Monday, December 17, 2007

Read about Lee, not Potter!

Reading books and blogs is highly recommendable to everyone on this planet because it is not only pleasurable and relaxing; it opens our eyes to the world around us, thus making us knowledgeable intellectuals...

Here's what I've been trying to spend time, amongst my thick pile of books, to finishing lately: squeaky clean former Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew's The Singapore Story. It's a hell of an interesting informative autobiography written by a man I've always admired.

As much as I dislike the application of inhuman draconian laws such as the notorious Internal Security Act (ISA)- enforced to detain others of dissenting views- which I consider is a grave violation of human rights, I could forgive multi-culturally sensitive Singapore for having it to maintain law and order as it could be seen that it basically practises a fair and balanced economic policy towards its citizenry. Its poverty eradication programmes works for almost everyone and corruption is at a minimal. Its people are also well-respected around the world.

The book itself is a big eye-opener. It would be hard to dispute his details of events that led to the departure of the island state from Malaysia. It also provides a rather intimate glimpse into the life of the author himself. As you could see in the picture, it's the incorruptible man himself with his present wife, taken while they were courting romantically.

Some other small tidbits about this well-respected great statesman that I found fascinating: he's a Hakka in an ocean of Hokkiens in Singapore; he admired his grandfather more than his dad; he was given the English name 'Harry' and his two siblings were given the names 'Dennis' and 'Freddy' and he used to get first in pure Mathematics in Raffles College so he's a great mathematician!

The heavy stuff in his book is that he actually preferred to keep Singapore within Malaysia but it would not be so. It was apparent that the Chinese-majority state was a major political concern to Malaysia's founders. As he commented, "Singapore had independence thrust on it". In the end Singapore left the federation and today it stands proudly alone with a high per capital income and advanced developed First World status.

So that's the book I'm reading thoroughly this holiday season. I'll share more tidbits and gems from it in future. Keep your fingers crossed!

Here's a well-worn out joke at the expense of my hero:
A visitor goes to Singapore. He meets two huge statues, first a female and then a male.

He asks the guide, "Who's this?"

The guide answers,"That's Kuan Ying, the goddess of mercy."

Then he meets the other statue and asks again,"Who's this?"

The guide replies, "That's Kuan Yew, the god of no mercy."

I hope that's not offensive to my Singapore buddies out there, least of all the honorable gentleman, Harry! My dream is to get him to sign his fantastic book someday...Well, another late great statesman once joked, "I am ready to meet my maker; whether my Maker is ready to meet me, I do not know." Time is unfortunately running out for everyone to meet his or her Maker...

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