Q: “Let me ask a question about the outside world a little bit. Singapore is a great success story even though people criticize this and that. When you look back, you can be proud of what you’ve done and I assume you are. Are there things that you regret, things that you wished you could achieve that you couldn’t?”
Mr Lee: “Well, first I regret having been turfed out of Malaysia. I think if the Tunku had kept us together, what we did in Singapore, had Malaysia accepted a multiracial base for their society, much of what we’ve achieved in Singapore would be achieved in Malaysia. But not as much because it’s a much broader base. We would have improved inter-racial relations and an improved holistic situation. Now we have a very polarized Malaysia, Malays, Chinese and Indians in separate schools, living separate lives and not really getting on with one another. You read them. That’s bad for us as close neighbours.”
Q: “So at that time, you found yourself with Singapore and you have transformed it. And my question would be how do you assess your own satisfaction with what you’ve achieved? What didn’t work?”
Mr Lee: “Well, the greatest satisfaction I had was my colleagues and I, were of that generation who were turfed out of Malaysia suffered two years under a racial policy decided that we will go the other way. We will not as a majority squeeze the minority because once we’re by ourselves, the Chinese become the majority. We made quite sure whatever your race, language or religion, you are an equal citizen and we’ll drum that into the people and I think our Chinese understand and today we have an integrated society. Our Malays are English-educated, they’re no longer like the Malays in Malaysia and you can see there are some still wearing headscarves but very modern looking.”
Q: “That doesn’t sound like a regret to me.”
Mr Lee: “No, no, but the regret is there’s such a narrow base to build this enormous edifice, so I’ve got to tell the next generation, please do not take for granted what’s been built. If you forget that this is a small island which we are built upon and reach a 100 storeys high tower block and may go up to 150 if you are wise. But if you believe that it’s permanent, it will come tumbling down and you will never get a second chance.”
Q: “I wonder if that is a concern of yours about the next generation. I saw your discussion with a group of young people before the last election and they were saying what they want is a lot of these values from the West, an open political marketplace and even playing field in all of these things and you said well, if that’s the way you feel, I’m very sad.”
Mr Lee: “Because you play it that way, if you have dissension, if you chose the easy way to Muslim votes and switch to racial politics, this society is finished. The easiest way to get majority vote is vote for me, we’re Chinese, they’re Indians, they’re Malays. Our society will be ripped apart. If you do not have a cohesive society, you cannot make progress.”
Q: “But is that a concern that the younger generation doesn’t realize as much as it should?”
Mr Lee: “I believe they have come to believe that this is a natural state of affairs, and they can take liberties with it. They think you can put it on auto-pilot. I know that is never so. We have crafted a set of very intricate rules, no housing blocks shall have more than a percentage of so many Chinese, so many percent Malays, Indians. All are thoroughly mixed. Willy-nilly, your neighbours are Indians, Malays, you go to the same shopping malls, you go to the same schools, the same playing fields, you go up and down the same lifts. We cannot allow segregation.”
Q: “There are people who think that Singapore may lighten up a little bit when you go, that the rules will become a little looser and if that happens, that might be something that’s a concern to you.”
Mr Lee: “No, you can go looser where it’s not race, language and religion because those are deeply gut issues and it will surface the moment you start playing on them. It’s inevitable, but on other areas, policies, right or wrong, disparity of opportunities, rich and poor, well go ahead. But don’t play race, language, religion. We’ve got here, we’ve become cohesive, keep it that way. We’ve not used Chinese as a majority language because it will split the population. We have English as our working language, it’s equal for everybody, and it’s given us the progress because we’re connected to the world. If you want to keep your Malay, or your Chinese, or your Tamil, Urdu or whatever, do that as a second language, not equal to your first language. It’s up to you, how high a standard you want to achieve.”
Q: “The public view of you is as a very strict, cerebral, unsentimental. Catherine Lim, “an authoritarian, no-nonsense manner that has little use for sentiment”.”
Mr Lee: “She’s a novelist, therefore, she simplifies a person’s character, make graphic caricature of me. But is anybody that simple or simplistic?”
Q: “Sentiment though, you don’t show that very much in public.”
Mr Lee: “Well, that’s a Chinese ideal. A gentleman in Chinese ideal, the junzi (君子) is someone who is always composed and possessed of himself and doesn’t lose his temper and doesn’t lose his tongue. That’s what I try to do, except when I got turfed out from Malaysia. Then, I just couldn’t help it.”
Q: “One aspect of the way you’ve constructed Singapore is a certain level of fear perhaps in the population. You described yourself as a street fighter, knuckle duster and so forth.”
Full an interview here, http://theonlinecitizen.com/2010/09/transcripts-new-york-timesiht-interview-lee-kuan-yew/
Isunya, apa yang dicakap oleh Lee Kuan Yew tidak sama dengan apa yang dilaksanakannya. Orang Melayu dan umat Islam tetap diketepikan,apakah Lim Kit Siang yang menjadikan Lee KUan Yew sebagai mentornya sanggup menghapuskan Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina? Apakah Lim Kit Siang boleh bercakap sapatah atau dua patah mengenai hapuskan bahasa Mandarin, hapuskan Sekolah Cina, hapuskan suratkhabar Cina sebaliknya ikut cara Lee Kuan Yew?
Jika kita mengkaji Lee Kuan Yew dan sejarahnya, Lee Kuan Yew melakukan apa yang Cina "Nice English" sepertinya melakukan ke atas Hong KOng, Macau dan Taiwan. Tetapi Lee Kuan Yew tidak akan hapuskan Sekolah Cina di Malaysia, bahasa Cina di Malaysia kerana Lee Kuan Yew tahu di tanah besar Tanah Melayu, ia tidak boleh dilakukan malah mesti dikekalkan. Singapura berbeza kerana kolonial British sudah menunjukkan jalan Singapura ke aras "English".
K7L : Fikirlah kemana anak bangsa kita selepas ini?..