The making of: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going
Think Lee Kuan Yew and you’ll immediately think of Singapore. In 1965, MM Lee, then Singapore’s prime minister, vowed that Singapore would survive. It seems the more successful Singapore gets, the bigger the legend of Lee Kuan Yew grows.
In 2008, a team of Straits Times journalists were given unprecedented access to MM Lee and challenged him with questions garnered from the public.
What is MM Lee like as a father? Does he believe in fengshui? What was the darkest period in his life? MM Lee gamely answered all personal questions the team put to him.
MM Lee: A mythological figure?
By June Cheong
IN 1965, MM Lee Kuan Yew, then Singapore’s first prime minister, vowed that Singapore would survive as a country. More than 45 years later, he has fulfilled his promise. Singapore is a thriving metropolitan city.
As Singapore’s success grows, so too does Lee Kuan Yew’s legend. Much of the younger generation who never knew Lee Kuan Yew as Prime Minister, liken the now Minister Mentor to a mythological figure – an image that MM Lee wishes to dispel.
RazorTV traces the beginnings of MM Lee’s political career and how his policies have shaped Singapore.
MM Lee’s hard truths for Singapore (The making of: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going-Part 2 )
IT IS well-known that Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew is a gifted orator. What happens then when you pit seven journalists and editors against one of the most esteemed minds in Singapore?
As MM Lee put it: ‘You’re gonna cross swords with me, then you must be willing to get stabbed.’
Between 2008 and 2009, a team of seven Straits Times journalists met and challenged MM Lee with questions gathered from the public, fans and critics alike.
Deputy Political Editor at The Straits Times, Lydia Lim, said: ‘He’s particularly combative when he speaks about what I think he considers fundamental issues. When he thinks you don’t get it, then he becomes quite aggressive. During the first few interviews, there were moments when it was a bit rough. I was a bit disheartened because I thought ‘Oh no, this is not going very well. It’s not very conversational.’ I think thereafter it got better. We also got more used to it.’
The interviews spanning more than 32 hours were eventually turned into a book, Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going.
Throughout the 16 interviews, MM Lee was combative, forthcoming, jovial and laconic. Watch the exchange between MM Lee and the ST writers on RazorTV.
MM Lee: Singaporeans should grow up (The making of: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going-Part 3 )
MM Lee: Singaporeans should grow up
By June Cheong
IF SINGAPORE does not grow as fast as it can sustain growth, then the government – and its people – are being stupid, according to Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.
This statement was among the hard truths MM Lee dished out throughout the 16 interviews with The Straits Times team in 2008 and 2009.
One thing which struck the writers of the book was MM Lee’s consistency in his views.
Han Fook Kwang, editor of The Straits Times, said: ‘One thing about MM is that he’s a very consistent person. His views are also very consistent…this doesn’t mean his thinking hasn’t changed. He does take in new developments.’
Watch what MM Lee has to say on Singapore’s economy and other topics on RazorTV.
MM Lee’s private life and thoughts (The making of: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going-Part 4)
PRAGMATISM is not just a tenet Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew holds dear in his public life. He also runs his private affairs in a practical, fact-based manner.
Asked if he believes in fengshui, MM Lee laughed and said it was ‘utter rubbish’ that people think he does.
Many Singaporeans The Straits Times team spoke to were curious about MM Lee’s private life and he gamely answered all personal questions in 32 hours of interviews with ST journalists between 2008 and 2009.
Here are MM Lee’s private thoughts on issues like homosexuality and love.