Wednesday 15 April 2015

Another LKY story

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad appeared to be easing off his assault on PM DS Najib Razak and his administration.

Today, instead of writing about Najib like he did in his past few postings, the handsome old man wrote about


Well, since there seems to be a lull on the part of Dr Mahathir, I decided to take a rest from the issue too.

Tonight, I want to instead post something about the Singapore's late founding father Lee Kwan Yew again.

I have been reading quite a bit about LKY since his recent passing.

I admit that I didn't like the man when he was still alive, but the more I read about him, the more I came to admire the guy.

Well, I still don't care much about his politics, but I'm now quite a fan of LKY as a man.

A good husband, father and son of Singapore.

That's how I see LKY now.

There are actually a lot of positive stuff that can be learned from the man.

This is the link to one of the most interesting articles that I read about LKY which was published in Straits Times,

Mr Lee Kuan Yew wanted his house to be demolished:

Since I suspect that many of you may not be bothered to go to the link, I cut and paste the article for your reading convenience,

Published on Apr 13, 2015 1:02 PM

SINGAPORE - There have been calls to turn Mr Lee Kuan Yew's house into a museum, but in his will, he had asked for it to be demolished.
In the event that an order would be issued against his wishes, the former Prime Minister added in his will: "If our children are unable to demolish the house as a result of any changes in the law, rules or regulations binding them, it is my wish that the house never be opened to others except my children, their families and descendants."
The pre-war bungalow at 38, Oxley Road, which was built by a Jewish merchant more than 100 years ago, has witnessed some momentous turning points in Singapore's history.

1. Why demolish the house?

Singapore's former Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew's house at 38 Oxley Road. -- ST PHOTO: FRANCIS ONG 

Back in 2011, Mr Lee said in an interview with a team of Straits Times journalists for the book, Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going, that he wanted the house to be demolished. Here it is in his own words:
I mean MM, I haven't been there but people who have been there say you've not done much to renovate and to upgrade it.
I've told the Cabinet, when I'm dead, demolish it.
Because I think, I've seen other houses, Nehru's, Shakespeare's. They become a shambles after a while. People trudge through. Because of my house the neighbouring houses cannot build high. Now demolish my house and change the planning rules, go up, the land value will go up.
Ever practical, one of the reasons he gave was that it would cost a lot to maintain it:
But isn't that part of Singapore history?
No, no, no. You know the cost of preserving it? It's an old house built over a hundred years ago. No foundation. The cost of maintaining it, damp comes up the wall because there's no foundation. So the piling in the neighbourhood has made cracks in my walls. But fortunately the pillars are sound.
By your comment then, you don't place great store on preserving old buildings? It's like the old National Library, no architectural significance but when it was torn down I think a lot of people still bemoan its loss today.
I don't think my daughter or my wife or I, who lived in it, or my sons who grew up in it will bemoan its loss. They have old photos to remind them of the past.

2. The Lees' marital home

Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Miss Kwa Geok Choo at 38 Oxley Road. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 

The house is where Mr Lee began his married life. Mr Lee grew up at 92, Kampong Java Road, but later moved to his maternal grandfather's house in Telok Kurau in 1929. He and his family moved into 38, Oxley Road in 1945.
Then in 1946, he sailed for England to study law. He had already begun dating a former classmate from Raffles College - Ms Kwa Geok Choo. They secretly married in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1947.
After their official wedding in 1950, they moved into the Oxley Road house.

3. Old furniture, and no shower

Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his wife Madam Kwa Geok Choo at their home at Oxley Road with their three children, (from left) sons Lee Hsien Loong and Lee Hsien Yang and daughter Lee Wei Ling. -- PHOTO: LEE FAMILY 
Mr Lee once described 38, Oxley Road as "a big, rambling house with five bedrooms, and three others at the back originally used as servants' quarters."
Associate Professor Koo Tsai Kee, an MP for 20 years in Mr Lee's Tanjong Pagar GRC, who visited the house in 2002, said: "It's a very humble house. The furniture has probably never been changed. Some of the pictures are yellow already."
Mr Lee's daughter, Dr Lee Wei Ling, once described the frugality her parents instilled in her: "We had to turn off water taps completely. If my parents found a dripping tap, we would get a ticking off. And when we left a room, we had to switch off lights and air-conditioners."
Dr Lee also wrote in the 2012 column that her room has a window model air-conditioner, which fell out of favour decades ago.
Visitors to the house such as journalist Judith Tan, who was there in 2010, described how there was no shower for many years.
In an article for The New Paper on March 26, 2015, Ms Tan wrote: "The downstairs bathroom, for instance, still held a humdangong (Cantonese for barrel or tub used for making salted eggs), a large clay urn filled with water for bathing, old-school style, complete with a plastic scoop. Its mosaic tiles, some a little chipped, had been popular in the 1970s. The chairs in the house were mismatched, giving off an eclectic feel. An ancient exercise bike stood in one corner, gathering dust."
It was only after Mrs Lee had a stroke in London in 2003 that their children installed a shower before she returned home.

4. Family gatherings

The Lee family relaxing with their black labrador Nikki on the verandah of their home at 38 Oxley Road dated May 1965. -- PHOTO: LEE FAMILY 

Mr Lee's grandson Li Shengwu recalled the Sunday lunches they had at Oxley Road in a eulogy he delivered for Mr Lee at his funeral on March 29.
"Sunday lunch with Ye Ye was an institution for our family. His voice and his hearty laugh would carry to the children's table, talking about matters of state, recounting meetings with foreign leaders whose names we neither recognised nor remembered.
"In a city of continual renewal, my grandparents' house never changed. Always the same white walls, the same wooden furniture, the same high windows letting in sunlight.
"The food stayed the same too - Singapore cooking that would not be out of place at a good stall in a hawker centre."
The extended family also met at the house during Chinese New Year for many years.
When Mr Lee's father Mr Lee Chin Koon was alive, the extended family would gather at Oxley Road for the first day of Chinese New Year. But as the family grew bigger, they got together for the reunion dinner and exchanged greetings then.

5. Hive of political activity

The basement dining room at 38, Oxley Road was where the founding members of the People's Action Party discussed setting up a new party.

A group of English-educated middle-class friends whom Mr Lee himself called 'beer-swilling bourgeois', gathered in late 1954, usually on Saturdays between 2.30pm and 5.30pm.
Some 20 participants, including the 14 founding members of the People's Action Party, would engage in heated debates around a long table.
On Nov 21, 1954, the group formed the "socialist" PAP with the pro-communist trade unionists.
Mr Lee's eldest son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, grew up in the house, experiencing his first taste of politics there.
In his eulogy at the March 29 State funeral service, PM Lee said: "Of course, growing up as my father's son could not but mean being exposed to politics very early. I remember as a little boy . . . (I) was excited by the hubbub at Oxley Road whenever elections happened, and our home became the election office."

My other recent posts about LKY:

Singaporean rhapsody

A good girl 2


  1. Annie, since a good number of your visitors are Malays, and many Malaysian Malays hate LKY, perhaps you should also write about what he has done to uplift the Malays.

    If only some would change their minds, I think you'ld find it happily ok.

    1. Many Singapore Malays had properties the size of LKY's 38 Oxley. They did not get to enjoy living in their houses as long as LKY did.

      Their properties were acquired by the govt under land acquisition act once PAP came into power. These Malays were then scattered throughout newly built high rise estates and the govt made it a point that they remain a 15% minority wherever they live diluting their political representation.

      Very uplifting huh?

    2. "Many Malaysian Malays hate LKY"; I dont him as a PM, I hate him what he did to the Malays population to become an insignificant minority over there. He devised a social reengineering programme called "Singapore Eugenics" to breed high quality citizens by favoring the rich and educated while the poor and the educated masses were given third rate treatment.

    3. LKY maintained article 152 of Singapore's constituition.
      The Malays are made to feel special all the time.

      Malay boys were not called up for national service at first.
      They were happy for awhile until when they started applying for jobs and almost all jobs require "must have completed NS" which is euphemism for Malays need not apply.

      Then Malay boys were accepted into the army but not trusted to carry machine guns. Most become drivers, storemen and for the higher educated, medics. So after completing NS should have no problem applying for jobs. Now the job ads started requiring "must be able to speak Mandarin".

      Singapore has four official languages but the national language is still Malay. Look it up if you don't believe.Try to speak Malay to a young non-Malay Singaporean today then thank LKY for the uplift.

    4. Amazing, these people - has anyone asked the Malay Singaporeans if they would have had a better life in Malaysia, that they could benefit from "affirmative action", special rights and privileges instead of competing on the basis of meritocracy?

      Funny - I travel frequently to Singapore. I see plenty of Singaporean Malays. I have Singaporean Malay friends who are entrepreneurs and PMETs. None of them have voiced a desire to change their passports and come to Malaysia. In fact, many of them make disparaging comments about politics and life in Malaysia, especially about crime, corruption and security. And all of them are thankful for an English-medium education system that pushes students to be their best and for world class schools, ITEs, polytechnics and public universities.

      Don't pity the Malay Singaporeans. If anything, they pity their Malaysian counterparts.

      Especially those who commute across the Causeway daily to work in Singapore as semi-skilled and skilled labor.

      So, go peddle your views someplace else, devoid as they are of reality.

    5. For decades, we've seen Malaysian Chinese crossing the causeway to study, work, even settle in Singapore. They did so because Singapore provided them what their own country could not.

      Singaporean Malays, according to many Malaysian Malays, are an oppressed, unhappy lot, with less opportunities for advancement. If so, why are they not moving to Malaysia in the numbers Malaysian Chinese move to Singapore?

      So far as I know, Singaporean Malays do purchase properties in JB, just like Singaporean Chinese do. They do so because the cost of living is so much cheaper, but they keep their jobs or businesses in Singapore.

      Just like what Tuanku said.

      I know of a few Singaporean Malays who live like that in JB. According to them, they could sometimes sense envy from Malaysian Malays, for example when they're at the hypermarket check out counter.

    6. Singapore welcomes people of Chinese race to counter the higher Malay birthrate. LKY stated that the Malay population must be kept no higher than 15%.
      Very uplifting for the Malays.

      The reverse is not true. Malaysia does not take in every Singapore Malay just because his IC states he is a Malay and a Muslim.

      There are non-Malay senior officials at JPN to ensure and confirm this.

    7. 10:31

      Rightly so.

      If a person is willing to give up a higher standard of living and opportunities for economic advancement as described by 7:10, he must be suspect. Thus the case by case approach. Either a spy or a terrorist perhaps?

      Otherwise, what could be the wisdom behind rejecting?

    8. Yep. Wisdom. Giving up living in a flat his whole life and finding out he is now not only behind the Chinese but behind foreigners in the queue for jobs. He must be a spy or terrorist.

      No reasonable Malay would want to live in Malaysia you think?

    9. Read this at

      Right from the heart a Singaporean journalist penned her thought being a Malay in Singapore , feeling like the least favourite child..need to work doubly hard to get the mother attention

    10. "Free education and subsidised housing lead to a situation where the less economically productive people in the community are reproducing themselves at rates higher than the rest. This will increase the total population of less productive people. Our problem is how to devise a system of disincentives, so that the irresponsible, the social delinquents, do not believe that all they have to do is to produce their children and the government then owes them and their children sufficient food, medicine, housing, education and jobs...We must encourage those who earn less than $200 per month and cannot afford to nurture and educate many children never to have more than two. We will regret the time lost if we do not now take the first tentative steps towards correcting a trend which can leave our society with a large number of the physically, intellectually and culturally anaemic."

      LkY said this in 1969. Change the words " less economically productive" ;"physically, intellectually and culturally anaemic" people to Malay , then you will get the angle I am coming from.Is this not a racist policy under guise of meritocracy??

    11. LKY's quote from Anon 13:02.
      OMG, that is completely evil!!!
      So scared that he will end up surrounded by those he looked down upon. And he was so certain it is the truth. How sad and funny at the same time.
      But am happy that now he's facing the Truth albeit in another dimension.

  2. Quite a drastic diversion from current issues. I guess Tun decide to ease off after finding that Najib had sent his boys to attack Mukhriz. The ordinary folks will conclude that Najib sent his troops out to whack Mukhriz and the hatred against Najib administration will continue to propagate. Even if he did not, it shows that he cannot control his own party. With Kerismuddin making such a disparaging remark against an MB which never happened before, it really shows how desperate and childish the cousins are.

    Despite whatever tactics they used, people especially the fence-sitters will believe more on the wrongdoings of Najib. Buletin Utama interviewed some unknown guys including the inept Puad and those guys were talking about some of the issues that arised during Tun's time. Does that change the fact 1MDB funds which had dissappeared in thin air? One thing for sure,Jho Low was still running around with napkins during Tun's time. Merepek and Bangang is the exact description of these buffoons.


  3. Today, the SD: RM exchange rate hit a new high of 1:2.72

  4. Demolish historical home ? Anda percaya ?

    LKY memang pandai bermain psikologi. Anak perempuan beliau(Dr), jika ingin tinggal dalam kediaman tersebut (jemputan secara berhemah LKY)
    rumah bersejarah tersebut mesti di kekalkan. Hmm bijak cara beliau. Jika
    tidak lebih baik hapuskan sahaja sejarah LKY...(ugutan ?) I don't wat to exaggerate.

    Terus terang annie, I don't admire LKY. Jika cara beliau, mengajak sama pribumi Melayu dan pewaris nya menjadi termaju dalam konteks budaya Melayu dan bertradisi, selaras kemajuan Singapura masakini, maka saya
    akan sanjung beliau sebagai Pemimpin tersohor !

    Kenapa bijak pandai Dr Lily Zubaidah di halau ? Begitu juga yang lain.
    Kenapa Melayu di "tiadakan?" Ini buka kenyataan berbaur perkauman tetapi realiti Singapura di bawah LKY. Jika di Malaysia, polisi yang sama di amalkan secara tuntas, apa akan terjadi ? Sesungguh nya AJARAN ISLAM itu tidak kejam kerana Allah SWT memberi amaran supaya berlaku adil dalam hak-hak nya masing-masin. Ia tidak boleh pula samarata samarasa kerana pasti nya yang berduit, berharta dan berkuasa tetap menjadi raja !

  5. Before you get carried away by the sensational eulogies surrounding LKY's passing, here are some down-to-earth facts about LHL's current administration and its effects on Joe Singapore:

  6. Can we have a Singaporean Malay to give their opinion about the late Mr LKY here? Lets hear from them of what they think of the man.

    1. Why should they get involved in all these madness in Malaysia?

  7. Dear Annie,

    It is naive to conclude that Tun M's latest posting on Hudud as "easing off his assault" on the current PM. Just like 1MDB, BR1M etc, hudud is another critical issue that Malaysian (esp. Muslims) must be concern about. Thanks to Tun M for being our voices. We should all be grateful. If we are, the least we can do is to read and share AKJ's latest poem at

  8. From 12:51

    "When 12-year-old Natasha Nabila hit the headlines last year for her record PSLE aggregate of 294, I was among the thousands of Malays here who celebrated the news. I sent instant messages to my friends on Gmail and chatted excitedly with my Malay colleagues at work.

    Suddenly a 12-year-old has become the symbol of hope for the community and a message to the rest that Malays can do it too – and not just in singing competitions.

    And just like that, the ‘least favourite child’ in me feels a lot happier."

    It's obvious that the writer Nur Dianah truly wanted full acceptance as a Singaporean. Looks like there are more such Malays now in Singapore.

    Quite unlike Malaysia, in which the Dep PM said he was Malay first and Malaysian second.

    1. You constantly rant around like an underachiever and before long you will believe fervently in your own self-deprecating biases.


    For the past four years, Singapore citizen Mohd Rafais, 29, has been calling Johor Baru home.

    But he may be returning here for good as Malaysia's imminent Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) fee threatens to burn a huge hole in his pocket.

    From Aug 1, those driving foreign vehicles into Malaysia from Singapore will have to fork out RM20 ($7.50) in VEP fees, Malaysian Deputy Transport Minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi announced on April 4.

    Those affected include Singaporeans like Mr Rafais, who live in Malaysia and make the daily commute here for work.

    The senior postman has been living in JB with his wife since 2011 and drives to Singapore every day via the Causeway.

    He told The New Paper: "I moved to Malaysia because of the lower cost of living. But with the VEP fee, I won't be able to save any money at all."

    Mr Rafais now pays $13 in toll charges for a round trip to Singapore. With VEP, he will have to pay about $20.

    He said: "Paying $7 extra every day will be very costly in the long run. I can use that money every month to buy groceries or pay the bills instead.

    "I'm considering moving back to Singapore to avoid paying the VEP fee."

    Another Singaporean having second thoughts about living in Malaysia is Mr Muhammad, 48.

    The father of three also lives in JB and commutes to Singapore for work and to send two of his children to school here.


    He told Malay daily Berita Harian: "With VEP, I can't afford to live in Malaysia and drive back and forth anymore. That's why I'm planning to move back to Singapore before the VEP kicks in."

    The same goes for Miss Ida, who has been living in Bukit Indah, JB, for more than five years.

    The teacher, who is in her 50s, told Berita Harian: "Living in Johor, I can save more for retirement. But now, I think it'll be better just living in Singapore.

    "Toll charges of $13 are already painful enough. The extra fee will make my daily commute very expensive."

    A Singapore permanent resident living in JB, who wanted to be known only as Mr Paul, 47, told TNP that the VEP fee unfairly penalises people like him who work here.

    He said: "Come August, I'll be paying close to $5,000 a year just to get to work. It's terrible."

    He added that as neighbours, Singapore and Malaysia should not be putting up barriers to access.

    "The two nations are closely linked, so it's a win-win situation to have easier access."

    Even Singaporeans living here are feeling the heat.

    Mr Ismail Senin, 65, who drives to JB every other week to visit his relatives, told TNP that the VEP fee will affect the frequency of his visits.

    The retiree said: "Now I have to pay more to visit my relatives. I don't know if I will visit them as often."

    - See more at:

  10. The Vehicle Entry Permit Fee

    In wanting more revenue,

    But not looking at the bigger picture,

    Total revenue ends up less.