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Growing up in the era of Lee Kuan Yew - A Singapore story by a Singaporean

Author: Lee Hui Min
ISBN: 978-981-07-9361-6
Original Region: Singapore
Original Language: Simplified Chinese
Publication Date: 2014
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Lee Kuan Yew is a prominent figure in the politics of Singapore. Up till today his influence in nation building and in the lives of the people of Singapore remains far-reaching.

Lee Kuan Yew was the first Prime Minister after Singapore broke away from Malaysia and gained independence later. He retired in 1990 at the age of 67 which is not too old for a politician with rich experiences.

When news of his retirement was announced the international media were shocked and unvaryingly praised him for his resolution to quit.

Mr Lee remained in the cabinet after retirement, not totally withdrawn from Singapore politics. Like a guarding angel, he watched over matters – big or small - of the nation keenly.

In the eyes of quite a few Western scholars and media, Lee Kuan Yew is an autocrat and Singapore is a nanny state. Still, in the eyes of others Lee is an eminent and far-sighted leader and his ruling model is one that many countries aspire to.

For the ordinary Singaporeans, what image does he hold?

Lee Kuan Yew himself may not care how we regard him-after all, he has said that he doesn’t need to be admired but to be feared.

People are multi-faceted. What image a person holds in our minds depends on the perspective with which we view him.

Just like me, I believe that not a few Singaporeans have complex feelings about Lee Kuan Yew. We may not agree with some of the policies he had implemented, but we do feel grateful to him for having built a stable and prosperous society.

As a Singaporean growing up with the country, the author’s purpose of writing this book is not to criticise Lee Kuan Yew nor to engage in a discourse on the so-called “Singapore Model”.

What she hopes to achieve is to present her experiences growing up in the era of Lee Kuan Yew from the perspective of an ordinary Singaporean, in a writing style that combines narrations with discussions, so as to provide the reader with a “different Singapore Story”.

This ordinary Singapore Story sheds no tears but captures the joys and woes of life. It is hoped that through the story, the reader will be able to understand the path the country has travelled and set about pondering the policies of it and its direction in future development.

About the Author

Hui Min holds a BA in Chinese Language and Literature from Nanjing University, China and an MSc in International Relations from Nanyang Technological University. She has a strong interest in current affairs and international relations of East Asia. She has worked with several media outlets including Mediacorp and the BBC, and is now a freelance journalist.


"Many Singaporeans have become so pessimistic. It is regrettable that the future we have imagined in the past is so different from what we are having in the present."

"'It's the last piece of chewing gum, there'll be no more if I finished it', I said. A sudden sadness overwhelmed me, just like how I felt when dialect programmes were taken off air after the ban came into effect."

"Freedom? ... No, I don't wish our parliament to become like that of Taiwan, which so messy!"

Masterminds ( China ) and Publishers ( Singapore ) are negotiating on this book 2016/10/18
Others ( China ) and Publishers ( Singapore ) are negotiating on this book 2016/03/20
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