Lee Kuan Yew

From Third World to First: Singapore and the Asian Economic Boom


I had a great time reading what this great -and un-known to the West- leader wrote in this sort of memoirs book, and it was comprehensive too. It's not so much a memoirs book as his recollections of all things Singapore related during his long term in office. First of all, the book is easy and fun to read. That is the thing that most favorably surprised me, coming from a politician. It is sincere in tone, not ridden with sophistry or abstractions, but filled with common sense and expressed in a happy and relieved sense that he has done his bit, has come a long way, as well as little Singapore.

We have no other voice to contrast his sayings to, obviously, this is his book. But we do have Singapore to look to, and see how far this new little country, ex-British colony in the Far East, has come. Democracy, rule of law, free markets, an anti-communist watchful eye, the Confucian values of its people restored and fostered, the English language mandatory in schools and administration (as well as Mandarin and Malay), and a very careful handling of its diverse ethnic population sentiments: avoiding nationalisms and the intrusisms offoreign nations by means of religious, ideological or nationalistic infections. Taking care that its own multi-ethnic populations do not fight each other and grow instead a sense of community and cre for each wonder, seemed to be the number one achievement. An achievemente that many other nations who have not had to go through this take for granted. And that is no little achievement when we consider everything else, economic and cultural.

The story (the success of Singapore, rather) is told by topics, first national and then international-related. Finally, there is a short chapter on his family and an epilogue. But the joy and sense of the author in having accomplished what he is so obviously proud to believe is contagious all through the book: a real joy.

I enjoyed all parts, and there was no repeating issues already mentioned. The careful author mentiones them only in a different light, on account of another story-related. One big favor Mr. Lee Kuan Yew did to us readers here is sharing his honest opinions of his collaborators in government and especially on the contemporary world leaders. Criticism that is constructive and witty but. It comes clear throughout the book that the man is a highly intelligent and afable fellow. I thougt at the beginning he would be a candid and good-natured person when I read.

The line editor at HarperCollins, New York, has meticulously Americanized my English.She has also made me politically gender correct. Wherever I wrote man", he has become "person" or "people". I thank her for making me appear less of a male chauvinist to Americans.

Was that a candid acknowledgment of his supposed machismo or a I-can't-care-less attitude? One of the many interesting and illuminatating issues that the book brings out is the relation and differences between peoples of the West (Western Europe and North America) and the East. There's a divide of cultures that the author points out. It's a contention that both peoples have to end, and better end sooner than later, because the benefits of their good relationships and common understanding are immense, the differences only a matter of culture and beliefs. The issue is very much worth reading and thinking about: I came to agree with the author.

Another thing: You can read the book and learn a lot about history, geo-politics and all kinds of government related issues, from economy to Confucianism, sociology. The history of Singapore is like that of an Asian New York, with its varied peoples uniting to become one new country, surrounded by giant and manacing Asian countries who try to suck you in and have you play for them. Singapore's greates feat was, simply stated, just to make it. To live through the perils of independence amid these big countries and not falling into the paws of communist imperialism or becoming a puppet of Russia, the US, India, China, Japan, Malasia, or Indonesia. They made it by themselves: what an achievement.

A superb book to have a look, an in-depth look, at Asia and Southeast Asia in particular; to know what's been going on with the big politics of the late 20th century. Singapore presents a great study case, because it could not avoid relating with the big leading national characters of the 20th century, and thus it presents to us the unique opportunity of seeing what was going on on so many levels of international business and politics: from the foot on the street, races, cultures and sentiments of the people to the Cold War and the post-Communist world. And if not for the wealth of news here, then read it because it's just fun to read.
19 November 2014 · JoséMaría BlancoWhite

"Es cierto que el Romano es libre de hacer todo lo que quiera. Pero también lo es que tiene que soportar las consecuencias de sus actos. No importa que se haya equivocado, que le hayan engañado o incluso forzado: un hombre no se deja forzar: etiamsi coactus, attamen voluit. Es libre; pero si distraído, imprudente o atontado, prometió pagar una determinada cantidad y no puede pagarla, se convierte en esclavo de su acreedor."

Rudolph von Ihering

“Slavery, protection, and monopoly find defenders, not only in those who profit by them, but in those who suffer by them.”

Frédéric Bastiat

On the true nature of the Castro Revolution in Cuba: "The revolution was a cover for committing atrocities without the slightest vestige of guilt ... we were young and irresponsible. We were pirates. We formed our own caste ... we belonged to and believed in nothing -no religion, no flag, no morality or principle. It's fortunate we didn't win, because if we had, we would have drowned the continent in barbarism."

Jorge Masetti -In the Pirate's Den

La anarquía, es decir, la ausencia de fuerza estatal, no es una forma de Estado, y cualquiera que acabe con ella por el medio que sea, el usurpador nacional o el conquistador extranjero, rinde un servicio a la sociedad. Es un salvador, un bienhechor, porque la forma más insoportable de Estado es la ausencia de Estado.

Rudolph von Ihering

"El envidioso está afligido no solo por sus males propios, sino por los bienes de los demás."  -Hipias

[la norma de conducta de los progres] "No hacer nada que alguien pueda envidiarme." -Hipasos




Seguimos a la espera de la reedición de este importante libro del gran escritor español José Pla

Historia de la Segunda República.


También a la espera de este importante libro del genial Rafael Abella.

Finales de enero, 1939, Barcelona cambia de piel


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