew is modern Singapore's founding father and the longest reigning prime minister from 1959 to 1990. He continued his public service long after he stepped down as prime minister. With his strong and forward-thinking leadership, he steered Singapore from an underdeveloped colonial outpost suffering from high unemployment rate, severe housing shortage problem, decaying infrastructure, social unrest and widespread corruption - into an ultra modern city state with the highest Asian GDP, its public housing program emulated by several countries, moral work ethics defined by giving your task an honest day's work, crime rate so low for any urban metropolis, first rate transportation system and an interactive citizenry mindful they are part of the nation-building process.
||I'm no longer in active politics. It's irrelevant to me what younger Singaporeans think of me. What they think of me after I'm dead and gone in one generation will be determined by researchers who do PhDs on me. I did what I thought was right, given the circumstances, given my knowledge at the time, given the pressures on me at the time. That's finished, done. I have no regrets. I have spent my life, so much of it, building up this country. There's nothing more that I need to do. At the end of the day, what have I got? A successful Singapore. What have I given up? My life.
-- Lee Kuan Yew
Destined for Greater Things
Even as a young student, Lee exhibited his capacity for greater things. He was always at the top of his class. One of his teachers prophesied that Lee will "do well, unusually well" and attain "a high place in life". When he sat for the Senior Cambridge Examination in 1939, he emerged as the top student for the whole of Malaya. He finished law at Cambridge University with academic distinction. He would soon blaze the trail in moulding a city port into an unprecedented first world city state.
At age 19, when the Japanese occupied Singapore during WWII, Lee's political awakening was sparked. He realized that Singapore should rid itself of foreign colonizers - both the British and the Japanese. Independence became his resolve and pushing Singapore forward to self-rule and self-sufficiency became his mandate. He had that opportunity in the 3 decades he governed as prime minister.
Tough Guy of Asia
Lee's political resolve and strength of conviction saw Singapore through trying times. His resolve was tested during the face-down episodes against the Communists in the late 1950s, his withdrawal from the Federation of Malaysia and upholding the rule of law in the face of mounting US pressure in the caning of American Michael Fay for vandalism.
Not only is Lee tough but brilliant as well. With no natural resources but having deep and protected waters to attract foreign merchant ships, Lee made Singapore a free port. This move has resulted in Singapore's port to be connected to 600 ports in 126 countries covering 6 continents, ranking Singapore the 2nd busiest port in terms of shipping tonnage. Lee through the help of his lawyer wife, settled Singapore's water dependency to Malaysia by legislating the water deal to be integrated into Malaysia's constitution. This move guarantees Singapore's water supply as overseen by the United Nation's Security Council. According to one Malaysian I talked to, Malaysia is duty-bound to sell cheap water to Singapore, which Singapore filters and bottles and sells back to Malaysia at a handsome profit.
I could go on and on why Lee Kuan Yew is Fab People. His legacy permeates through Singapore's very foundation. The empirical numbers stand tall of Singapore's achievements and the ubiquitous public housing draping the landscape of Singapore manifests the milestones of what used to be squatters and squalid shophouses. Multitude of Singaporeans waited in line for hours upon hours getting a last glimpse of this father figure, summarizing in a snapshot the reverence, gratitude and loss of a nation to one who has given all for the greater good of Singapore.
You have done so much in your lifetime, Mr. Prime Minister. Not just Singapore, but the whole world feels its loss with your passing. Rest in Peace.
Little India - Little India is the main tourism hub in Singapore. Friday and Saturday nights become animated with the night market
Chinatown -colorful and animated with Chinese ware shopping, sumptuous street food and hawker-style eats, try Ah Balling Peanut Soup
Orchard Road - upscale shopping and glitzy night life
Arab Street - backpacker dorms, shisha smoking with Middle Eastern atmosphere
Singapore Zoo - experience the night zoo, S$38
Fountain of Wealth - at Suntec City, largest fountain in the world (Guinness Book of Records in 1998), shop-til-you-drop
The Southern Ridges - best trekking trails in Singapore extending 10kms through lush forest canopy. Bring water, sunscreen and a hat
Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery - biggest Buddhist temple in Singapore
Marina Bay Sands - Singapore's most iconic building and most expensive at US$5.5B. Imagine a surf board on top of three skyscrapers
- Arcadia Hotel - stylish, modern, urbane, cool and confident. Jalan Besar district
32 Hamilton Road, Singapore 209201
+65 6718 0700 | email@example.com | 1°18'42.0"N 103°51'41.1"E
- Pinnacle Hotel - newly renovated, central location near Little India and MRT
270 Jalan Besar #01-01/02 Singapore 209019
tel: (65) 6499 8999 | (65) 6499 8996 | 1°18'37.1"N 103°51'31.2"E
- 7 Wonders Hostel - backpacker community, sleeping capsules, free wifi, complimentary breakfast, live English Premier League, dining, motion sensor lighting, alfresco outdoor sitting area
257 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208930
tel: (+65) 6291 3774 | 1°18'36.2"N 103°51'29.8"E
- Meadows Hostel - newly opened, all new and clean, backpacker capsule beds, central Lavender District location, 24/7 compli tea and coffee, wifi, compli breakfast
7A Hamilton Road, Kallang, Singapore, Singapore 209178
tel: 6298.1323 | 1°18'40.2"N 103°51'38.0"E
cafe, tea house and restaurant
(which the revisionist Marcos media machinery cannot influence or bribe)
- Mini-Life in Singapore August 8-22, 2016
- Peoplescape of Singapore Aug. 8-22, 2016
- Discovering the Neighborhood Cafes of Singapore Aug 8-22, 2016
- Biological Cell Regulation (BCR) Therapy at Chang Wellness Aug 16, 2016
- Getting my Xiaomi Redmi Note3 Smart Phone Aug. 9, 2016
- A Roof Over my Head in Singapore Aug. 8-22, 2016
- 2-Hour Detention at Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority August 8, 2016
- Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew Mar 23, 2015
- Life Hacking in Singapore Mar 22, 2015
- Exploring More of Singapore Feb 21 - Mar 22, 2015
- Power Yoga Class at Yoga Inc., Singapore Mar 21, 2015
- Touring Marina Bay Sands Mar 17, 2015
- The Singapore Magic Mar 16, 2015
- Singapore Yoga at Yoga Inc. Mar 8, 2015
- Singapore on a Shoe String Feb 20, 2015
- Things to do in Singapore Oct 20, 2013
- Singapore Girl July 21, 2013
- Lee Kuan Yew and Ferdinand Marcos Jan 26, 2003
- Kian Loyd Delos Santos, the Last Straw Breaking Duterte's Back Aug 21, 2017
- Duterte Mania in Davao Oct 12, 2016
- The Blast that Rocked Davao Sep 2, 2016
- The Legacy of President NoyNoy (PNoy) Aquino May 28, 2016
- Bernie Sanders, US Presidential Candidate 2016 Feb 9, 2016
- We Don't Care Jan 23, 2016
- The Duterte Phenomenon Oct 21, 2015
- Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew Mar 23, 2015
- Pending US Invasion of Syria Sep 7, 2013
- Julian Assange (Journalism Activist) Dec 21, 2010
- President NoyNoy Aquino Aug 2, 2010
- Alan Greenspan Concedes Being Wrong Jan 9, 2009
- Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid Dec 13, 2008
- Hot Money, Warm Bodies: The Downfall of Philippine President Estrada Jan 29, 2007
- Walk Out - Teach In March 17, 2006
- UP Republic March 3, 2006
- People Power? February 24, 2006
- Lee Kuan Yew and Ferdinand Marcos January 26, 2003
- Eleanor Roosevelt Oct 22, 2002
(Mar 29, 2015) idol!!
Ricky Soler Jr
(Mar 29, 2015) No. You are wrong. I have to disagree. The Philippines was not at the same level, we were in fact, way ahead and advance in so many ways than Singapore. We missed the boat so many times and Singapore got it right the first time.
"The Philippines was not at the same level, we were in fact, way ahead and advance in so many ways than Singapore" -- Ricky Andaya Soler
(Mar 29, 2015) I was being conservative, Ricky. You are absolutely right. According to 'benign0', Singapore was "...shunned by the Malay Federation, menaced by Indonesia, and abandoned by the British Empire, Lee Kuan Yew took leadership of a state that had very reasonable excuses to curl up on the floor and fail. It had none of the essential natural resources needed to industrialize, was wracked by internal ethnic strife, and lacked an identity beyond its former status as a Malay Federation state". Even Lee Kuan Yew, in his own words said, "In the 1950s and 1960s, it (Philippines) was the most developed, because America had been generous in rehabilitating the country after the war". Indeed we missed the boat too many times.
Ricky Soler Jr
(Mar 29, 2015) Sayang talaga. I want to cry just thinking about it. If you take a look at the ordinary middle class Singaporean and compare them with the ordinary middle class Filipino malayo tayo in terms of intellect and social aspects, not to demean them in anyway but in fact I look up, respect and even envy them. Pero tayo we are too smart for our own good... sadly it did not do us any good.
(Mar 30, 2015) Wish we had someone like Lee Kuan Yew! What a shame that Marcos used his brains to corrupt everyone from the grassroots level up to the highest government position.
"Marcos used his brains to corrupt everyone from the grassroots level up to the highest government position" -- Viveca Hutchinson
(Mar 30, 2015) Exactly my thoughts. Marcos could have been the one guy to see the Philippines through. Like Lee Kuan Yew, he was brilliant, he was a strong man who had political will to get things done, he was charming and could command the loyalty of people around him, etc. But at the end of the day, Marcos turned out to be nothing more than a common thief who robbed his country blind. Worse, he set the precedent to institutionalize corruption in the country.
Mar 23, 2015
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