LKY on death and mediocrity

From ‘Singapore’s Lee says he wants a quick death’, 7 Aug 2013, AFP article in insing

Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew, who will turn 90 next month, said in a new book published Tuesday that he feels weaker by the day and wants a quick death.

“Some time back, I had an Advanced Medical Directive (AMD) done which says that if I have to be fed by a tube, and it is unlikely that I would ever be able to recover and walk about, my doctors are to remove the tube and allow me to make a quick exit,” he wrote in the book “One Man’s View of the World”.

…”There is an end to everything and I want mine to come as quickly and painlessly as possible, not with me incapacitated, half in coma in bed and with a tube going into my nostrils and down to my stomach,” he wrote.

…Singapore’s low birth rate has forced the government to open the country to foreigners, who now comprise a third of the population. The influx, however, has sparked protests from citizens and prompted the government to tighten immigration flows in recent years.

Lee pointed to the example of Japan, which he said is on a “stroll into mediocrity” as the ranks of its elderly swell due to young couples not producing enough babies.

Well, I suppose everybody desires a quick and painless death, including founding fathers, though for LKY he may choose to succumb to it only if he’s willing to let go of his baby, our Singapore. In 1988, he famously declared at the National Day Rally that:

Even from my sick bed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel something is going wrong, I will get up.

A quote that has often been misinterpreted as LKY RISING from the grave. Like a zombie. Our ex MM has been the victim of a couple of hoax deaths himself, none of which imply a ‘quick and painless’ one as he so desires, though some opponents would wish him the exact opposite.

Today, he appears to want to spend as little time on a ‘sick bed’ as far as possible. To LKY, death is, in other words, Retirement and playing Scrabble, while most of us look forward to the end of work as a reason to rejoice, to LIVE. In 2008 after suffering from an atrial flutter, he said that he would not live beyond 94 as his father did, and attributed longevity to his parents’ genes in addition to an abstemious lifestyle of repetitive exercise and spartan eating, a routine some would deem to be worse than death itself.

Despite his intolerance for mediocrity like one’s revulsion of the plague, there’s every possibility that LKY’s inevitable demise will be as ‘mediocre’ as the rest of humanity. In 1976, he set out his criteria on Government job candidates:

…I don’t defend rudeness. I don’t defend arrogance. I don’t defend mediocrity. I don’t defend the desire to do the minimum and get by.

In 2007, he even used mediocrity to justify why First World Nordic countries like FInland and Denmark paid their ministers less than those in Singapore.

…He (Low Thia Khiang) has compared Singapore as if it were Denmark, Finland or Switzerland. Their systems and governments never produced the kind of transformation that we have, and their system and government have a broader base and can afford a mediocre government.

So much for this medicore ‘Swiss standard of living’ then. Naturally you would have Scandinavians retorting to LKY’s remark with the ‘Nokia’ argument.

He kept up the defence of his stance of only having the best in 2008, when he said:

If they (Government) do not find talented people with the drive, energy, integrity and passion, then the future is in doubt. The system cannot cope with inadequate, mediocre men. You need top men, able men.

Alas, you can’t have a functioning society without mediocre people taking up mediocre work to serve the cream of the crop. To us it’s a ‘normal’, even ‘average’, day job, be it operating cranes or running a hawker stall. To LKY, mediocrity is a euphemism for physical and intellectual laziness. From the way he describes Japan’s ‘elderly swell’ like a fetid tumour, it appears he has little faith in the ‘silver economy’ as well.

Mediocrity may also be defined as being nothing ‘out of the ordinary’, so if Japan is ‘strolling towards mediocrity’, then Singapore, if she continues with the same system of government, policies, education, housing and arcane laws,  is steadily ‘brisk-walking’ towards it.  A template city with a makeshift citizen core that has lost its soul, a mediocre shell of what it aspires to be, that even she herself would commit seppuku just to get it over and done with.

It’s unlikely that ‘One Man’s View’ will be the elder statesman’s swansong and he may be waiting out for that ultimate autobiography of autobiographies to deliver his final chapter on himself, on Singapore. If he’s right about the 94 year deadline, then that last book, a potential record-breaking blockbuster (especially if unfinished), will be 4 years in the making. Fifty Shades of Lee, perhaps?


5 Responses

  1. […] Andrew Loh: Istana used for LKY’s book launch? – Everything Also Complain: LKY on death and mediocrity – TOC: A review of MM Lee Kuan Yew’s new book: “One Man’s View of the […]

  2. Lee Kuan Yew’s death prediction before 94 yrs old.Lee Kuan Yew,67 yrs old take on Johnny Wee Lai Seng 27 yrs old in 1980.Tg.Pagar.Sg.G.E. They met first,They meet again in 2016.Lee Kuan Yew’s fates to meet his opponent again to settle down their final score in 2016.Sg.G.E. Should LKY Die First,He never Wins his political war against “Opposition Senior Veterans”..

  3. MM Lee Kuan Yew shall knows the “TRUTH”from Undercover Agent ( Joseph) and Private Investigator:Johnny Wee Lai Seng.Hired by their (MHA-Internal Security Department) The Conspiracy,procured by his Deputies Ministers,Election Officers comitting electrol vote rigging,in Tg Pagar Constituency together with election agent.His Deputies also fundd Selected Opposition Leaders,receiving political funds to opposition candidates to contest elections in 1972 ,1976 and 1980 Sg General Elections.Undercover Reports and Investigation Papers,shall be discharge to MM Lee Kuan Yew and the public,in due caused during the 2016 Sg.Genral Election.

  4. On this day 13 th May “Vesak Day” May Buddah blessed MM Lee Kuan Yew with blessing and keep him fit through out his life,sn he be strong to meet me once again,he lost side of my whereabout for many years.Buddah blessed MM Lee Kuan Yew ! Johnny Wee Lai Seng nevers Suspended him and Honoured his word!We meet again very soon.

    • Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew left the Singapore Cabinet after bypass Heart Operation and now resting in bed under his Specialist doctor advised.
      He cannot further contest the election in 2015/2016 on medical reason.
      This confirm that he cannot take office and remain in office.
      May God and Buddha forgive his sins, what he did to his former opponent Johnny Wee Lai Seng after the 1980 Dec 23rd Singapore
      General Election.

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