Lee Kuan Yew Beliefs

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Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore’s Regulated Society
During the last decade of the twentieth century, when the Berlin had been tumbled down and the Soviet empire had collapsed, the liberal ideology, which bases on the concept of individual freedom, flourished as the only idea of governing politics. In the wake of the liberal triumph, Fukuyama (1989) proclaimed about “the end of history” of the ideological contestation. Despite the gospel of the superiority of the liberalism, some Asian political leaders, such as Lee Kuan Yew, proposed a set of counter-ideas that can be classified as “Asian-values”, which prioritize the stability and order of the society over individuals’ rights (Lee to Zakaria, 1994). In particular, Lee not only articulated his
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However, this idea was by no means a result of his backgrounds of living as a member of oversea “Chinese” household in Singapore. Although he was in the privileged status of the eldest one of the Strait-born Chinese (baba), he had been instructed in English, and forced to abandon his Chinese culture before he went to school (p. 162). Likewise, he had learnt Chinese in Kokkien dialect, not Mandarin. On the contrary, his idea on social management was gradually shaped by the growing admiration of Mandarin and Chinese knowledge on culture and philosophy when he had entered the adulthood (p. 165). This admiration might come into the existence during the Japanese Occupation on which Chinese-educated citizens seriously opposed Japan’s military. In spite of anti-communist attitude, his opinion on the successful socialist revolution in China somewhat highlighted Lee’s appreciation of Chinese culture. Notably, Lee suggested the communist party had exploited the strengthened cultural power, which was developed by the nationalist movement, to drive violent and revolutionary actions…show more content…
Interestingly, Lee’s persuasion method both directed to ordinary people’s material interests and recognition of the superiority of the elite in guiding the society. Lee’s government, which based on PAP (People’s Action Party), applied the social policies, especially housing and healthcare, to remold the behavior and incentive structure of the voters. Since Lee believed that the ownership of house would foster people’s commitment to the society, the PAP government implemented a series of the large-scale of public housing programs. (Hong, 2002: 553-554). Similarly, PAP also introduced “co-payment” health insurance system, which employees have to allocate a part of their salaries into the national insurance account because Lee supposed that the shared responsibility of healthcare expenditure would incentivized people to take care of their health. Both public housing and co-payment health insurance reflected Lee’s belief on the failure of welfare state in improving productivity. Lee (2000:104) argues that universal welfare system would undermined self-reliance, so that the people would not improve their ability and productivity to take care of their families and became dependent on state assistances. Accordingly, PAP government applied housing and healthcare policies not only won the support from the voters but also disciplined them to be productive
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