Book Review: LKY The Big Ideas (Part 2)

post continues from 
previous post (Part 1)…
extracted from the book, below article depicts summary of Lee Kuan Yew’s
philosophy expressed in his own words.
be Correct
am not interested in being politically correct. I am interested in being
firmly for what you believed
If you want to be kind to your people, then you have got to be firm. And at
times, stern to those who have a duty to perform to see that the duty is
and Determination
I decide that something is worth doing, then I’ll put my heart and soul to it.
I’ll give everything I’ve got to make it succeed. So I would put my strength,
determination and willingness to see my objective to its conclusion.”
do not classify myself as a statesman. I put myself down as a determined,
consistent and persistent. I set out to do something. I keep on chasing until
it succeeds. That is all… “
of Action – Get things done
am not great on philosophy and theories. I am interested in them, but life is
not guided by philosophy or theories. I get things done!”

the Problems
things go wrong, do not sweep aside. Confront the problems, get to the root of
difficulties and wrestle with them resolutely. Go for long term success and do
not be deterred by criticism.”
with Knowledgeable People
must not overlook the importance of discussions with knowledgeable people. I
would say that is much more productive than absorbing or running through masses
of documents. Because in a short exchange, you can abstract from someone who
has immense knowledge and experience, the essences of what he had gained.”
has his way with words and put things succinctly and with the right nuance.
Clinton first meeting with LKY in 2000 during Michael Fay incident. Mr. Clinton
said “why have I not met this man before?”
Courageous – 3 Examples

Bribe 1961- Display courage to fight opponents
1961, CIA tried to bribe an officer at special branch. PAP laid trap and caught
CIA officer red handed. Then the CIA officer tried to bribe Lee to cover up,
offering US$1 million to PAP. LKY reveal the letter written by American
Secretary of State Dean Rusk apologizing to him and expose the USA government who
denied the incident.
said “remember all the time that we are not dealing with an enemy but the
bloody stupidity of a friend”
China Official Visit 1976 –  We respect
people but we are not subordinate of them
1976, on first official visit to China, China Prime Minister Hua Guofeng
presented him with a copy of Neville maxwell India’s China war, a pro-China
history of sino-Indian war in 1962. Lee handed book and said “‘Mr. Prime
minister, this is your version of the war. There is another version, the Indian
version. And in any case I am from Southeast Asia – it’s nothing to do with
Fay 1995/6 – Stick to Principle especially Rule of Law
Michael Fay incident of vandalism. Singapore proceeded with the canning of Mr.
Fay despite USA government Bill Clinton pleaded not to. USA is very angry and
froze several aspects of bilateral ties. However the gains were much bigger as
Singapore firm stand against the strong American pressure. This incident also
helped to expand Singapore geopolitical space in the region.
Vladimir Lenin’d famous maxim “probe
with a bayonet: if you meet steel, stop. If you meet mush, then push.”

Rolf’s View
Again, I emphasize that this article is by
no means trying to take sides politically. The main purpose is to reflect the
important factors contributing to what we are today, as a nation. Most
importantly is to learn from one of our country’s most prominent figures.

a deep impression to me are the following points, which I felt are als
o applicable in our life, career/business or investment journey. 

  • Before you start anything, be honest, have
    integrity and non-corruptible
  • If something is worth doing and what you firmly
    believe, chase till the end.
  • Size does not determine our destiny.
  • Stay relevant always. Adapt and Change if
  • Be courageous. Respect is always mutual, despite
    your size disadvantage.
  • Taking calculated risk is necessary at times, as long as you plan thoroughly.
  • Learn from the best including their errors. 
  • Be attentive to detail but keeping big picture
    in mind.
  • Theories and Philosophy are important, but
    please also “Take Action.”
  • Confront problems, not escape from it.
  • Develop and maintain external relationship
  • Think ahead and think long term


Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *