Singapore's great mentor

Singapore's great mentor

SINGAPORE - Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was largely responsible for the transformation of a small nation at the southernmost tip of the Malaysian Peninsula into one of the wealthiest countries on the planet.

His political philosophy unabashedly prioritised economic development, and became a model for many emerging countries.

Lee tackled challenges at home and abroad with cool realism, shrewdly navigating times of global transition such as the end of the Cold War and the rise of China.

In June 2014, I met Lee at his office close to that of his oldest son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. His legs had by then failed him, and physically Lee was a shadow of his former self, but his mind was as sharp as ever; the savvy world analyst remained.

In 1965, Singapore was forced out of the Federation of Malaysia, causing Lee, then 41, to weep openly at a news conference.

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