Lee Kuan Yew

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Lee Kuan Yew

Missing image
Lee Kuan Yew

Order: 1st Prime Minister of Singapore
Term of Office: June 3, 1959November 26, 1990
Date of Birth: September 16, 1923
Place of Birth Singapore
Wife Kwa Geok Choo
Occupation Lawyer
Political Party: PAP
Deputy Prime Minister Toh Chin Chye (1959 - 1965)

Goh Keng Swee (1965 - 1985)
S Rajaratnam (2nd DPM) (1980 - 1985)
Goh Chok Tong (1985 - 1990)
Ong Teng Cheong (2nd DPM) (1985 - 1990)

Lee Kuan Yew (also spelt Lee Kwan-Yew) (born September 16 1923) (Chinese: 李光耀, Pinyin: Lǐ Guāng Yo) was the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore from 1959 to 1990. He has remained the most influential politician in Singapore since his retirement as Prime Minister. Under the administration of Singapore's second prime minister, Goh Chok Tong, he served as Senior Minister. He currently holds the newly-created post of Minister Mentor under his son Lee Hsien Loong, who became the nation's third prime minister on August 12 2004. He is also known informally as Harry Lee to his close friends and family, although this first name is never used in politics.


Early life

The eldest child of Lee Chin Koon and Chua Jim Neo, Lee Kuan Yew was born at 92 Kampong Java Road, a large and airy bungalow in Singapore. As a child Lee was strongly influenced by British culture, due in part to his grandfather, Lee Hoon Leong, who had given his sons an English education. This was evidenced by the fact that his grandfather gave him the name "Harry" in addition to his Chinese name (given by his father) Kuan Yew, as a sign of respect and admiration for the British.

Lee was educated at Telok Kurau Primary School, Raffles Institution, and Raffles College. His university education was delayed by World War II and the 19421945 Japanese occupation of Singapore. During the occupation, he operated a successful black market business selling a tapioca-based glue called Stikfas1. Having taken Chinese and Japanese lessons since 1942, he was able to work as a transcriber of Allied wire reports for the Japanese, as well as being the English-language editor on the Japanese Hodobu (報道部 — an information or propaganda department) from 1943 to 19442, though it has long been rumored that he was secretly passing intelligence to the British [1] (http://www.time.com/time/asia/asia/magazine/1999/990823/lee1.html).

After the war, he studied law at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He returned to Singapore in 1949 to work as a lawyer in Laycock and Ong, the legal practice of John Laycock, a pioneer of multiracialism who, together with A.P. Rajah and C.C. Tan, had founded Singapore's first multiracial club open to Asians.

Lee, together with his wife, Kwa Geok Choo, were married on September 30, 1950. They later went on to have two sons and one daughter.

Rise to leadership

On 21 November, 1954, Lee and a group of fellow English-educated, middle-class men, formed the socialist People's Action Party (PAP) to agitate for self-government for Singapore and an end to British colonial rule. An inaurgal conference was made at Victoria Memorial Hall, which was then packed with over 1,500 supporters and trade unionists.

In April 1955, Lee contested and won the election for the Tanjong Pagar constituency, and became an assemblyman. Lee resigned in 1957 as assemblyman in favour of accepting the challenge with David Marshall to contest the by-election.

On June 1, 1959, the self-government was formed following Lee's victory over the Labour Front party. Singapore achieved autonomy in all state matters except in defence and foreign affairs on June 3, 1959.

Prime Minister

Self-government adminstration

After the PAP won the 1959 in the national elections, forty-three of the fifty-one seats in the Legislative Assembly, Lee became the Prime Minister of the state of Singapore on 3 June 1959, taking over from chief minister Lim Yew Hock. Lee demanded the release of Lim Chin Siong and Devan Nair before he took office.

Lee subsequently opened the Self-governing State's Legistative Assemby on July 1959.

In December 1959, Lee replaced Sir William Goode with Yusuf bin Ishak as the Yang di-Pertuan Negara; bin Ishak became the president of Singapore in 1965.

Lee faced many problems after gaining self-rule for Singapore from the British, including education, housing, and unemployment. In response to the housing problem, Lee passed the Housing and Development Act of 1960, which replaced the existing Singapore Improvement Trust with the Housing and Development Board (HDB), who (in the same year) built the first HDB flats at Queenstown. Lee also inspected the passing out of the first batch of Work Brigade leaders in June 1960, which was formed by the government to assist problems in unemployment.

In 1962, Lee Kuan Yew, accompanied by Hon Sui Sen, chairman of the Economic Development Board, inspected Jurong to be developed under the industralisation programme.

Merger with Malaysia, then separation

Lee began to campaign for a merger with Malaysia to end British colonial rule, following Tunku's suggestion to form a federation which brings Malaya, Singapore, Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei, which he announced on 27 May, 1961 at the Foreign Correspondents Association of Southeast Asia.

Lee agreed to the idea after a meeting with Tunku Abdul Rahman on August 8, 1962. He used the results of a referendum held on September 1 1962, in which 70% of the votes were cast in support of his proposal, to demonstrate that the people supported his plan. During Operation Coldstore, Lee crushed the pro-communist factions who were strongly opposing the merger and who were allegedly involved in subversive activities.

On September 16 1963, Singapore became part of the Federation of Malaysia. However, the union was short-lived. The Malaysian Central Government, ruled by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), became worried by the inclusion of Singapores Chinese majority and the political challenge of the PAP in Malaysia. Lee openly opposed the bumiputra policy and used the Malaysian Solidarity Convention's famous cry of "Malaysian Malaysia!", a nation serving the Malaysian nationality, as opposed to the Malay race. PAP-UMNO relations were seriously strained. Some in UMNO also wanted Lee to be arrested.

Missing image
Lee Kuan Yew broke down emotionally during a televised speech on 9 August 1965

Race riots followed, such as that on Muhammad's birthday (21 July 1964), near Kallang Gasworks, in which twenty-three were killed and hundreds injured as Chinese and Malays attacked each other. Today, it is still disputed how it started, and theories include a bottle being thrown into a Muslim rally by a Chinese, while others argued that it was started by a Malay. More riots broke out in September 1964, as the rioters looted cars and shops, forcing both Tunku Abdul Rahman and Lee Kuan Yew to make public appearances in order to soothe the situation. The price of food skyrocketed during this period, due to the disruption in transport, which caused further hardship.

Unable to resolve the crisis, the Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku, Abdul Rahman, decided to expel Singapore from Malaysia, choosing to "sever all ties with a State Government that showed no measure of loyalty to its Central Government". Lee was adamant and tried to work out a compromise, but without success. He was later convinced by Goh Keng Swee that the secession was inevitable. Lee Kuan Yew signed a separation agreement on August 7 1965, which discussed Singapore's post-separation relations with Malaysia in order to continue cooperation in areas such as trade and mutual defence.

The failure of the merger was a heavy blow to Lee, who believed that it was crucial for Singapores survival. In a televised press conference, he broke down emotionally as he announced the separation to the people:

"For me, it is a moment of anguish. All my life, my whole adult life, I believed in merger and unity of the two territories. ... Now, I, Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister of Singapore, DO HEREBY PROCLAIM AND DECLARE on behalf on the people and the Government of Singapore that as from today, the ninth day of August in the year one thousand nine hundred and sixty-five, Singapore shall be forever a sovereign democratic and independent nation, founded upon the principles of liberty and justice and ever seeking the welfare and happiness of the people in a most and just equal society."

On that day, August 9 1965, the Malaysian Parliament passed the required resolution that would sever Singapore's ties to Malaysia as a state, and thus the Republic of Singapore was created. It had no natural resources, an inadequate water supply, and little indigenous defence capability. Lee now faced the formidable task of building this new nation.

Post-independence administration

Missing image
Lee Kuan Yew and his wife welcoming Deng Xiaoping to Singapore

In his biography, Lee Kuan Yew stated that he did not sleep well, and fell sick days after Singapore's independence, fearing that subsequent threats might come from Indonesia. As the British prime-minister at the time, Harold Wilson expressed concern upon learning of Lee's condition from the British High Commissioner, John Robb. In response to their concern, Lee replied:

"Do not worry about Singapore. My colleagues and I are sane, rational people even in our moments of anguish. We will weigh all possible consequences before we make any move on the political chessboard..."

In 1965, under the newly formed Internal Security Act, the government (in which Lee was involved) arrested at least 107 left-wing politicians and trade unionists in Operation Coldstore.

Under Lee's direction, Singapore joined the United Nations (UN) on 21 September 1965, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on 8 August 1967.

Lee made his first official visit to Indonesia in 25 May, 1973, after years of the Konfrontasi under Sukarno's regime. Relations between Singapore and Indonesia substantially improved as subsequent visits were made between Singapore and Indonesia.

However, there were some tensions in diplomatic relations in view of the fact that Indonesian-Singaporean business ventures consist of mainly ethnic Indonesian Chinese businessmen, rather than Indigenious Indonesians (pribumi).

Until recently, Lee has also maintained a personal policy against gambling, although sweepstakes such as "4D" and "Toto" were allowed. In his speech as Minister Mentor, despite a proposal from Stanley Ho to open a floating casino in Marina Bay, Lee angrily responded: "No, over my dead body!" He was also said to be against the proposal to have Formula One racing in Singapore.

As Singapore has never had a dominant culture to which immigrants could assimilate, nor a common language, together with efforts from the government and ruling party, Lee tried to create a common Singaporean identity in the 1970s and 1980s.

Lee attended the hearing of the Select Committee on the Legal Profession (Ammendment) Bill as a member in October 1986.

Lee and his government stressed the importance of maintaining religious tolerance and racial harmony, and they were ready to use the law to counter any threat that might incite ethnic and religious violence. For example, Lee warned against "insensitive evangelization", by which he referred to instances of Christian proselytising directed at Malays. In 1974, the government advised the Bible Society of Singapore to stop publishing religious materials in Malay. [2] (http://www.exploitz.com/Singapore-Religious-Change-cg.php)

Decisions & policies

Lee had three main concerns – national security, the economy, and social issues – during his post-independence administration.

The vulnerability of Singapore was deeply felt with threats from multiple sources including the communists, Indonesia (with its Confrontation stance), and UMNO extremists who wanted to force Singapore back into Malaysia. As Singapore gained admission to the United Nations, Lee quickly sought international recognition of Singapores independence. He declared a policy of neutrality and non-alignment, following Switzerlands model. At the same time, he assigned Goh Keng Swee with the task of building the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and requested help from other countries for advice, training and facilities.

With the announcement of having the intentions to pull out or cut down the troops from Singapore and Malaysia, In 1967, he and Goh introduced the National Service, a conscription program that developed a large reserve force that can be mobilized in a short notice. In January 1968, Lee bought some AMX-13 French-made tanks and a total of 72 refurbished tanks in 1972.

Later, Singapore was able to establish strong military relations with other nations of ASEAN, the Five-Powers Defense Agreement (FPDA) and other noncommunist states. This partially restored the security of the country following the withdrawal of British troops in 31 October 1971.

The separation from Malaysia signifies a permanent loss of a common market and an economic hinterland. The economic woes were further exacerbated by the British withdrawal that would eliminate over 50,000 jobs. Although the British government had back out from their earlier commitment to keep their bases till 1975, Lee decided not to strain the relationship with London. He convinced Harold Wilson to allow the substantial military infrastructure (including a dockyard) to be converted for civilian use, instead of destroying them in accordance with British law. With advices from Dr. Albert Winsemius, Lee set Singapore on the path of industrialization. In 1961, the Economic Development Board was established to attract foreign investment, offering attractive tax incentives and providing access to the highly skilled, disciplined and relatively low paid work force. At the same time, the government maintained tight control of the economy, regulating the allocation of land, labour and capital resources. Modern infrastructure of airport, port, roads, and communications networks were built. The Singapore Tourist Promotion Board was set up to promote tourism that would created many jobs in the service industry. In building the economy, Lee was assisted by his ablest ministers, especially Goh Keng Swee and Hon Sui Sen. They managed to reduce the unemployment rate from 14 percent in 1965 to 4.5 percent in 1973.

Lee designated English as the language of the workplace and the common language among the different races, while recognizing Malay, Chinese, and Tamil as the other three official languages. Most schools use English as the medium of instruction, although there are also lessons for the mother tongues.

Lee discouraged the usage of Chinese dialects by promoting Mandarin to be supplanted as the "Mother Tongue" of ethnic Chinese, in view of having a common language of communication within the Chinese community. In 1979, Lee officially launched the first Speak Mandarin Campaign. Lee also cancelled the broadcasting of all television programmes in dialects, with the exception of news and operas, for the beneficiary of the older audience. However, the policy worked at the expense of Chinese dialects; it was observed that most of the younger Chinese Singaporeans are no longer able to speak Chinese dialects fluently, thus they encountered some difficulty in communicating with their dialect-speaking grandparents.

In the 1970s, graduates of the Chinese-language Nanyang University were facing huge problem finding jobs because of their lack of command in the English language often required in the workforce, especially the public sector. Lee took the drastic measure to have Nanyang University absorbed by the English-language University of Singapore; the combined institution was renamed the National University of Singapore. This move greatly affected the Chinese-speaking professors who now have to teach in English. It was also opposed by some Chinese groups who had contributed significantly to the building of Nanyang University and therefore have strong emotional attachment to the school.

Like many Asian countries, Singapore was not immune to the disease of corruption. Lee was well aware how corruption had led to the downfall of the Nationalist Chinese government in mainland China. Fighting against the communists himself, he knew he had to clean house. Lee introduced legislation that give the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CIPB) greater power to conduct arrest, search, calling of witnesses, and investigation of bank accounts and income tax returns of suspected persons and their family. With Lees support, CPIB can investigate any officer or minister. Indeed, several ministers were later charged with corruption.

Lee believed that ministers should be well paid in order to maintain a clean and honest government. In 1994, he proposed to link the salaries of ministers, judges, and top civil servants to the salaries of top professionals in the private sector, arguing that this would help recruit and retain talents to serve in the public sector.

In 1983, Lee sparked the Great Marriage Debate when he encouraged Singapore men to choose women with high education as wives. He was concerned that a large number of graduate women were unmarried. Some sections of the population, including graduate women, were upset by his views. Nonetheless, a match-making agency Social Development Unit (SDU) was set up to promote socializing among men and women graduates. Lee also introduced incentives for graduate mothers to have third and fourth children, in a reversal of the over-successful Stop-at-Two family planning campaign in the 1960s and 1970s.

Relations with Malaysia

Abdul Razak

Lee's relationship with Abdul Razak proved to be fairly stable, involving little serious dispute from 1972 until Razak's death in January 1976.


Mahathir bin Mohamad

Lee's relationship with Mahathir bin Mohamad began in May 1965, when Mahathir was the M.P. for Kota Star Selatan in Kedah. Mahathir said that the PAP was:

"...pro-Chinese, communist-oriented and positively anti-Malay. .... In some police stations, Chinese is the official language, and statements are taken in Chinese. .... In industry, the PAP policy is to encourage Malays to become labourers only, but Malays were not given facilities to invest as well. ... It is, of course, necessary to emphasise that there are two types of Chinese — those who appreciate the need for all communities to be equally well-off and these are the MCA supporters to be found where Chinese have for generations lived and worked amidst the Malays and the other indigenous people, and the insular, selfish and arrogant type, of which Mr Lee is a good example. This latter type live in a purely Chinese environment where Malays only exist at syce level. ... They have never known Malay rule and could not bear the idea that the people that they have so long kept under their heels should now be in a position to rule them."

Lee looked forward to improving relationships with Mahathir upon the latter's promotion to Deputy Prime Minister. Knowing that Mahathir was in line to become the next Prime Minister of Malaysia, Lee invited Mahathir (through then-President of Singapore Devan Nair) to visit Singapore in 1978. This, and subsequent visits, improved both personal and diplomatic relationships between the two. Mahathir told Lee to cut off links with the Chinese leaders of the Democratic Action Party; in exchange, Mahathir undertook not to interfere in the affairs of the Malay Singaporeans.

In December 1981, Mahathir changed the time zone of the Malay Peninsula in order to create just one time zone for Malaysia, and Lee followed suit for economic and social reasons. Relations with Mahathir subsequently improved in 1982.

In January 1984 Mahathir imposed a RM100 levy on all goods vehicles leaving Malaysia and Singapore. However, when Musa Hitam's tried to discourage Mahathir's policy, the levy was doubled to discourage the use of Singapore's port, and a breakdown in relations with Malaysia was evident.

In a meeting at the Commonwealth Heads of Government in October 1987, both Lee and Mahathir worked to resolve the issues of two assult boats carrying four SAF personnel entering Sungei Melayu, a river that was within Malaysia's territoral waters, and ethnic issues concerning the Singapore's SAF. The meeting yielded results satisfactory to both leaders.

Both Lee Kuan Yew and the then-Malaysian premier Mahathir reached a major agreement in Kuala Lumpur to build the Linggui dam on the Johor river in June 1988.

Lee approached Mahathir in 1989, when he intended to move the railway customs from Tanjong Pagar in Southern Singapore to Woodlands at the end of the Causeway, in part because of an increasing number of cases of drug smuggling into Singapore. This caused resentements in Malaysia, as some of the land would revert to Singapore when the railway tracks were no longer used. In response, Mahathir designated Daim Zainuddin, then Minister of Finance of Malaysia, to settle the terms.

After months of negotiation, an agreement was reached involving the joint development of three main parcels of land in Tanjong Pagar, Kranji, and Woodlands. Malaysia had a sixty percent share, while Singapore had a forty percent share. The Points of Agreement (POA) was signed on 27 November 1990, a day before Lee stepped down as Prime Minister.

Legacy and controversies

During the three decades in which Lee was in office, Singapore grew from a status of being a developing country, a euphemism for a poor economic status, to one of the most developed nations in the world, despite its small population and lack of natural resources. Lee has often stated that Singapore's only natural resources are its people and their strong work ethic. He is widely respected by many Singaporeans, particularly the older generation, who remember his inspiring leadership during independence and the separation from Malaysia. He has often been credited as the architect of Singapore's present prosperity (although a significant role was also played by his Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Goh Keng Swee, who was in charge of the economy.)

On the other hand, some Singaporeans have criticized Lee as elitist and even an autocrat. Lee was once quoted as saying he preferred to be feared than loved. He has implemented some harsh measures to allegedly suppress political opposition, such as outlawing public demonstrations without an explicit police permit, the restriction of the press publication, the use of defamation lawsuits (which, according to his worst critics, have little merit) to bankrupt political opponents.

On one occasion, after a court ruling in favour of Lee was overturned by the Privy Council, the right of appeal to the Council was abolished. He had previously won such cases. During his premiership from 1965 to 1990, he incarcerated Chia Thye Poh, a former MP of an opposition party, the Barisan Socialis, for 22 years under the Internal Security Act for being an alleged member of the Malayan Communist Party, only to be released in 19893. He abolished the "Trial by Jury" in the courts, hence giving full authority to the judges in their judicial decisions.

Senior Minister

After leading the PAP in seven elections, Lee stepped down on 26 November, 1990, and handed over the prime minister position to Goh Chok Tong through handing over his letter of resignation to Wee Kim Wee at 2.40pm. With his resignation as Prime Minister, the process of succession was completed.

This leadership transition was meticulously planned and executed. The recruitment and grooming for the second generation leaders took place as early as 1970s. In the 1980s, Goh and the younger leaders started to assume important cabinet positions. Prior to the official transition, all other first generation leaders (the "old guards") were retired, including Goh Keng Swee, S. Rajaratnam and Toh Chin Chye. Being so thoroughly planned, the transition was quite a non-event in Singapore, even though it was the first leadership transition since independence. By stepping down when he was still mentally alert and in good health, Lee set himself apart from other strong contemporary Asian leaders such as Mao Zedong, Suharto, Ferdinand Marcos, and Ne Win, who had stayed in power for too long and left their countries in disarray.

As Goh Chok Tong became the head of government, Lee remained in the cabinet with a non-executive position of Senior Minister and played a role he described as advisory. In public, Lee would refer to Goh as "my Prime Minister", in deference to Goh's authority. Nonetheless, Lee's opinions still carry weight with the public and in the cabinet. He still wields enormous influence in the country and is ready to use it when necessary. As he said in a 1988 National Day rally:

"Even from my sick bed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel something is going wrong, I will get up."

Lee subsequently stepped down as the Secretary-General of the PAP and was succeeded by Goh Chok Tong in November 1992.

Lee refrained from official dealings with all ASEAN governments, including Malaysia, so as not to cross lines with his successor, Goh Chok Tong. He played a major role, however, with regard to the economy, such as with the agreement of the transfer of public-adminstration software for the development and management of Suzhou's Industrial Park with then Vice-president Li Lanqing on February 26 1994.

In January 1997, Lee swore in an affidavit that Johor Bahru was "notorious for shootings, muggings and car-jackings", causing a furore in Malaysia when the case made its way into the press via a defendant who had absconded to Johor. Lee made an unreserved apology, and subsequently removed his statements from official records.

Minister Mentor

On 12 August, 2004, Goh Chok Tong stepped down in favour of Lee's son, Lee Hsien Loong. Goh became the Senior Minister and Lee Kuan Yew assumed a new cabinet position of Minister Mentor.

As Minister Mentor, Lee always took the opportunity to meet foreign leaders and ministers visiting Singapore, especially those who intended to meet his son.

Regarding gambling laws, Lee stated that he was "emotionally and intellectually" against gambling. However, he made no opposition to his son's proposal to allow casinos in the country, stating: "Having a casino is something the new leaders will have to decide".

Recently, Lee has expressed his concern about the declining proficiency of Mandarin among younger Singaporeans. In one of his parliamentary speeches, He said: "Singaporeans must learn to juggle English and Mandarin". Subsequently, he launched a television program, 华语!, in January 2005, in an attempt to attract young viewers to learn Mandarin.

In June 2005, Lee published a book, Keeping My Mandarin Alive, documenting his decades of effort to master Mandarin — a language which he said he had to re-learn due to disuse:

"...because I don't use it so much, therefore it gets disused and there's language loss. Then I have to revive it. It's a terrible problem because learning it in adult life, it hasn't got the same roots in your memory."

In an interview with CCTV on June 12, 2005, Lee stressed the need to have a continuous renewal of talent in the country's leadership, saying:

"In a different world we need to find a niche for ourselves, little corners where in spite of our small size we can perform a role which will be useful to the world. To do that, you will need people at the top, decision-makers who have got foresight, good minds, who are open to ideas, who can seize opportunities like we did. ... My job really was to find my successors. I found them, they are there; their job is to find their successors. So there must be this continuous renewal of talented, dedicated, honest, able people who will do things not for themselves but for their people and for their country. If they can do that, they will carry on for another one generation and so it goes on. The moment that breaks, it's gone."

Lee also said that relations between China and Taiwan have become more stable ever since Beijing passed its controversial anti-secession law aimed at Taipei.


Several members of Lee's family hold prominent positions in Singaporean society. Lee's wife Kwa Geok Choo used to be a partner of the prominent legal firm Lee & Lee. His younger brothers, Dennis, Freddy and Suan Yew were partners of Lee & Lee. He also has a younger sister, Monica. Lee's father, Lee Chin Koon, died on October 12 1997, at the age of 94, and his mother died in August 1980 at the age of 77. His brother, Dennis, died of cancer on November 14 2003.

His sons and daughter hold government and government-linked posts. His son Lee Hsien Loong is currently the Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Singapore, as well as Vice-Chairman of the Government Investment Company (GIC) of Singapore (Lee is the Chairman.) His daughter Lee Wei Ling runs the National Neurological Institute, and remains unmarried.

Lee's other son, Lee Hsien Yang manages the recently privatised telecommunications company SingTel. His daughter-in-law Ho Ching runs Temasek Holdings, a prominent government owned holding company with controlling stakes in a variety of companies. However, Lee has consistently denied charges of nepotism, arguing that his family members' privileged positions are based on personal merit. In 2004, the Economist magazine apologised to the Lee family for making such accusations of nepotism in its August 14th-20th 2004 edition.

In his biography, Lee stated that he was a fourth-generation Chinese Singaporean, contributing to the fact that his Hakka great-grandfather, Lee Bok Boon (born 1846), emigrated from the Dapu county of Guangdong province to the Straits Settlements in the 1862.

Values and beliefs

Lee was one of the leading advocates of Asian values, though his interpretation of Asian values is open to debate. Using his support of Asian values, Confucian, and to a lesser extent, Buddhist virtues were widely promoted by Lee in the 1980s. This was evidenced in his visits to Chinese temples.

In an interview with the Singapore Straits Times, Lee said that he is an agnostic.


Lee Kuan Yew has written a two-volume set of memoirs: The Singapore Story (ISBN 0130208035), which covers his view of Singapore's history until its separation from Malaysia in 1965, and From Third World to First: The Singapore Story (ISBN 0060197764), which gives his account of Singapore's subsequent transformation into a prosperous first-world nation.


External links



he:לי קואן יו id:Lee Kuan Yew ms:Lee Kuan Yew minnan:Lí Kong-iāu ja:リー・クアンユー zh-cn:李光耀


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