News and views from an unique perspective

Lee Kuan Yew: Singapore was a BARREN island in 1965

Posted by temasektimes on September 22, 2012

Singapore was once the crown jewel of the British empire, after being founded by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819, but according to Singapore Supreme Leader Lee Kuan Yew, it was a BARREN island when it was booted out of Malaysia in 1965.

The stunning remarks were made by Lee at the Istana last night where he hosted French oil giant TOTAL to dinner. Lee has been on the firm’s International Advisory Committee since 1993.

Though Lee is only a MP now and not a minister, he is allowed to use the Istana to host the dinner. It is not known if he is hosting it in his personal capacity as TOTAL’s adviser or in his official position as MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC.

Speaking to reports present at the dinner, Lee recalled how Singapore overcame the ‘odds’ after becoming independent in 1965.

“We were suddenly confronted with the challenge of making a living for two million people on a BARREN island at the southernmost tip of Asia, which gives us the advantage of servicing all the ships that cross the Atlantic and the Pacific.”

He also lavished generous self-praise on himself for making Singapore safe for foreigners:

“But more than that, we learned how to create conditions which gave confidence to investors, and made living in Singapore safe for foreigners and their families.”

TOTAL’s chairman and chief executive, Christophe de Margerie, paid tribute to Mr Lee as Singapore’s founding father and invited him to stay on the company’s Advisory Committee for as long as he wants.

At 89 years of age, Lee is currently the world’s longest living MP. Despite rumors about his poor health, he still mustered the strength to give his subservient subjects a piece of his mind recently for not making enough babies.


73 Responses to “Lee Kuan Yew: Singapore was a BARREN island in 1965”

  1. spotlessleopard said

    hahahahahaha……..”So What do You Think”

    • Singkaypoh said

      And God said, Let us make man, to populate this BARREN little red dot. And God gave them his blessing and said to them, Be fertile and have increase, but stop at 2, or else! And God said, See, I have given you PAP, HDB, COE, MRT, FT, & GIC. And God saw everything which he had made and it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. And on the seventh day he rested, & collected his big fat pension. Praise be to HIM!

      • mahbok tan said

        But “GOD” did mention that he will rise from his Condo No 6 if something is wrong in SGpore…..!!!! Thats not “GOD” but “DOG”…….!!!
        He can say what he wants , I just want to see how he gonna wake up from his Condo No 6….thats the interesting part???
        O MY GOD……..!!!

  2. andrew myers said

    Auctually what the former PM is saying is utterly one sided with the truth covered up; the truth is Sir Stamford Raffles borrowed the state of Singapore by than the sultan of Johor.So one can dismiss it as it was stolen from the Sultan .

  3. Kim said

    One thing for sure. Lee Kuan Yew will not do it for free to be TOTAL international Advisory Committee if he isn’t paid.

    • ex-SMRT taxi driver said

      Of course got good use!! Do not forget his position can make wonders!!!
      Can take advantage of it while still can..
      This is the hard truth!!

    • compatriot said

      I think there was a error in the statutory processess of state diplomacy by the current Republic of Singapore government,As a born citizen I have this question as a rights of tribute to seek the reason why our State Istana were being used by a MP with no cabinet status to accommodate a non diplomatic sovereign state subject with no diplomatic credentials

      Parliamentarians,if you will,kindly dont play deaf and dumb I should like to be enlighten if there is an error

      Singaporeans have a duty to fight,defend and preserve perspectively their principles of integrity and sovereignty

  4. P Koh said

    We all owe it to LKY for turning the country around into a 1st World Country and for that many Singaporeans particularly the older folks do salute him and honour him. However good it may be to bask in past glory but the environment has drastically changed with new technology and advancement in the sciences and our Ministers must move on and be more creative in management. It is not just keeping the country safe for all but also to ensure that besides survival of the fittest they must also that action to uplift those who are not able to keep up with the times by providing every assitance available to ensure that poorer Singaporeans are not left out to rot in the confines of their twillight years. Only then can we pride ourselves as a Caring and Gracious Singaporean society.
    Lamenting on the lack of babies production without providing the right atmosphere and environment is not going to help. How can the government help to remove the inhibition that it is very expensive to raise a family in Singapore and to bring about work-life balance that can be fruitful and enriching in an all-round living condition?

  5. Lawrence Lim said

    Well done, Mr. Lee, you are an international legend.

  6. Tan Yan ren said

    I do not see anything wrong with what the MM said nor the usage of Istana wrong.Do you see anything wrong? or else why raise this event? am now a little suspicious of TR review emeritus’intention of putting this article up .SAY it TR Emeritus!be open and democratic and stop F…ing around unless you have an agenda. DO YOU?

    • Goondu said

      I do see something very wrong. Firstly MM is now only an MP like all other MPs. How can he be allowed to conduct his private business at the Istana? Does that mean MP Low Thia Kiang can also use the istana for his business discussion? The Istana is for head of state to conduct the country business. Can a clerk use the CEO office to conduct private business? You keeping your brain unused so that you can sell it later as brand new?

  7. SgGuy said

    He is both senile and also likes to rewrite Singapore’s history as he likes. And all his sons and daughter will get gun-carriage funerals in time. PUI!!

  8. Pink Panty Long said

    I used to be one of the daft Singaporeans to believe in this crap from our Supreme Liar…oops, LEEder…oops, Leader. BUT NOT ANYMORE…

  9. Jack said

    Who was the one who wanted to merge with the federal states of Malaysia? And what happen to those who disagree?

  10. jer said

    You make good points in your write-up. Unfortunatgely, you’ve chosen the wrong picture to illustrate it. Why one of Kuan Yew? We all know what he looks like. Better to have used a picture that illustrstes your points and which shows the barreness of this island in 1965.

    You could have used a pic of built-up Chinatown with its streets teeming with people; perhaps one of Parliament House and the old Esplanade area, or better still Shenton Way or Raffles Place with all the big buildings, cars.

    A picture of the many sprawling holiday bungalows in the east is another option. The flats at Tanjong Pagar or the shophouses in the Bras Basah/Middle Rosad area fit the bill too, as would any of the then landed housing estates in the east (Telok Kurau, Frankel, Opera estate) and the Serangoon area.

    Better still, use pix of the whole lot!

    It’s not too late to change your visuals.

  11. Pink Panty Long said

    What a power, wealth and fame hogging old fart…

  12. The Old Fart Up The Lorry. said

    Obviously, the Old Fart is in an advanced stage of dementia and was hallucinating and talking nonsense at the dinner.

    I guess we have to tolerate him for a while more as the Old Zombie looks like a decaying corpse and will be kicking the bucket any time soon.

  13. Julie Ong said

    It’s OK for Mr Lee Kuan Yew to brag a little. However, he’s gone way over the top! Did he mention his failures and serious mistakes? I would not even want to labour this point as it is really ‘matters of the past’.

    One thing is for sure and certain. He has no humility. Thinks far too much of his cleverness and abilities. He’s still talking, but I’m not sure about the number of citizens listening. Rather tedious and irksome, I’d say.

    I lived through those years when we’re about 2 million people and I can agree that it was a rather uncertain period. Luckily, he did not exaggerate it too much otherwise I’d not hold back with my tongue lashing. However, the credit must also go to his colleagues and most importantly the people who supported his arguments/views that nothing is for free and nobody owes us anything. Imagine if the citizens do not cooperate and instead keep asking for more and more without the commensurate productivity improvements…..we may then not be talking here.

    Mr Lee, for your own sake do call it a day. Put your feet up and take things easy. Loosen up a bit or you’ll become loose! Frankly, you did well…..but you’ve also failed in
    some crucial areas. As usual the truism applies: Nobody is perfect.

    You should now leave the matters of state to your son. If he makes it I’m sure the
    masses will applaud him. If he fails……someone else must take over!

    I hope that you will agree to this. Or are you still in the game where you and you
    alone can opt to hit ‘below the belt’? And intending to rule forever and the day!

    • mahbok tan said

      Not to worry julie….to brag and telling the stories through his own mouth is his right. We agree and respect it.
      But isn’t it a little arrogant….!!! His time is over and I am just waiting for him to rise up from his Condo No 6 !!
      To see for myself whther this man is what he thought who he was…????

    • jer said

      Kuan Yew didn’t exaggerate too much??!! Julie, if you really lived during the early 60s, or even the 50s, then you must be well aware that this place was NOT barren. Not by a very very long shot!!! LKY went way over the top again.

      It had any number of office bldgs, shops and shop houses, landed housing estates, low=rise flats, schools, places of worship, hotels, department stores, hospitals, farms, and of course kampongs. I won’t even mention a thriving port.

      Cars, bicycles and trishaws were everywhere, because there were good metalled roads all over the island. There were also parks, and a botanic garden!

      This is barren???? This is a swampland (LKY’s past claim)?? Come on!

      • Julie Ong said

        Thanks an awful lot, Jer.

        Funny, how I really like it when others have a dissenting view. At least they are paying attention/scrutinising the details. Yes, I did slip off a fair bit insofar as ‘barrenness’ is concerned in the year 1965. Things were pretty quiet, 20 cents could buy you fish ball noodle soup, add 10 cents and you can have it dry, i.e. with chilly sauce or tomato sauce or combination of both. 5 cents for bus fares for short distances, STC (Singapore Traction Company) buses, Green Bus, Tay Koh Yat Bus and not forgetting the ‘pirates’ (pirate taxis). I like Cheng Tng, Tau Suan and sometimes Ang Tau,
        just three from the range at the Cheng Tng stall at Queenstown. A bowl of any of these is only 10 cents. I hope that my memory has not failed me. Are you able to confirm the veracity of my narrative stated above?

        Yes, you are right! Singapore was already a fairly established place then.

        So, back to the source. I was swayed again! Alas, I thought that he should be ‘let off the hook’ (me gone soft), and did not ponder carefully over his statements/claims. My mistake. Mr Lee Senior did certainly pull a fast one and thankfully you pointed it out for all to know and understand. Is this man really trustworthy?
        Looks to me to be a ‘Sian Tau’ (liar, deceiver). This is an idiomatic/sarcastic expression as literally meaning that ‘he’s the chief saint’ in the Hokien dialect.

        I learnt something here: how to cover my backside when exposed!
        How? Just admit that I am wrong!

        At least I don’t have to feel bad or ashamed.

        I’m only human.

      • Vic said

        Hello Julie, You really liven up this forum. Great to read your post. Hehehe.

  14. Alex said

    I’m sure he has earned his right to do so.

  15. People of Barren Island said

    All coming out from good school with good results must be talented so must invite them to join Papaya party. They must then be paid top dollars because they are good (because I said so) and we don’t want to lose them. If you are talented (according to me), then you and your family are welcome to stay here & work, even at expense of our citizens who are not so good and had become one-eyed dragons.

  16. Commando Pants said

    Corruption and ultimate population control was Harrys building blocks of choice with some laundering thrown in, thats why its not a BARREN Island, cheeky f++ker!

    • Commando Pants said

      Im pretty sure this guy has actually the magic to suck his own 1 inch cock… My God his mind must be like a Sci-Fi movie way beyond anything Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg and James Cameron could produce after being on a 3 day acid trip on the moon…. This muppet needs a Oscar for being the best fuckwit for 57+ years… what a twat.

  17. Singkaypoh said

    Haha, very approrpiate for a TOTALitarian.
    As for being BARREN, yes thanks to “2 is enuff”. Lots of sexy scandals to keep the plebs entertained, not enuff $$$ to make & feed babies. Mebbe if the MIWs didn’t interfere so much with the ppl’s sex lives & tax them less, they will miraculously produce as many babies as necessary 🙂

  18. Uniquely Singapore said

    Yeah..if not for him..Sg inc will still be a mosquito infested island with uncontacted tribes society today.

  19. JG said

    Yep, Singapore was a “barren island”, with just a few fishing villages, largely forested. And then one day, while resting after a long day of trekking in the jungle, he saw a lion. The lion flee away and that was how he named the island “Singapura”. Yes, LKY is that old, he predates to Sang Nila Utama!!

  20. Ron said

    Here comes the Teh Tarik party (TT) again with its sarcastic remarks. Singapore owes a great gratitude to LKY. The Istana is the appropriate location to host the dinner in honour of this great person and to welcome one of the largest oil companies here.

    If TT wants a function, it has to hold that at a hawker centre. What has TT done for Spore? Except to throw a few pebbles here and there?

  21. Zep said

    come on. most of our parents or grandparents aren’t native born singaporeans.

    and without lee kuan yew, face it, would you guys be able to queue for your iPhones 5s today?

    • sgp citizen with aus PR said

      Yes what you said were not wrong. You can continue to queue up for your iPhone 5, not 5s for your info.
      I will queue up mine in Aus.

    • Pink Panty Loong said

      Without the cooperation and hardworking Singaporeans (both past & present), can that OLD FART bragged to the French TODAY?!

      • Kkl said

        Malaysian are equally hardworking. They also have rich in resources like oil. Why afterbmore than 4 decades, their per capita GDP was only US$ 9,700 per annum vs Singapore of US$50,123 per annum for 2011.

      • Compare apple to apple said

        Which race is the majority in sgp and msia? Is it the same race in these two countries? That should explain why.

  22. ken said

    In the first place why are we booted out??
    Den what u want to proof?
    and why your daughter still not married? Babies??

  23. Wasn’t that the reason why it was thrown out? Would you throw away half a kilo of diamond?

  24. Robin hood said

    A slip of the tongue is the fault of the mind, or is it really with him? A very tight slap indeed on the British. Perhaps he has his own definition of the word barren.
    He is a very frustrated guy after the expulsion o f Singapore from Malaysia. The wiser Tunku did what he had to do for the sake of peace and stability of federation. He has to watch his tongue as he fades into his twilight years.

  25. Naivety said

    How come there is no gazetted Public Holiday being declared during his recent 89 Years Old “Bird-Day”?

    • Joe Leweiss said

      Don’t you worry there is one on coming soon. If you look carefully the aura of “up the lorry”
      is on him. Anytime babe the calling is coming. 40% will be rejoiced.

      • Julie Ong said

        Hello, Mr Joe Leweiss.

        You are wicked! Kind of light hearted though.

        I can never understand why our leaders are so obsessed with money. As you’ve said when the lorry arrives ……and take our bodies away….. then what of our riches and material goods?

        I may only be a thousandaire (I’ve only thousands), but believe me I’ll spend up big if I can see good sense/returns for doing so. This ‘meanie and tightwad’ policy of the government towards the locally born and bred citizens is entirely abhorrent in my view. The government seem to be single minded in making life more expensive (in particular HDB prices) and difficult (through the PM’s statement that we can have 6 million people). I’m really left dumbfounded. How are we to raise families? It is clear to most that an HDB flat will be a lifelong burden instead of the ‘Affordable housing for all’ as promised by this PAP government. Also, where are we going to get the decent paying jobs just to stave off the increasing rise in the cost of living? This import of more people will lead to reduced pay and inferior condition as more people will compete for fewer available jobs. An ’employers’ market’, so to speak. Unfortunately, for us it is driving in reverse …..and we’ll be drawn further and further away from the Singapore Dream….. that of owning your own home and having children and being able to live Comfortably and Happily. A shame. This government is truly clueless. They do not understand or just simply doesn’t care about the ‘Responsibility of Government’. Indeed, this is a government for the rich….to the rich……and all out to enrich themselves!

        Do you still believe them?

        Still want to vote them in to lord over us?

    • mahbok tan said

      you must wait for his moving to Condo No 6 for that day….!!!

    • Singkaypoh said

      Becoz u all must work harder & make more babies, no time to relax, ie no holidays! holidays only for old farts who collect big pensions

    • Singkaypoh said

      And BTW, bird-days we will hear a lot of “bird-talk” only 🙂

  26. P Koh said

    Don’t worry fellow Singaporeans, PM Lee has just said that it is likely for this barren land to house 6 million people nothwithstanding that with just over 5 millions, we are already facing a lot of problems. Perhaps more FTs are on the cards. Please brace yourself for a even harder landing.

  27. Silver77 said

    OldLee loves to talk about the past glory…..
    But will not talk about the present greed, wealth, and evil deeds….

  28. Gerry said

    LKY trying to cover -up PAP’s mistakes and failures.
    (1) low productivity of Singapore economy
    (2) low birth rate which started from LKY’s “Stop at 2” policy
    (3) depressed local wages
    (4) failing to plan for the many foreigners it allowed into Singapore
    (5) shortage, “shrinking” and high cost of public housing
    (6) shortage of public buses and MRT trains
    (7) shortage of hospitals, doctors and nursing homes
    (8) shortage of teachers and places in schools for Singaporeans
    (9) gave foreigners a big advantage over Singaporeans in job market
    (10) shortage of jobs for Singaporeans
    (11) foreigners taking jobs away from Singaporeans
    (12) frequent breakdowns of MRT trains
    (13) overcrowded public transport (buses and MRT trains)
    (14) bailout of public transport (failed privatisation)
    (15) frequent 50-year “ponding”
    (16) high inflation (Singapore more expensive than Hong Kong)
    (17) high cost of education and healthcare
    (18) high cost of electricity (failed privatisation)
    (19) poor air quality as per WHO Air Quality Guidelines
    (20) depleted CPF accounts after buying “affordable” HDB flats
    (21) many CPF accounts below CPF Minimum Sum
    (22) massive (billions) losses of taxpayers’ money by Temasek / GIC
    (23) wasteful purchases by Government agencies like NParks
    (24) made Singapore a “tuition nation”
    (25) real income likely to fall this year
    (26) failing to provide Singaporeans with Swiss Standard of Living

  29. Lim said

    From a barren island – just a piece of rock, Our maker planted the seeds and lo behold – Marina Sands and RWS casinos sprout up. Suddenly millionaires abound in Pinnacles and everywhere. So many foreigners with their wealth and dollars flock to this barren island because Our maker made it so safe and welcoming for them. We are neo-colonised by the Chinese, Indians, Pinoys and the barren indigenous people being priced out of their homes and jobs have no other choice but to retreat into caves and holes while the barren rock flourished with its league of ill-gotten money, aliens and supercars. If can’t survive or terminally sick but can’t afford health costs, sell house or if no house, there are only 3 life annuity choices -Marina Sands hotel jump down, MRT tracks jump down or Bedok reservoir drown. LKY said “we learned how to create conditions which gave confidence to investors, and made living in Singapore safe for foreigners and their families.” – note he said `safe for foreigners and their families’. Why not for Sporeans or their conscripted sons who make it safe for aliens by defending them?

    • Populist said

      Hi LIm. So have you decided which 3 life annuity choices -Marina Sands hotel jump down, MRT tracks jump down or Bedok reservoir drown you had made. Please let me know so that I could make a big stage to witness the event.

      • Lim said

        Intolerance- exactly what Lawrence Wong warned you about. This is how National conversation is conducted – a populist example

      • SAW10 akan datang said

        You should start the ball rolling by jumping with your family members first.
        Do a poll with readers if you need more suggestion on venue and methods.

  30. Populist said

    We need to pay due respect to the transformation what LKY and its Government has done for Singapore. In 1965, our per Capita GDP was only US$516. However, in 2011, our per Capita GDP has made a quantum leap to US$50,123. If you look across the coast way Malaysia, it per capita GDP in 1960 was already ahead of Singapore. Malaysia per Capita GDP was US$550 in 1960. After more than 4 decades, Malaysia could only achieved a paltry per Capita of US$9,700 in 2011.

    I personally had enjoyed the fruits of the labor, I am grateful to LKY.

    • disciple of LimPeh said

      I am also grateful to LimPeh LKY….a lot more than you can imagine!

      I have learnt how to fix those whom I deemed are a threat.
      I’ve learnt to put my family interest above all else.
      I’ve learnt to trust others only when I have them by the balls.
      I’ve learnt that to succeed, I must be a master in manipulating everyone around,
      I’ve learnt to convince others so well that even lies can become hard truths,
      I’ve learnt self preservation, that it s better to make others sacrifice their lives than my own when it comes to the crunch.

      What do you think? Am I not a more worthy disciple than you ?

    • Loser cum quitter said

      Does it mean that I didn’t enjoy the fruits of labour so I should not be grateful to him?
      You have trade off political rights for economical rights which are short lived. Spore end up in this sorry state becos of people like you, 60.1% to be exact.

  31. Chuister said

    I still have photos from my uncle from around the early 1950s. Dey, Kallang Airport already existed, and already got DC3s flying. Dey, old man, who u smoking!

  32. heart landers said

    A bit of a boast…. 2 million jobless needing jobs.

  33. While undoubedly LKY had the distinction of leading an illustrious team of PAP luminaries and stalwarts to build S’pore from 3rd to 1st world status, he sadly continues to sideline his contemporaries esp Dr Goh KS who is no less if not a bigger founding father for the breadth and depth of his economic vision and contributions.
    What does LKY seek 2 gain by hia bragging and marginalising DR Goh KS and Mr Rajaratnam to take all credit both due and undue to himself, when his mtg with his Creator is just around the corner? Can he take anything along with him when he has finished his race of life? Why still boast and bluff, when he can b more humble to acknowledge that Dr Goh KS, Mr Rajaratnam, Dr Toh CC and Mr Ong Eng Guan had also played vital roles in sinkieland’s progress and development, no less than he? Wasn’t he personally responsible for some huge errors that hv caused so much misery and problems for our little red dot, eg his elitist policies, merger with Malaysia, ‘stop at 2’ policy, etc., etc??
    At his age, it’s really time for introspection, not the continued relentless projection of his greatness and great deeds and discounting the shortfalls and flops.

  34. DZZ said

    Then God said, “Let there be light” ; and there was light.

  35. Thanks a lot bro

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