This week, Singapore's founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, died at 91. Though the last remaining of the great figures of post-WWII decolonization, Lee was also the first global statesman. As he himself put it, "when we were pushed out of Malaysia we had no hinterland. So we had to do or die, and the globalization of the world helped us. So we made the world our hinterland." By thinking global, but acting local, Lee was able to vault his small city-state from the Third World to the First World.
The WorldPost remembers Lee through his own words from interviews I have done with him over the years. Writing from Singapore, Pranay Gupte focuses on Lee's unique accomplishment of "clean governance." Writing from Beijing, philosopher Daniel A. Bell emphasizes Singapore's meritocratic government as the core of its success with lessons for China. (continued)
ROME -- "Welcome, this is a house for all. Your house."
BEIRUT -- With the Iranian involvement against ISIS in the assault on Tikrit, and the Saudi invasion of Yemen to stem the tide of Iranian influence, we have entered a new Middle Eastern war.
MEXICO CITY -- For the last 15 years, Venezuela has been mired in crisis, characterized by wasteful government spending, rampant corruption, growing authoritarianism, relentless human rights violations, and now economic collapse. But, beyond the occasional sharp word from the late President Hugo Chávez, the periodic expropriation of a foreign company without adequate compensation, and some minor meddling in the elections of neighboring countries, the crisis barely registered abroad. This is no longer the case.
The interconnected nature of the world thanks to information technology and globalization creates an acute awareness about opportunities elsewhere.
BEIJING -- I can testify from my own experience in Singapore that the country has evolved into a more compassionate society. In the early 1990s, the talk was all narrowly selfish behavior and being afraid to "lose" in a highly competitive society. Two decades later, Singaporeans take pride in behaving well to others, including disadvantaged members of society, even when nobody is watching.
SINGAPORE -- Freedom is being able to walk on the streets unmolested in the wee hours in the morning, to be able to leave one's door open and not fear being burgled. Freedom is the woman who can ride buses and trains alone. These are the freedoms that Singaporeans have, freedoms that were built on the vision and hard work of Lee Kuan Yew.
SEOUL -- Equipped with high-quality education, Asia's rising middle class will demand higher-quality public services. Increased confidence in their country's political systems and institutional structures, enhanced by improved perceptions of upward mobility, will help to strengthen the rule of law. And there will be more opportunities for women to learn and work, leading to greater gender equality.
There have always been crazy groups claiming they have some sort of divine or nationalistic right to kill other people. These groups have a few things in common -- psychotic tendencies, bad taste in fashion and a horrible sense of humor.
ISIS has been operating from the pedophile's playbook.
LAHORE, Pakistan -- I write from a country where people like you and I live with our families -- loving grandparents, self-sacrificing parents with babies, innocent children and know-it-all teenagers. Where we search for tools of peace-building to heal our fractured but shared world.
HAVANA -- The feeling that everything can be accelerated has made some within Cuba reevaluate the price per square foot of their homes, others predict where the first Apple Store will open in Havana, and not a few begin to glimpse the silhouette of a ferry linking the island with Florida.
Since many French people today think that the National Front should govern, let us try to understand what would happen if support for France's far-right National Front continues to grow until 2017.
SINGAPORE -- Lee Kuan Yew died on Monday at the age of 91. And with his demise, modern Asia has lost all of its postwar political wizards, men and women who carved entire countries from the clangor of colonial rule or from disputes with neighbors. This year, his beloved Singapore will mark its 50th anniversary of independence.
Though the founding father of a tiny country on the tip of the Malay peninsula, Lee Kuan Yew was one of the giants of the arriving Asian century. Not only did he miraculously transform the impoverished colonial entrepôt of Singapore, rife with drugs and prostitution, into a gleaming model city-state of the 21st century; his practical vision of soft-authoritarian capitalism also became the template for Deng Xiaoping's "opening up and reform" in China, laying the basis for the rise of a prosperous East Asia.
We discover, laid bare by an expert, the inner workings of the staggering extortion scheme that is the heart of Putin's system, and we understand that the act of revealing those workings is the most unforgivable crime in the country.
MOSCOW -- Today's Russia rejects Western-style competition, the rule of law and independent institutions while allowing capitalism and certain changes to economic and social policy under strictly controlled limits. The result is an attempt to strengthen the Soviet experiment and take it to its logical conclusion. Thus, the Putin regime defines "better" not in absolute terms, but as improving upon the performance of former Soviet leaders.
BERLIN -- Germany bears responsibility for Greece. But that has nothing to do with World War II.
TEL AVIV -- The Israeli right's current political dominance is fed by a widespread yearning for Jewish roots, a deep-seated fear of Arabs, and an uncompromising mistrust of a "world," the so-called international community, with which Jews have a centuries-old dispute. The left's yearning for peace is seen as naive, if not an exercise in political lunacy (and in either case an unpardonable betrayal of Jewish identity).