From homosexuality and HDB to Ministers’ pay and breaking news, one man still looms large – Lee Kuan Yew

The name is invoked ever so often. His thoughts and views are replayed time and again.

Even on a topic like gay sex, we cannot escape the looming shadow of Lee Kuan Yew. Five days ago, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said that Singapore society would have to decide which direction it wants to take in response to growing calls to repeal Section 377A which criminalises gay sex.

The Minister’s throwaway line was that even founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew had been “sympathetic” and “expressed his understanding for those who are gay.”

In fact, just two months ago, there were media headlines like “Lee Kuan Yew’s gay grandson publicly comes out of the closet.” This was in connection with Li Huanwu, son of Lee Hsien Yang, being featured with his partner in Out in Singapore, a media platform for “LGBTQ persons who wish to come out to family, friends and peers in the community.”

In another case, we have had international headlines like this one from The Guardian: “Lee Kuan Yew’s grandson faces legal action by Singapore government.”

This involves contempt of court charges against Li Shengwu, also son of Lee Hsien Yang. A week ago, the green light was given for Li Shengwu to proceed with his appeal to quash a court order that allowed the Attorney-General to serve papers on him in the United States.

Last month, at the National Day rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, as a precursor to announcing the Merdeka Generation Package, cried when he recounted Singapore’s struggle for independence and showed a clip of his father shouting Merdeka! He invoked Lee Kuan Yew’s name twice.

More than three years after his passing, it is safe to say that the LKY factor still looms large.

Let’s take the current unravelling of the HDB story. So very often, we are reminded that for decades, Lee Kuan Yew was the architect of the HDB story, even calling Singaporeans “daft” for taking their HDB homes for granted and not cherishing them as a valuable asset. In 2013, he declared: “We intend to keep the value of these homes up, it will never go down.”

And on Ministers’ pay, again it was Lee Kuan Yew who was the prime mover behind the benchmarking of the salaries of politicians and top civil servants against the top earners in the private sector.

So not only his thoughts and views, but also his policies and his forceful defence of them, continue to be a talking point today.

Seldom do we see one man’s legacy being unravelled so quickly. Critics will hit on the deficits while admirers will harp on the positives. The jury is still out.

In any case, we can understand why PM Lee said in a CNBC interview early this year that he could still hear the voice of his father in his head.

Singaporeans, too, are not immune. We are constantly reminded of his words, deeds and promises. No doubt, there will be further reminders come Sunday, 16 September – the day that Lee Kuan Yew would have turned 95.


Augustine Low

* The author is a proud but concerned citizen. Voicing independent, unplugged opinion is his contribution to citizen engagement.



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22 Responses to “From homosexuality and HDB to Ministers’ pay and breaking news, one man still looms large – Lee Kuan Yew”

  • Remy:

    LKY bad deeds are now being exposed. His legacy is looking horrid!

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  • Phillio:

    Good one Augustine. The dead man is still haunting SG. His son will burn his legacy.

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  • Boh Kia See:

    The dead man was a trait*r but his training as a lawyer trained him to articulate his thoughts forcefully. It does not make those thoughts right.

    This idea that the value of HDB flats will never go down is simply not true. I remember hearing him on TV when he said the value of HDB flats will “go up and up. It will never come down.” Anybody in their right mind will understand that will not happen even at the time he uttered those words.

    It is time to move on from the dead man–though his Clown son keeps resurrecting him to campaign on his behalf. It is utterly shameful for the Clown at his age, still require to cling to the past in order to survive politically.

    Harping on the past, will not change the future. We need to change the future for Singapore, to ensure a better life for our kids. The PAP belongs in the past and should be in the urn with the dead man. We should not be chained to the past with our potential arbitrarily set by the PAP. For example, no need to get a degree.

    Need to wake up the rest of the population and go door to door to spread the message–to vote for the future of our country.

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  • Doggone:

    There is no running away from karma which has caught up with LKY and family. Good riddance to them.

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  • oxygen:

    PASTE TENSE IN 1993 EXHORT PUBLICLY THE WONDER UNSPECIFIED FUTURE VALUE awaiting those smart peasants who bought Bishan new 5-rm flat for $500K, implying that it is going to worth a fortune.


    Remember Past Tense rejected the advice of Professor Krugman in 1990 that LEE-jiapore economic model is flawed and is unsustainable.

    NOW ADMITTEDLY IN HINDSIGHT, let us to a reality financial $$$$ check of his exuberant promises of wealth creation in public housing (actually owned by PAPpys) leased to peasants (their liability in reality AT LAW which Past Tense must know of from his law expertise).

    If I assumes a 3% NOMINAL annual appreciation rate (slightly better than the CPF return rate of 2.5% p.a.) over 25 years (from 1993 till now) period, the future value compounding factor is 2.093. In other words, its present value should be $1,045,600.

    And if I assumes a 5% NOMINAL annual appreciation rate, the future value compounding factor from 1993 to 2018 is 3.3863 and the present value of this $500K flat should sell for $1,693,000 in the resale market.


    So if we assumes an interest financing costs of 3% per annum (in 1993 interest rate was much higher than now), a 5-rm Bishan flat – if sold for $1,045,600 EARNS NOTHING for its seller and NOT factoring inflation impact of dollar depreciation in that period of 25 years as well.

    HANDS UP BOYS AND GIRLS, how many Bishan 5-rm flat today is sold in the resale market between $1,045,600 and $1,693,000 today?

    I HAVEN’T DONE ANY RESEARCH ON THIS AND I WON’T BOTHER TO DISCOVER what its future value at lease expired 75 years from now.

    But I should imagine that most property-mad infatuated morons would prefer a brand new condo for $1,693,000 than paying for a 25 yr old 5-rm Bishan flat otherwise is a DEPRECIATING LIABILITY forward.

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  • oxygen:

    S377A AND HDB Act SHOULD BE BE REPEALED by now – both statutory laws are “GAY” of truth and falsity differentiation. Homosexuality is NOT a crime anymore and neither is a lessee owning a LIABILITY of a leased dwelling is ever an “owner” of the same subject-matter belonging to another CONCEALED HIDDEN OWNERS who will only emerge at lease expiry but the lessee paid property tax and land, PARADOXICALLY AS WELL.

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  • Shape up or ship out PAP!:

    The king is dead. So lets move on and towards.
    This 4G PAP keeps resurrecting LKY
    cuz they are useless and have nothing to offer citizens.
    they are forever riding on the coat-tails of the 1G’s good work.
    There are still a big number of LKY loyalists and LHL knows it well.
    Ge will milk this sentiment till kingdom come.

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  • patriot of Temesak:

    Retribution & Karma for an Evil man who wanted to create an Elite Society & Self Proclaimed Aristocracy…

    A Pedigree White Horse will Sire at WORSE a Grey…well his pedigree sired IDIOTS & FREAKs!!!

    Abort those with lesser education parents in case they BREED a Cesspool of IDIOTS and [email protected] by LEEgalising ABORTION…

    Singapore lost One Million unborn through LEEgal Abortion from 1974-2016 and ABORTION at its LOWEST in 2016 SCREAMED The Shitty Times with an EDITORIAL gleefully written…

    TODAY…Singapore had to IMPORT Fake Talents mostly to REPLACE that Lost Generation of One MILLION!!!

    “Evil!!! where is thy STINK???”…in Hospital smelly and STINKING until the Demons drag you home to your Master in HELL!!!

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    The fable of LKY’s past greatness (from a fishing village to a thriving metropolis under social study education in schools) was already 3 years old (eversince he died) & memories of him from the masses were fading fast. And the world had been barreling forward, rapidly discarding past learning & formulating new social trends, technological advances & eco-system changes. But the PAP were clearly holding onto the past (LKY’s era) because they’re ideologically unable to meet the future – politically rigid (authoritarian) & economically incapable (Paramount State ideology which had been proven as a failure). But S’pore had flourished under different circumstances in the past (about 30 years) – championed as a bastion of Democracy by the West during the Cold War era, early recepient during the Globalization phase which were championed during the Reagan-Thatcher era to ‘destroy’ communist doctrine through economic warfare. But after the Cold War ended (& communism defeated), the game rules changed. China discarded communist doctrine (Marxism); embraced State Capitalism & opened for business to the West during the late 1980s/early 1990s. The first sign of S’pore’s vulnerability was during the 1997/98 Asian Financial Crisis. It created two fundamental shifts (one, China’s rise meant S’pore’s decline; two, Internet’s rise meant end of the manufacturing era, Knowledge Economy emerging). But the PAP’s DNA (Authoritarism, Paramount State) was detrimental to adjusting to the changing eco-system.
    What has happened (the last 20 years) was a constant PAP cycle of economic stagnation: restructuring the economy: & remaking new economic policies – rinse then repeat. Many S’poreans were unaware of this preferring to see it as a perfect business cycle (Cyclical condition of investments, excesses, recession & then repeat). But any one with an economic understanding, see the constant revamp as the PAP desperately restructure to adapt to global rule changes. Yet the consequence of the last economy remake have left S’pore highly vulnerable to the next stage (debt bubble pricked, higher global interest rate, default risk rising, US$ confluence of emerging economies debt default & capital flowing back to US capital markets for safety).
    The desperate clinging-on of PAP Ministers to the coattails of the late LKY shows the inability of the PAP to confront the future. Comments, please!

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  • nihon:

    why nobody remembered him as jap 007?

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  • PAP's magic wand:

    It’s the dickhonourable son who can’t let the dead man rest in peace. The dickhonourable son can’t do anything outstanding or say anything impressive to make people talked about him or mentioned his name instead of the dead man’s. The dickhonourable son is like a little boy boy who won’t let his father go.

    More of “Lee Kuan Yew” to come when election draws nearer.

    “Lee Kuan Yew” is PAP’s magic wand which won them 70% of votes in the last GE. Bet your last dollar on them using the same trick again!

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  • LIONS:


    P(ar$e)P is bringing SG N sgs backward$ in every sense.

    Pay top $,get monkey$.
    What a $hame!

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  • sad state:

    I just want my beloved country back.

    The Singapore where we served our NS and jobs are there for us, no need to get abused at interviews asking why must emply me when a cheaper foreigner is available!

    The 70% who voted for the pap is killing us.

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  • Bumptious Bores:

    Singapore so prides itself as 1st world but some laws are so archaic. Like 377a and the char bor’s charter all need removing and reviewing.

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  • Malaysia boleh Singapore bodoh:

    LKY reputation finally flushed down the toilet when it became clear he misled Singaporeans by saying the price of HDB flats will never go down. What he failed to mention was that he was referring to NEW flats sold by HDB. Of course, these flats can be priced higher than flats sold earlier by HDB because they would have the full 99-year lease and due to inflation. So they can be priced higher.

    Singaporeans were misled into believing that the price of their (depreciating – because of the 99-year lease) flats would also not go down. For a while it was true because of the property bubble created by PAP which saw the price of public housing increased 30x over the last 5 decade, doubling over since LHL became PM. But with current high prices reaching 5x annual income, the limit on affordability, the bubble is over. Now there is more “downside” than “upside” on the HDB resale market.

    Expect a major price correction (i.e., “crash”) after HDB owners finally accept what Lawrence Wong said (and PM LHL did not deny) – that at the end of the lease the price of HDB flat is ZERO – because it has to be returned to HDB without compensation so the land can be recycled.

    No more “LKY card” at the next GE. LKY’s name will not save PAP as in GE2015. Regime change is finally in the cards. You can see the light at the end of the PAP tunnel.

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  • SureDie:

    You will die living by the words of lawyer lee

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  • rukidding:

    I “marvel” and always “laugh” at “How clever” he uses his choice of words…..hmmmm….you know,…the word “select” is quite “ambigious” when you put it in as “Select Committee” ???

    “Select” because of their “ability to be fair and protect the People’s interest”???


    “Select”….because of their “ability” to “Toll the Line” ????

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    @ oxygen:
    The PAST TENSE was a lawyer by training but didn’t go into legal practice in the private sector (no commercial experience). No economic nor high finance understanding either. In short, he had been a (Authoritarian) career politician all his life & weaponized law (sedition laws, Marxism slurs) to get his way.
    S’pore’s fortunate beginnings were anchored through adopting Dr Albert Winsemius’ post-war economic recovery & reconstruction experience in the Netherlands. Something which the past tense had reluctantly adopted (by default) after S’pore was booted out from M’sia. But it (Winsemius doctrine) was simply “harvesting the low-lying economic fruits” – Infrastructural Spending (Urbanisation, people’s housing), Near full employment (attract MNC manufacturing investments) & flow-through benefits/trickle down effects from Manufacturing (Banking & finance, logistics, trade & middleman roles). S’pore had a good run from adopting Winsemius’ economic formula. But it ran it’s course by mid-1990s coinciding with Krugman’s 1994 article on Asia’s economic miracle myth.
    And S’pore had been in Stasis eversince the late 1990s. China stole S’pore’s 3 meals as they displace us for global manufacturing investments. Simply, S’pore can’t match China for costs & labour inputs.
    What happened next was a transition from the impotent seat-warmer to the present tense (product of past tense). But the seat-warmer had started the Asset Enhancement Policy in early 1990s after an electoral setback. And the present tense took it to the next level. Present tense was an Oxford Mathematician & was born with a “Silver Spoon” in his mouth. Like all Meritocratic Scholars & products from PAP’s carefully constructed Elitist eco-system, they’re infallible. Under the present tense, S’pore transited to a Corporate tax haven, wealth management (Casinos) & a laundromat for 1MDB, Myanmar generals, Indonesian financial crooks. Foreign capital rushed in & inflated S’pore’s property market into a bubble. A Mathematician, he pursue a population growth policy (more digits) to grow GDP metrics (expand eat ‘n shit economy) & to keep property prices high.
    That how S’pore economy is where it is, flawed & unsustainable.


    Remember Past Tense rejected the advice of Professor Krugman in 1990 that LEE-jiapore economic model is flawed and is unsustainable.

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    @ oxygen:
    Housing in S’pore is a Hobson’s choice, mate! Everyone needs a roof over their heads. It’s a “Take it or leave it” situation where there’s little alternative unless one considers Changi Beach.
    It’s also a dilemma situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives, especially ones that are equally undesirable. Do you overpay, overcommit for an overpriced, undersized brand new condo unit or pay for a DEPRECIATING LIABILITY that goes to zero?
    We have the 70% to thank for this dismal situation. I see no end to this continual downward spiral to the bottom.

    oxygen: But I should imagine that most property-mad infatuated morons would prefer a brand new condo for $1,693,000 than paying for a 25 yr old 5-rm Bishan flat otherwise is a DEPRECIATING LIABILITY forward.

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  • DayOfReckoning:

    It is what LKY had created in the market and doing to its people. The idea mooted by the govt is not only not feasible considering the entire land is for sale(not one or two blocks of prime located profit making plot of land which is easy to resolve)), because of the greed of instant wealth and GLORY.

    The people are now like barracudas in slimy waters killing for survivl(who wants to be the loser in the market? )

    Wolves leaders breed wolves. Pig brains breed pig brains.

    Your greatest asset is your people(corrupted souls) and how you have corrupted their lives. You will need more idiotic laws to keep governing an island of idiots.

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    //LKY reputation finally flushed down the toilet when it became clear he misled Singaporeans by saying the price of HDB flats will never go down.//

    now white idiots and gang trying hard to educate sinkies who again may be forgetful about the true meaning (the factually and legally correct one) of lease and ownership – while the “PRICE WILL NEVER GO DOWN” is hidden with plenty of smoke by the white idiots lest legally conscious sinkies start to refresh their memory on the word ‘MISLEAD’ on the white idiotic statement and associate it with the timing when they purchased their flats.

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  • rukidding:

    Got lah !….the old man did say the HDiB price will come down if Opposition took over !

    He was basically using “Threats and fear” ! ( Dictator in the making )

    Well,…did HDiB price fall ???…..NOPE !

    This Party of “Crooks” will say and do anything to “get rich” and “hold on to Power” !

    A bunch of “addicted” Money$$$ and Double face people !

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