作者：Kuan Yew Lee
I was never a prisoner of any theory. What guided me were reason and reality. The acid test I applied to every theory or scheme was, would it work?
P159 / 2022-09-22 08:05
I always tried to be correct, not politically correct.
P159 / 2022-09-22 08:04
I have never understood why Western educationists are so much against corporal punishment. It did my fellow students and me no harm.
P156 / 2022-09-22 08:03
It is Asian values that have enabled Singapore to contain its drug problem. To protect the community we have passed laws which entitle police, drug enforcement or immigration officers to have the urine of any person who behaves in a suspicious way tested for drugs. If the result is positive,treatment is compulsory. Such a law in the United States will be unconstitutional, because it will be an invasion of privacy of the individual.
P155 / 2022-09-22 08:01
Quite a number of countries, after gaining independence, have failed economically and collapsed socially. They lacked one essential quality: self-discipline, either in their leaders, or more often both in their leaders and their people. It requires self-discipline to budget and live within your means, when you can just print more money. It requires self-discipline to maintain the integrity and efficiency of government and administration and to punish and keep down corruption, especially in high places.
P154 / 2022-09-22 07:59
A person learns most vividly and remembers longest and best when his lessons are accompanied by sharp pain or great joy. After he has enjoyed his first encounter with the durian, he will never forget how to identify the fragrance. Some can learn by watching others scald themselves. Few or none can learn to sniff out a good durian without having eaten both good and bad ones.
P152 / 2022-09-22 07:57
The regional and international setting has never been more favourable in East Asia. So I am amazed that some young Singaporeans believe that their future will be harder than their parents’. They simply do not know what a difficult and dangerous world their parents lived in, how unpromising Southeast Asia was in the 1950s to the 1970s, wracked by riots and revolution, and how much better off they are now. They are too concerned about the rising
P149 / 2022-09-22 07:56
What is good government? This depends on the values of a people. What Asians value may not be what Americans or Europeans value. Westerners value the freedoms and liberties of the individual. As an Asian of Chinese cultural background, my values are for a government which is honest, effective and efficient in protecting its people and allowing opportunities for all to advance themselves in a stable and orderly society where they can live a good life and raise their children to do better than themselves.
P138 / 2022-09-21 22:19
We must not allow our values and our philosophy of what is good government to be overwhelmed by the standards and norms of the contemporary West, regardless of their relevance to our social, economic and political conditions, simply because, for the time being the West have the material abundance and technological superiority. Let us select the relevant factors in their societies, factors which have made them strong and have been proven by the test of time. Then we can incorporate these factors into our system without damage to ourselves.
P137 / 2022-09-21 20:36
Every generation has a quota of those who feel that society does not give them the status, the position, the influence, the rewards,that they deserve. They want to overturn the order of things.
P136 / 2022-09-21 18:42
If there is one touchstone for success, it is confidence. A people must have confidence in themselves. If they lack it, if they feel they are unequal to the challenge, then they will never make the grade.
P135 / 2022-09-21 18:40
Welfare and subsidies destroy the motivation to perform and succeed. Where we must help, give cash or assets and leave it to the individual to decide how he will spend it. When people become dependent on subsidies, and the government can no longer afford and has to cut subsidies, people riot.
P134 / 2022-09-21 13:59
We are mindful of the dangers of high welfare and unemployment benefits, watching the consequences of this compassionate policy on the job-seeking habits of the unemployed. Visiting the major cities of the industrial countries, Iam struck by this curious phenomena of high unemployment and yet a shortage of waiters, cab drivers, nurses and garbage collectors. Some jobs are not worth doing, as a result of welfare benefits. Whatever principles may be applicable in highly developed industrial countries, for a resource-poor country like Singapore, hard work, and high performance amply rewarded, is the best way to attract capital and technology into the country to generate wealth.
P131 / 2022-09-21 13:53
One crucial lesson I have learnt is that militant, powerful, antagonistic trade unions who set out to confront employers in order to extract the maximum for their members, regardless of the interests of the employers or workers in other sectors, end up by successfully scuttling the whole of their own economy and demolishing their own societies. Look at Britain and Australia. Singapore unions and leaders, including myself, were once as bloody-minded. In our first phase, we were fiercely anti-colonial and anti-capitalist. We wanted to get rid of the British and their big business houses, to get independence and power into our own hands. We wanted to cut the cake up our way, with larger pieces for our workers. Fortunately, we learnt the hard facts of life quickly. From 1959, with self-government, and especially from 1965, with independence, alone on our own, we realised that we needed to create stable secure conditions for investment, with favourable prospects for profitable returns. Otherwise the economy would not have moved and unemployment would have become crippling.
P128 / 2022-09-21 13:51
The assumptions made in the 1950s and 1960s by the trade unions and their advisers, of whom I was one, were that our workers wanted more leisure to enjoy their pay. These assumptions were based on British practices which were and are completely irrelevant to our social conditions. Everybody knows this. Our workers want work, and more work for more money – not more leisure to spend the inadequate sums they earn.
P125 / 2022-09-20 13:57
Let us recognise that no nation in the world ever gives awaya technological advantage for reasons of charity.
P122 / 2022-09-20 13:51
While the western MNCs have the know-how, the Asian conglomerates have the know-who as they are conveniently plugged into the social, cultural, political and business networks in the region.
P116 / 2022-09-20 13:42
Americans are not criticising Singapore because they are concerned about democracy and human rights enjoyed by three million Singaporeans. Whether Singapore succeeds as a multiracial community in Southeast Asia or fails makes little difference to the future of America. Their real interest is what Freedom House has stated, that Singapore sets the wrong example for China, showing China that it can maintain social discipline and order with high economic growth but without becoming a full-fledged American-style democracy. This is the reason why the American media always attacks Singapore.
P98 / 2022-09-18 21:45
There is no way for Asia by itself, without America, to find a balance. If you remove the Americans from the equation, even if you combine Japan and Korea, the other countries in Southeast Asia, Vietnam, ASEAN, Australia, New Zealand, they still can’t balance China. The difference in weight is disproportionate, unless the Japanese decide to become nuclear and rearm in a big way. That would be a very dangerous world. So, the future depends very
much on maintaining an American presence in the region, which I believe is likely to continue for some while because they’re joining in the growth.
P97 / 2022-09-18 21:42
A US-style constitution failed [in the Philippines] long before Marcos declared martial law. It was re-adopted in 1987 by President Aquino. The system worked in America because of a super-abundance of resources and riches in a vast underpopulated continent. I do not believe that Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong or Singapore could have succeeded as they have done if they had to work under such a constitution, where gridlock on every major issue is a way of life. And you will notice that since the Vietnam War and the Great Society some 28 years ago, the US system has not functioned even for the United States.
P95 / 2022-09-18 20:25
Atitudes are changing. Worldwide satellite television makes it increasingly difficult for any government to hide its cruelties to its own people. By international convention what a government does with its own people is an internal matter and does not concern foreign governments. This convention is difficult to uphold when people worldwide see and condemn the cruelties and want something done to stop them. On the other hand, Western governments often use public opinion as an excuse to interfere with another government’s actions. But are Western governments prepared to help financially to ease the severe economic difficulties which are often the cause of upheavals and their suppression by force? Only if they are, do they have a moral right to interfere and to be listened to.
P94 / 2022-09-18 20:07
The Americans are great missionaries. They have an irrepressible urge to convert others.
P93 / 2022-09-18 20:03
To have influence,Japan has to become more international-minded, more outward going in her outlook and less self-centred, more open and hospitable to foreigners, especially to fellow Asians, who rank low in Japanese esteem. A society which is courteous but not warm and friendly is not so readily accepted,admired and emulated.
P93 / 2022-09-18 20:02
We want the maximum number of friends and the minimum number of enemies, and naming anybody as an enemy is the surest way of making him your enemy.
P92 / 2022-09-18 19:57
In any given society, of the one thousand babies born, there are so many per cent near-geniuses, so many per cent average, so many per cent morons. I am sorry if I am constantly preoccupied with what the near-geniuses and the above-average are going to do. But I am convinced that it is they who ultimately decide the shape of things to come. It is the above-average in any society who sets the pace. We want an equal society. We want to give everybody equal opportunities. But, at the back of our minds, never deceive ourselves that two human beings are ever equal in their stamina, in their drive, in their dedication, in their innate ability. And my preoccupation is with those who can really make a contribution, who can matter, given the training and the discipline.
P71 / 2022-09-17 17:40
If we believe in the dignity of man, in his right to live in freedom,if we respect human life, regardless of colour and creed, then we must resist the fatalistic apathy that in the end men, whether in ancient tribes or modern nations, are beasts who seek their own selfish interests to the exclusion, or worse, at the expense of others of the human race. As democratic socialists, within our own countries we reject the proposition that the rich should get richer and the poor should get poorer. We fight economic and social injustice, eradicate unfair practices and create more equal opportunities for all.
P71 / 2022-09-17 17:34
Freedom of the press, freedom of the news media, must be subordinated to the overriding needs of Singapore, and to the primacy of purpose of an elected government.
P69 / 2022-09-17 17:29
This cultural supremacy is again evident when the American media praises Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines or Thailand for becoming democratic and having a free press. It is praise with condescension, compliments from a superior culture patting an inferior one on the head. And it is this same sense of cultural supremacy which leads the American media to pick on Singapore and beat us up as authoritarian, dictatorial; an over-ruled, over-restricted, stifling, sterile society. Why? Because we have not complied with their ideas of how we should govern ourselves. But we can ill afford to let others experiment with our lives. Their ideas are theories, theories not proven in East Asia, not even in the Philippines after they had governed the Philippines for 50 years. Nor is it proven as yet in Taiwan, or Thailand, or Korea. When it is proven that these countries have become better societies than Singapore, in 5 or 10 years, we will run after them to adopt their practices and try to catch up.
P68 / 2022-09-17 17:26
At the end of the day, it’s what we do for our people that counts. And the more they [the Western press] exaggerate our warts and moles and other deficiencies, of which I admit I have many, and I don’t try cosmetic techniques to make myself look more presentable than I am, I think the less credible will they become. This is because in a world of very rapid mass communications and mass travel, people are beginning to rely not just on what they read in
the newspapers and on what they see on the television screen, but what they actually see for themselves; what their friends whom they trust tell them. As far as investors are concerned – they are more important to me than the Western press and pressmen – it is what the banker and the Ambassador who lives in the country say that makes him decide whether he is going to screw down machinery worth hundreds of millions, sometimes a few billion dollars, to the ground.
P67 / 2022-09-17 16:49
I am not interested in advice from Asian émigrés on what should be in Singapore. Their advice is worse than useless. They have no sense of shame, or they would stay and help their own countries progress and their fellow countrymen live less wretched lives. Instead, they flee to greener pastures and give us advice.
P65 / 2022-09-17 15:43
Not all who oppose the PAP are communists; some are communists, some reactionaries, some opportunists and some merely confused.
P64 / 2022-09-17 15:30
I would publicly like to disavow any support from any European or expatriate quarter for the government. I say this unashamedly: that those who wish us well and are non-citizens do best by keeping quiet and praying silently that the country will go on peacefully and prosperously. Those who are against the government and open their big mouths may find a lot of unpleasant consequences.
P64 / 2022-09-17 14:44
Corruption eats into any system, regardless of the philosophy or ideology of the founding father, of the government, or the location of a country. Even the Communist Party of China and Communist Party of Vietnam, although fired by high ideals, and determined to clean out the corruption and decadence of existing regimes, have become riddled with corruption after a few decades in power.When they abandoned their Marxist ideology and central planning, liberalized their economy to encourage the free market, the percentage, the
grease, the kickback, baksheesh returned in great force.
P63 / 2022-09-17 11:44
The laws against corruption should be tightened to shift the onus of proof onto the person who possesses more assets than his income warrants. Two or three big fish brought to justice successfully, will have a salutary effect on everyone.
P62 / 2022-09-17 11:41
Amazingly, throughout most of the contemporary Western world leaders in government require no special training or qualification. Many get elected because they sound and look good on television. The results have been unhappy for their voters.
P60 / 2022-09-17 11:34
Good governance includes the pursuit of national interest regardless of theories or ideologies. Good government is pragmatic government.
P59 / 2022-09-17 11:17
If you are impulsive and lucky, you may even pass off as an incisive mind and a decisive commander. If you are unlucky, then you are a hasty bungler and a fool. Or if you take much time for a careful weighing of the odds, but the decision nevertheless turned out wrong, people may well think you are a ditherer, perhaps, even past your prime, and getting on in years, lacking in that ability to be seized of a problem with promptness, and having weighed up the pros and cons, to act decisively. The moral is that if all turns out well, and a decision proves correct, even though taken for the wrong reasons, keep quiet about it. Your judgement may be the better respected.
P56 / 2022-09-17 11:12
There are some who yearn for multiparty politics and rotating party governments. They should study Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines. Rotating party governments have led to more corruption and misgovernment. And a ‘freewheeling press’ has not cleaned up corruption, although according to American ‘democracy’ theories it is designed to do so. Furthermore frequent chop and change in governments and policies have hampered Taiwan’s and Thailand’s economic growth and increased unemployment and caused political instability.
P49 / 2022-09-17 10:50
The problem now is how to work the system of one man, one vote when we have to get quality leadership to the top. If we leave it to natural processes it will be a contest on television performances as in the West. And the best television performers and rally entertainers are not necessarily the best leaders who can deliver good government.
P47 / 2022-09-17 10:47
There are some flaws in the assumptions made for democracy. It is assumed that all men and women are equal or should be equal. Hence, one man, one vote. But is equality realistic? If it is not, to insist on equality must lead to regression. Let me put it to the test in some theoretical situations. If we had a world government for this small interdependent world, will one man, one vote lead to progress or regression? All can immediately see that the developed and educated peoples of the world will be swamped by the undeveloped and the uneducated, and that no progress will be possible.
P48 / 2022-09-17 10:44
Contrary to what American political commentators say, I do not believe that democracy necessarily leads to development. I believe that what a country needs to develop is discipline more than democracy. The exuberance of democracy leads to undisciplined and disorderly conditions which are inimical to development. The ultimate test of the value of a political system is whether it helps that society to establish conditions which improve the standard of living for the majority of its people plus enabling the maximum of personal freedoms compatible with the freedoms of others in society.
P47 / 2022-09-17 10:41
The weakness of democracy is that the assumption that all men are equal and capable of equal contribution to the common good is flawed.
P47 / 2022-09-17 10:39
In new countries, democracy has worked and produced results only when there is an honest and effective government, which means a people smart enough to elect such a government. Remember, elected governments are only as good as the people who choose them.
P47 / 2022-09-17 10:36
One man, one vote is a most difficult form of government. From time to time the results can be erratic. People are sometimes fickle. They get bored with stable, steady improvements in life, and in a reckless moment they vote for a change for change’s sake.
P46 / 2022-09-17 10:34
If you want to be popular, do not try to be popular all the time. Popular government does not mean that you do popular things all the time. We do not want to be unpopular or to do unpopular things. But when they are necessary, they will be done.
P42 / 2022-09-14 18:06
Life-long learning is a must for everyone in this knowledge economy with rapidly changing technology.
P35 / 2022-09-14 13:52
To understand the present and anticipate the future, one must know enough of the past, enough to have a sense of the history of a people. One must appreciate not merely what took place but more especially why it took place and in that particular way. This is true of individuals, as it is for nations. The personal experience of a person determines whether he likes or hates certain things, welcomes them or fears them when they recur. So it is with nations: it is the collective memory of a people, the composite learning from past events which led to successes or disasters that makes a people welcome or fear new events because they recognise parts in new events which have similarities with past experience.
P34 / 2022-09-14 13:49