Best 102 of Lee Kuan Yew quotes - MyQuotes

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Lee Kuan Yew
By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

But we either believe in democracy or we don't. If we do, then, we must say categorically, without qualification, that no restraint from the any democratic processes, other than by the ordinary law of the land, should be allowed. If you believe in democracy, you must believe in it unconditionally. If you believe that men should be free, then, they should have the right of free association, of free speech, of free publication. Then, no law should permit those democratic processes to be set at nought.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

We have over a hundred political detainees, men against whom we are unable to prove anything in a court of law. Nearly 50 of them are men who gave us a great deal of anxiety during the years of Confrontation because they were Malay extremists. Your life and this dinner would not be what it is if my colleagues and I had decided to play it according to the rules of the game.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

I think in Singapore, we stand a chance of making the one-man-one-vote system work. With amendments as we have done, you know, like GRCs.. We need to make it work. And I believe with pragmatic adjustments, given these favourable conditions, we can have more open debate.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

I am ... a realist. The magnitude of what one terms license or civil liberties or personal freedom has got to be adjusted to the circumstances.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

I ignore polling as a method of government. I think that shows a certain weakness of mind - an inability to chart a course whichever way the wind blows, whichever way the media encourages the people to go, you follow. If you can't force or are unwilling to force your people to follow you, with or without threats, you are not a leader.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

What I fear is complacency. When things always become better, people tend to want more for less work.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

I knew that my niece was working nearby with some bank, so my wife rang up the mother and the mother called back to say that shes just called up to say she was alright.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

The ideas of individual supremacy and the right of free expression, when carried to excess, have not worked. They have made it difficult to keep America society cohesive. Asia can see it is not working.. In America itself, there is widespread crime and violence, old people feel forgotten, families are falling apart. And the media attacks the integrity and character of your leaders with impunity, drags down all those in authority and blames everyone but itself.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

Start with putting three of your friends to jail. You definitely know what for, and people will believe you

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

At the end of the day, what have I got? A successful Singapore. What have I given up? My life.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

It is not the practice, now will I allow subversives to get away by insisting that I’ve got to prove everything against them in a court of law or [produce] evidence that will stand up to the strict rules of evidence of a court of law.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

I am often accused of interfering in the private lives of citizens. Yes, if I did not, had I not done that, we wouldn't be here today.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

Any time, every time, you can damn the Prime Minister and so long as it is not a lie and a criminal lie, nothing happens to you.  You can say a lot of things.  You can write books about him, damning him.  So long as it is not a libel, go ahead.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

You need, besides determination, all the other attributes that will push a project along. You must have application, you must be prepared to work hard, you must be prepared to get people to work with you.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

If you deprive yourself of outsourcing and your competitors do not, you're putting yourself out of business.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

If Singapore is a nanny state, then I am proud to have fostered one.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

For reasons of sentiment, I would like part of my ashes to be mixed up with Mama's, and both her ashes and mine put side by side in the columbarium. We were joined in life and I would like our ashes to be joined after this life.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

We decide what is right. Never mind what the people think.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

You marry a non-graduate, then you are going to worry if your son or daughter is going to make it to the university.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

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.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

Usually I read biographies of interesting people. I am not attracted to novels - make-believe, or recreations of what people think life should be.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

As you solve one set of problems, new ones appear. That is part of the nature of life.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

I started off believing all men were equal. I now know that's the most unlikely thing ever to have been... But by observation, reading, watching, arguing, asking, that is the conclusion I've come to.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

The task of the leaders must be to provide or create for them a strong framework within which they can learn, work hard, be productive and be rewarded accordingly. And this is not easy to achieve.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

India is scared of the competition... because Chinese goods will go into India and compete.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

I am often accused of interfering in the private lives of citizens. Yes, if I did not, had I not done that, we wouldn't be here today. And I say without the slightest remorse, that we wouldn't be here, we would not have made economic progress, if we had not intervened on very personal matters - who your neighbour is, how you live, the noise you make, how you spit, or what language you use. We decide what is right. Never mind what the people think.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

It is essential to rear a generation at the very top of society that has all the qualities needed to lead and give the people the inspiration and the drive to make it succeed. In short, the elite.. Every society tries to produce this type. The British have special schools for them: the gifted and talented are sent to Eton and Harrow.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

If I were in authority in Singapore indefinitely without having to ask those who are governed whether they like what is being done, then I would not have the slightest doubt that I could govern much more effectively in their interests.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

I’m very determined. If I decide that something is worth doing, then I’ll put my heart and soul to it. The whole ground can be against me, but if I know it is right, I’ll do it.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

You’re talking about Rwanda or Bangladesh, or Cambodia, or the Philippines. They’ve got democracy, according to Freedom House. But have you got a civilised life to lead? People want economic development first and foremost. The leaders may talk something else. You take a poll of any people. What is it they want? The right to write an editorial as you like? They want homes, medicine, jobs, schools.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

If you can't think because you can't chew, try a banana.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

The Bell curve is a fact of life. The blacks on average score 85 per cent on IQ and it is accurate, nothing to do with culture. The whites score on average 100. Asians score more. The Bell curve authors put it at least 10 points higher. These are realities that, if you do not accept, will lead to frustration because you will be spending money on wrong assumptions and the results cannot follow.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

A leader without the vision, to strive to improve things, is no good. Then you will just stay put, you won't progress.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

I am not given to making sense out of life - or coming up with some grand narrative on it - other than to measure it by what you think you want to do in life. As for me, I have done what I had wanted to, to the best of my ability. I am satisfied.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

The human being is an unequal creature. That is a fact. And we start off with the proposition. All the great religions, all the great movements, all the great political ideology, say let us make the human being as equal as possible. In fact, he is not equal, never will be.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

Whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him. Or give it up. This is not a game of cards.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

What are our priorities? First, the welfare, the survival of the people. Then, democratic norms and processes which from time to time we have to suspend.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

They say people can think for themselves? Do you honestly believe that the chap who can’t pass primary six knows the consequence of his choice when he answers a question viscerally, on language, culture and religion? But we knew the consequences. We would starve, we would have race riots. We would disintegrate.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

My colleagues and I are of that generation of young men who went through the Second World War and the Japanese Occupation and emerged determined that no one–neither Japanese nor British–had the right to push and kick us around.  We determined that we could govern ourselves and bring up our children in a country where we can be proud to be self-respecting people.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

To straddle the middle ground and win elections, we have to be in charge of the political agenda. This can only be done by not being beaten in the argument with our critics. They complain that I come down too hard on their arguments. But wrong ideas have to be challenged before they influence public opinion and make for problems. Those who try to be clever at the expense of the government should not complain if my replies are as sharp as their criticisms.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

There is nothing to prevent you from pushing your propaganda, to push your programme out to the students or with the public at large…and if you can carry the ground, if you are right, you win. That’s democracy.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

Rest on laurels? I wish I could do that. No, you rest when you're dead

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

I can only express the hope that faith in the judicial system will never be diminished, and I am sure it will not, so long as we allow a review of the judicial processes that takes place here in some other tribunal where obviously undue influence cannot be brought to bear. As long as governments are wise enough to leave alone the rights of appeal to some superior body outside Singapore, then there must be a higher degree of confidence in the integrity of our judicial process. This is most important.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

Even from my sickbed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel that something is going wrong, I will get up. Those who believe that after I have left the government as prime minister, I will go into a permanent retirement, really should have their heads examined.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

I wish I can meet my wife in the hereafter, but I don't think I will. I just cease to exist just as she has ceased to exist.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

You know, the cure for all this talk is really a good dose of incompetent government. You get that alternative and you'll never put Singapore together again: Humpty Dumpty cannot be put together again... my asset values will disappear, my apartments will be worth a fraction of what they were, my ministers' jobs will be in peril, their security will be at risk and their women will become maids in other people's countries, foreign workers.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

It’s irrelevant to me what young 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, right? So there will be a lot of revisionism. As people revised Stalin, Brezhnev and one day now Yeltsin, and later on Putin. I’ve lived long enough to know that you may be idealised in life and reviled after you’re dead.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

Three women were brought to the Singapore General Hospital, each in the same condition and needing a blood transfusion. The first, a Southeast Asian was given the transfusion but died a few hours later. The second, a South Asian was also given a transfusion but died a few days later. The third, an East Asian, was given a transfusion and survived. That is the X factor in development.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

If you can't force or are unwilling to force your people to follow you, with or without threats, you are not a leader.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Lee Kuan Yew

I started off believing all men were equal. I now know that's the most unlikely thing ever to have been, because millions of years have passed over evolution, people have scattered across the face of this earth, been isolated from each other, developed independently, had different intermixtures between races, peoples, climates, soils... I didn't start off with that knowledge. But by observation, reading, watching, arguing, asking, that is the conclusion I've come to.