Financial Times most read letter: the Lee’s banana republic?

The real Lee Kuan Yew

In a letter, the most read Friday 23rd in the Financial Times, one Frankie Leung from Los Angeles, CA, USA said the Lee family’s feud could not happen in Singapore as it sounded like a ‘banana republic’ saga.

“When the story broke that the prime minister’s younger brother and his wife had to flee the country to avoid political persecution, we thought it could only happen in a banana republic and not the Republic of Singapore,” the letter said.

He also wrote that When the Old Man (as Singapore’s late premier Lee Kuan Yew was fondly called) talked so eloquently about Asian values and propounded his interpretation of a brand of Confucianism, I had to bite my lip to stop laughing.

“No westerners and few Asians could possibly comprehend” what Lee said about his brand of Confucianism.

But, he said Lee’s version of pseudo-Confucianism had one cardinal tenet: a nation is an extension of one’s family (“Family feud puts focus on politics of dynasties”, June 17).

Hence a ruler has to discipline his children well so that they will set an example for the whole nation.

Bringing up children properly is a micro- demonstration of governing a nation well.

Hence children of a ruler have to avoid all scandals or appearances of improper behaviour. By and large, the Lee family live up to standards or expectations.

Hong Kong and Malaysia

Two peoples who are laughing the most at this recent family feud are the Hongkongers and the Malaysians, said the writer.

Hong Kong and Singapore have always been compared as a tale of two cities, while Singaporeans like to think their way of governance ought to put its neighbour Malaysia to shame.

The Lee family saga came to us as a big surprise.

We thought there was more to Mr Lee’s Asian values than not allowing citizens to chew gum or making it illegal not to flush the toilet properly!


  1. ”这是人家家事,关你屁事!” Remember how when 2 countries argue over “sand & rocks” in SCS and Singapore 插手. People only wants to talk, Singapore only talk cock, add fuel to fire, and help US prepare weapons for a fight! You call this helping your neighbors? Now people solve problem themselves, Singapore , I suggest you solve 38 Oxley issue, MRT breakdowns issue, water price hike; solve your own internal problems first lah.

  2. A fact…LHY and his wife did not flee Singapore for fear of being prosecuted by the Government…LHY and wife left Singapore because she has a legal business in Hong Kong…Pathetic twist.

  3. We became the sick man of Asean, taking over from Pinoy land. Now people in the region are having a good laugh at us especially the world famous LKY who poked his nose n ridicule other societies while he was alive.

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