Malaysia sacrifices talent to keep one race on top, said Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore


SINGAPORE – Straits Times Press, the book publishing unit of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), announced in  Jul 29, 2013 the launch of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s new book

Malaysia is prepared to lose its talent through its race-based policies in order to maintain the dominance of one race, said Lee Kuan Yew in his new book which was launched August 6, 2013 in Singapore.

And although Malaysia has acknowledged the fact that they are losing these talents and is making an attempt to lure Malaysians back from overseas, such efforts may be too little too late, he said.

“This is putting the country at a disadvantage. It is voluntarily shrinking the talent pool needed to build the kind of society that makes use of talent from all races.

“They are prepared to lose that talent in order to maintain the dominance of one race,” he said in the 400-page book called “One Man’s View of the World” (pic).

It features conversations between Lee and his long-time admirer, Helmut Schmidt, former leader of West Germany. They discussed world affairs when Schmidt visited Singapore last year.

In the book, Lee pointed out that Malaysia is losing ground and  giving other countries a head start in the external competition.

About 400,000 of some one million Malaysians overseas are in Singapore, according to the World Bank.

When announcing the five-year plan for Malaysia, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in Parliament in 2011, the government would set up a talent corporation to lure some 700,000 Malaysians working abroad back to the country.

But in his book, Lee said the demographic changes in Malaysia will lead to a further entrenchment of Malay privileges.

He noted that in the last 10 years, since the enactment of the New Economic Policy, the proportion of Malaysian Chinese and Indians of the total population has fallen dramatically.

“The Chinese made up 35.6 percent of the population in 1970. They were down to 24.6 percent at the last census in 2010. Over that same period, the Indian numbers fell from 10.8 percent to 7.3 percent,” he said.

He added, “40 percent of our migrants are from Malaysia.

“Those with the means to do so leave for countries farther afield. In the early days, Taiwan was a popular destination among the Chinese-educated.

“In recent years, Malaysian Chinese and Indians have been settling in Europe, America and Australia. Some have done very well for themselves, such as Penny Wong, Australia’s current finance minister.

“Among those who have chosen to remain in Malaysia, some lack the means to leave and others are making a good living through business despite the discriminatory policies. Many in this latter class partner with Malays who have connections.”

World Bank data for 2012 showed that the island republic has raced ahead of its neighbour, with gross domestic product per capita of US$51,709 compared with Malaysia’s US$10,381.

Najib had said Malaysia is set to become a high income developed nation as early as 2018, two years earlier than the targeted 2020.

Lee said in his book the separation of Singapore and Malaysia in 1965 marked “the end of a different vision in Malaysia on the race issue”.

He added, “Much of what has been achieved in Singapore could have been replicated throughout Malaysia. Both countries would have been better off.”

Sources: The Malaysian Insider

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Lee Kuan Yew On Getting the Best out of Life


“The human being needs a challenge, and my advice to every person in Singapore and elsewhere: Keep yourself interested, have a challenge. If you’re not interested in the world and the world is not interested in you, the biggest punishment a man can receive is total isolation in a dungeon, black and complete withdrawal of all stimuli, that’s real torture.”

MY CONCERN today is, what is it I can tell you which can add to your knowledge about ageing and what ageing societies can do. You know more about this subject than I do. A lot of it is out in the media, Internet and books. So I thought the best way would be to take a personal standpoint and tell you how I approach this question of ageing.

If I cast my mind back, I can see turning points in my physical and mental health. You know, when you’re young, I didn’t bother, assumed good health was God-given and would always be there.

When I was about 57 that was – I was about 34, we were competing in elections, and I was really fond of drinking beer and smoking.  And after the election campaign, in Victoria Memorial Hall – we had won the election, the City Council election – I couldn’t thank the voters because I had lost my voice. I’d been smoking furiously. I’d take a packet of 10 to deceive myself, but I’d run through the packet just sitting on the stage, watching the crowd, getting the feeling, the mood before I speak.

In other words, there were three speeches a night. Three speeches a night, 30 cigarettes, a lot of beer after that, and the voice was gone. I remember I had a case in Kuching, Sarawak . So I took the flight and Ifelt awful. I had to make up my mind whether I was going to be an effective campaigner and a lawyer, in which case I cannot destroy my voice, and I can’t go on. So I stopped smoking. It was a tremendous deprivation because I was addicted to it. And I used to wake up dreaming…the nightmare was I resumed smoking.

But I made a choice and said, if I continue this, I will not be able to do my job. I didn’t know anything about cancer of the throat, or oesophagus or the lungs, etc. But it turned out it had many other deleterious effects. Strangely enough after that, I became very allergic, hyper-allergic to smoking, so much so that I would plead with my Cabinet ministers not to smoke in the Cabinet room. You want to smoke, please go out, because I am allergic.

Then one day I was at the home of my colleague, Mr Rajaratnam, meeting foreign correspondents including some from the London Times and they took a picture of me and I had a big belly like that (puts his hands in front of his belly), a beer belly. I felt no, no, this will not do. So I started playing more golf, hit hundreds of balls on the practice tee. But this didn’t go down. There was only one way it could go down: consume less, burn up more.

Another turning point came when -this was 1976, after the general electionI was feeling tired. I was breathing deeply at the Istana, on the lawns.

My daughter, who at that time just graduating as a doctor, said: ‘What are you trying to do?’ I said: ‘I feel an effort to breathe in more oxygen.’ She said: ‘Don’t play golf. Run. Aerobics..’ So she gave me a book , quite a famous book and, then, very current in America on how you score aerobic points swimming, running, whatever it is, cycling.

I looked at it sceptically. I wasn’t very keen on running. I was keen on golf. So I said, ‘Let’s try’. So in-between golf shots while playing on my own, sometimes nine holes at the Istana, I would try and walk fast between shots. Then I began to run between shots. And I felt better. After a while, I said: ‘Okay, after my golf, I run.’ And after a few years, I said: ‘Golf takes so long. The running takes 15 minutes. Let’s cut out the golf and let’s run.’

I think the most important thing in ageing is you got to understand yourself. And the knowledge now is all there. When I was growing up, the knowledge wasn’t there. I had to get the knowledge from friends, from doctors.

But perhaps the most important bit of knowledge that the doctor gave me  was one day, when I said: ‘Look,   I’m feeling slower and sluggish.’ So he gave me a medical encyclopaedia and he turned the pages to ageing. I read it up and it was illuminating. A lot of it was difficult jargon but I just skimmed through to get the gist of it.

As you grow, you reach 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and then, thereafter, you are on a gradual slope down physically. Mentally, you carry on and on and on until I don’t know what age, but mathematicians will tell you that they know their best output is when they’re in their 20s and 30s when your mental energy is powerful and you haven’t lost many neurons. That’s what they tell me.

So, as you acquire more knowledge, you then craft a programme for yourself to maximise what you have. It’s just common sense. I never planned to live till 85 or 84.! I just didn’t think about it. I said: ‘Well, my mother died when she was 74, she had a stroke.. My father died when he was 94.’

But I saw him, and he lived a long life, well, maybe it was his DNA. But more than that, he swam every day and he kept himself busy.. He was working for the Shell company. He was in charge, he was a superintendent of an oil depot.

When he retired, he started becoming a salesman. So people used to tell me: ‘Your father is selling watches at BP de Silva.’ My father was then living with me. But it kept him busy. He had that routine: He meets people, he sells watches, he buys and sells all kinds of semi-precious stones, he circulates coins. And he keeps going. But at 87, 88, he fell, going down the steps from his room to the dining room, broke his arm, three months incapacitated.

Thereafter, he couldn’t go back to swimming. Then he became wheelchair-bound. Then it became a problem because my house was constructed that way. So my brother – who’s a doctor and had a flat (one-level) house – took him in. And he lived on till 94. But towards the end, he had gradual loss of mental powers.

So my calculations, I’m somewhere between 74 and 94. And I’ve reached the halfway point now. But have I? Well, 1996 when I was 73, I was cycling and I felt tightening on the neck. Oh, I must retire today. So I stopped. Next day, I returned to the bicycle. After five minutes it became worse. So I said, no, no, this is something serious, it’s got to do with the blood vessels. Rung up my doctor, who said, ‘Come tomorrow’. Went tomorrow, he checked me, and said: ‘Come back tomorrow for an angiogram.’

I said: ‘What’s that ?’ He said: ‘We’ll pump something in and we’ll see whether the coronary arteries are cleared or blocked.’ I was going to go home. But an MP who was a cardiologist happened to be around, so he came in and said: ‘What are you doing here?’ I said: ‘I’ve got this.’ He said: ‘Don’t go home. You stay here tonight. I’ve sent patients home and they never came back. Just stay here. They’ll put you on the monitor. They’ll watch your heart. And if anything, an emergency arises, they will take you straight to the theatre. You go home. You’ve got no such monitor. You may never come back.’

So I stayed there. Pumped in the dye, yes it was blocked, the left circumflex, not the critical, lead one. So that’s lucky for me. Two weeks later, I was walking around, I felt it’s coming back. Yes it has come back, it had occluded. So this time they said: ‘We’ll put in a stent.’

I’m one of the first few in Singapore to have the stent, so it was a brand new operation. Fortunately, the man who invented the stent was out here selling his stent. He was from San Jose, La Jolla something or the other. So my doctor got hold of him and he supervised the operation.  He said put the stent in. My doctor did the operation, he just watched it all and then that’s that. That was before all this problem about lining the stent to make sure that it doesn’t occlude and create a disturbance.

So at each stage, I learnt something more about myself and I stored that. I said: ‘Oh, this is now a danger point.’ So all right, cut out fats, change diet, went to see a specialist in Boston , Massachusetts General Hospital . He said: ‘Take statins.’ I said: ‘What’s that?’ He said: ‘(They) help to reduce your cholesterol.’ My doctors were concerned. They said: ‘You don’t need it. Your cholesterol levels are okay.’ Two years later, more medical evidence came out. So the doctors said: ‘Take statins.’

Had there been no angioplasty, had I not known that something was up and I cycled on, I might have gone at 74 like my mother. So I missed that decline. So next deadline: my father’s fall at 87.

I’m very careful now because sometimes when I turn around too fast, I feel as if I’m going to get off balance. So my daughter, a neurologist, she took me to the NNI, there’s this nerve conduction test, put electrodes here and there.

The transmission of the messages between the feet and the brain has slowed down. So all the exercise, everything, effort put in, I’m fit, I swim, I cycle. But I can’t prevent this losing of conductivity of the nerves and this transmission. So just go slow.

So when I climb up the steps, I have no problem. When I go down the steps, I need to be sure that I’ve got something I can hang on to, just in case. So it’s a constant process of adjustment. But I think the most important single lesson I learnt in life was that if you isolate yourself, you’re done for. The human being is a social animal – he needs stimuli, he needs to meet people, to catch up with the world.

I don’t much like travel but I travel very frequently despite the jetlag, because I get to meet people of great interest to me, who will help me in my work as chairman of our GIC. So I know, I’m on several boards  of banks, international advisory boards of banks, of oil companies and so on. And I meet them and I get to understand what’s happening in the world, what has changed since I was here one month ago, one year ago. I go to India , I go to China .

And that stimuli brings me to the world of today. I’m not living in the world, when I was active, more active 20, 30 years ago. So I tell my wife. She woke up late today. I said: ‘Never mind, you come along by 12 o’clock. I go first.’

If you sit back – because part of the ending part of the encyclopaedia which I read was very depressing – as you get old, you withdraw from everything and then all you will have is your bedroom and the photographs and the furniture that you know, and that’s your world. So if you’ve got to go to hospital, the doctor advises you to bring some photographs so that you’ll know you’re not lost in a different world, that this is like your bedroom.

I’m determined that I will not, as long as I can, to be reduced, to have my horizons closed on me like that. It is the stimuli, it is the constant interaction with people across the world that keeps me aware and alive to what’s going on and what we can do to adjust to this different world.

In other words, you must have an interest in life. If you believe that at 55, you’re retiring, you’re going to read books, play golf and drink wine, then I think you’re done for. So statistically they will show you that all the people who retire and lead sedentary lives, the pensioners die off very quickly.

So we now have a social problem with medical sciences, new procedures, new drugs, many more people are going to live long lives.. If the mindset is that when I reach retirement age 62, I’m old, I can’t work anymore, I don’t have to work, I just sit back, now is the time I’ll enjoy life, I think you’re making the biggest mistake of your life. After one month, or after two months, even if you go travelling with nothing to do, with no purpose in life, you will just degrade, you’ll go to seed.

The human being needs a challenge, and my advice to every person in Singapore and elsewhere: Keep yourself interested, have a challenge. If you’re not interested in the world and the world is not interested in you, the biggest punishment a man can receive is total isolation in a dungeon, black and complete withdrawal of all stimuli, that’s real torture.

So when I read that people believe, Singaporeans say: ‘Oh, 62 I’m retiring.’ I say to them: ‘You really want to die quickly?’ If you want to see sunrise tomorrow or sunset, you must have a reason, you must have the stimuli to keep going..’

Have a purpose driven life and finish well, my friends.

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Get married and have babies, LKY to Singaporeans!


Migrants are a temporary solution, in the long term, mindsets must change, former PM says

Singaporeans need to marry and have children if they do not want the country to fold up, Mr Lee Kuan Yew warned on Saturday night.

In his annual National Day dinner speech to residents of Tanjong Pagar GRC and Tiong Bahru, Mr Lee kept his message on population simple: The country’s citizens are not reproducing enough, and migrants are needed as a temporary solution.

But in the long run, mindsets must change, and the trend of declining birth rates needs to be reversed.

“If we go on like that, this place will fold up because there will be no original citizens left to form the majority,” he said.

“And we cannot have new citizens, new PRs to settle our social ethos, our social spirit, our social norms,” he said, noting that Chinese reproduction rate is now at 1.08, Indians at 1.09 and Malays at 1.64.

“So my message is a simple one. The answer is very difficult but the problems, if we don’t find the answers, are enormous,” he added.

Lee acknowledged the pivotal role that work permit holders have played in building Singapore’s infrastructure, and the contribution of permanent residents, without which he said the country’s population would be older, smaller and would lose vitality.

Further, he noted that in the long term, Singapore’s “educated men and women must decide whether to replace themselves in the next generation”. Currently, 31 per cent of women and 41 per cent of men are choosing not to do so, he noted.

“But we’ve got to persuade people to understand that getting married is important, having children is important,” he said. “Do we want to replace ourselves or do we want to shrink and get older and be replaced by migrants and work permit holders? That’s the simple question.”

MSF to tackle problem: Chan Chun Sing

Responding to Lee’s call for solutions to Singapore’s citizen population crunch, current acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing, who will be taking on the newly-established Ministry of Social and Family development (MSF), said the latter will pursue efforts to encourage younger Singaporeans get married and start families earlier.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the same event, Chan acknowledged that the issues are “challenges that cut across different ministries”, and said there are two aspects to the population situation — material and economic, which the government will work on, reported Channel NewsAsia.

“But like what Mr Lee said, the most important aspect has to do with the less tangible… (what) we value as a society — the institution of the family,” he said as quoted by the media outlet. “How do we see the institution, and the family… these are things we really need to work on as a society because it concerns our common future.”

- The Straits Times/Asia News Network

Asia from an Asian perspective


Singapore’s Channel News Asia plans to penetrate the US and European pay TV markets, but faces challenges posed by surging social media.

SINGAPORE television, which helped Lee Kuan Yew defeat his left-wing foes and stay in power for 50 years, plans to go worldwide 24 hours a day from next year.

The global push by the state-owned Channel News Asia (CNA) to extend its reach from Asia to cover the United States and Europe is an ambitious project, given the adverse cable news market.

Last week, America’s CNN (Cable News Network), despite its vast resources and experience, reported a ratings drop of up to 50% in the first quarter.

All three global networks suffered declines, having lost audiences to the new digital media.

The declines are not deterring CNA, whose predecessor had played a historic role in the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) elimination of the powerful left-wing Barisan Sosialis in the 60s.

Despite its near-monopoly, circulation of Singapore’s main Straits Times broadsheet has stagnated.

“For us to be a true global player in the news channel space we need to broadcast 24 hours, every hour on the hour, with live news,” said a CNA spokesman.

“This will eventually allow us to penetrate the US and European pay TV markets, so that people there can get Asian news with Asian perspectives whenever they want.”

Having their state TV moving into the world arena has raised a little sense of pride among some Singaporeans.

Informed citizens, however, are questioning its chances of success considering that it is considered to be a government mouthpiece. And taxpayers are worried about footing the bill for potential losses.

A small-time businessman commented: “I wish it well, but if powerful global networks like CNN are losing out, what chance has the state-owned Singapore TV to succeed?”

Not everyone agrees. A polytechnic lecturer said Singapore has become an economic international player and a provider of jobs for professionals.

So TV has a small part, but, he added, if it is thinking of taking on the big players in providing global news, “I would say forget it”.

The vast majority of Americans and Europeans don’t really care for Singapore’s idea of “Asian coverage of Asian news”.

The biggest handicap is its ties to the government.

Most people I talked to doubted if many Westerners would be well disposed to news from a government news channel (BBC is different because of its long history of objective reporting).

Even among Singaporeans, one in every two believes that the Singapore media is biased, according to a survey last year.

On average, in a normal day, however, newspapers and television are the top sources of news here, with the Internet coming in a close third.

But in last year’s election, some 48% turned to Yahoo! for quick news, with CNA in second place at 23.8%. Newspapers, however, were the people’s main source of news.

Television was launched in 1963, the year Singapore joined Malaysia, and when it left two years later, the telecast of Lee Kuan Yew weeping caught the imagination of the world.

At the launch, only 2,400 Singaporean homes had TV sets, but tens of thousands of people, young and old, would sit on wooden benches in community centres to watch the magic box.

As a 23-year old then, I joined enthusiastic friends to meet outside a department store TV display window and watched celluloid scenes of the PAP developing Jurong or building public flats at a rate of one unit every 45 minutes.

It was a powerful message for a poor squatter country.

Eventually the leftwing hold among the vast Chinese-educated was broken. To the viewers, moving pictures could not lie.

The hard-working Barisan Sosialis representatives resorted to knocking on doors to get to the people, but they could not match the power of moving pictures.

Since then, the government has kept 100% ownership of television. Despite much talk of going public, TV news remain in official hands. About half of Singaporeans polled last year felt that “there is too much government control of newspapers and television”, according to an analysis by the Institute of Policy Studies.

With 3.37 million Internet users out of a 5.18 million population, the expectation is that while mainstream newspapers and TV remain on top of the pole for news, erosion among young readers is likely to continue.

This is because CNA is widely perceived as the voice of the government. An advisory committee said in 2009 that this factor could hamper its credibility as a news conduit.

The circulation of the Straits Times has been dismal over the decades despite a big population jump.

Not exactly good news for the ruling PAP.

An authoritative source once told me that for the PAP to remain in power, it must have control over three things – security forces, finance and the media.

The first two remain more or less in place, but control of the third – the media – is being challenged by the day by the surging social media where every citizen can be both a reporter and a reader.

INSIGHT DOWN SOUTH By SEAH CHIANG NEE

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