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A man for whom there was no taboo
Vladimir Lukashev Expert on China and South-East Asia
“How to overcome corruption?
Start by planting three of your friends. You know exactly what for, and they know why. ”
Lee Kwan Yu
The scale of the personality of Lee Kwan Yu does not allow him to fully appreciate what he has done during his life. I do not pretend to carry out not only an exhaustive, but even an approximate analysis of its activities. I can only recall some episodes of Lee’s struggle for his country.
Lee Kwang Yew was elected Singaporean Prime Minister in 1959. The legacy he received from Britain was terrible. In fact, the city-state at that time was a port garbage dump. On the streets of the town grazed cows. Crime went off scale - after sunset, leaving the house was dangerous. The streets were controlled by gangsters from the "triads". All questions in the local administration were solved through the pocket: how much you give to the paw, this will be the solution. Singapore was in a hostile environment. Malaysia constantly threatened with war, and relations with Indonesia were also far from ideal.
There was another threat: local liberals who are fighting for European values. They argued that the Chinese, who constituted the majority of the population of Singapore, were backward people with slavish thinking, and that many years of lack of rights and freedoms of the people in the Chinese Empire and semi-colonial dependence during the opium wars caused the slavish mentality of the Chinese people. The Chinese, the liberals said, were used to giving bribes. Corruption is a national trait of the Chinese people. They recommended introducing European values: the humanization of punishments, the legalization of drugs, the negotiation with terrorists and concessions.
Local liberals argued that the cruelty of punishment does not affect the number of crimes, and the death penalty does not reduce the number of terrorist attacks.
And in this completely hopeless situation, Lee made a decision, which no one took seriously. As it turned out, in vain. He offered to stop stealing and begin to imprison anyone who dared to break the law, even if he was a god. And in order to implement this decision, he created a special body and subordinated it to himself. As a result, very many officials and even friends and relatives of Li Kwang Yu went to jail.
When Islamic terrorists blew up several embassies in the city, Lee ordered them to be found and hung in accordance with the laws of Singapore. And those who knew, but did not report, went to jail for many, many years. So Lee Kwan Yew destroyed terrorism in Singapore. The fanatics were hanged, and the rest began to report on the upcoming terrorist attacks long before their implementation.
As for big business, Lee went in two ways: first, he gave great privileges and preferences to international corporations, and secondly, he created state-owned companies, of which he raised national champions.
In addition, Lee Kwang Yu created an affordable and effective education system and raised the standard of living in Singapore to a qualitatively new level. And for drug addiction and disorderly conduct in the city is now punished with beating. Today, Singapore is a fairy tale city. Clean, comfortable and absolutely safe. No bandits, no terrorists. Unemployment is virtually absent. High level of education of the population. The economy is based on innovative enterprises. International corporations are investing huge amounts of money in Singapore. The city has long become a global financial center.
I remembered that exactly 25 years ago, Russian young reformers promised to turn Russia into one big Singapore.