Wise sayings of Lee Kuan Yew

Wise sayings of Lee Kuan Yew

Lee Kuan Yew, first Prime Minister of Singapore and former Minister Mentor, is in the hospital with severe pneumonia.

According to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), Mr Lee was admitted to the Singapore General Hospital on February 5 for severe pneumonia. "His condition has stabilised and he remains on mechanical ventilation in the ICU. He is conscious and lightly sedated," the PMO said.

The news has devastated many Singaporeans, especially those who have taken notice of the recent visible deterioration of his health. Mr Lee is now 91.

In his most recent book, One Man's View of the World, Lee Kuan Yew acknowledged that he is "less energetic and less active". He also revealed that he has had an Advanced Medical Directive (AMD) done, so that if he is to be fed by a tube or is unlikely to recover from any illness, that the doctors will help him "make a quick exit".

Lee Kuan Yew is a symbol to Singaporeans from any generation. He has always been known as a stern leader, and a man with wise, witty, and memorable words, though he has significantly mellowed since his prime. He is also the world's longest serving Prime Minister, serving from 1959 to 1990.

Here are some of LKY's words that will live on through the generations.

Separation from Malaysia

"I have believed in Malaysian merger and the unity of these two territories. You know they are people connected by geography, economics, and ties of kinship - would you mind that we stop for a while…"

Lee Kuan Yew in an American interview in 1968

"At the end of the day, decisions have got to be made by adults, not teenagers, but it has got to be made in such a way that when the teenagers become adults, and they look back on these decisions, they will be proud of the generation that went before them."

1984 National Day Rally

"I think nobody would have blamed us if we acted like ordinary mortals and decided to take up some other career, because we had nothing… All we had was the will not to yield, and that if we had to go down, there would be a terrible price to be paid."

On how to say no

"You lose nothing by being polite. The answer is 'No', but please say it politely and give the reasons… Explain to me why 'No'. Don't change 'No' to 'Yes'. Don't be a fool. If there was a good reason why it is 'No', it must remain 'No', but the man must be told politely."

- To Civil Servants at the Victoria Theatre, 30 Sep 1965

On love

"I don't believe in love at first sight. I think it's a grave mistake. You're attracted by physical characteristics and you will regret it."

- From Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going

Rally speech at Raffles Place, 1980

"Whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him. Or give it up. This is not a game of cards. This is your life and mine. I've spent a whole lifetime building this and as long as I'm in charge, nobody is going to knock it down."

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