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30 Inspirational Quotes and Sayings by Lee Kuan Yew

Raksha Kulkarni Oct 20, 2020
Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of Singapore, has been a real pillar of strength to millions of Singaporeans for many years. This great man will always be an inspiration to all. His beliefs and words have touched our hearts. This story pays tribute by compiling a few of his inspirational quotes.

Did You Know?

During World War II, Lee Kuan had a business of stationary glue that was made from tapioca. It was sold as "Stikfas". The logo was seen on his wedding cake.
Lee Kuan Yew was born on September 16, 1923. He was actually named Harry Lee Kuan Yew by his grandfather. He decided to omit the English name when he returned to Singapore, after his education. His education took time because of World War II.
After the war, he went to study law at Fitzwilliam College, at Cambridge University, and graduated with a double starred-first-class honors. He decided to return to Singapore and practice law. He started working in a firm and as a legal advisory board for student unions and trade.
In 1954, he joined with his group of educated friends and formed a socialist government named "People's Action Party (PAP)". In 1959, PAP won a majority of the seats, and Lee became the first Prime Minister of Singapore.
As Prime Minister, Lee decided to merge Singapore with Federation of Malaysia in 1962. In 1965, both nations separated which resulted in forming the Republic of Singapore.

Lee Kuan Yew is rightly described as "third world to the first world in a single generation". He has worked as ministerial positions for almost 56 years.
He was the Prime Minister from 1959 - 1990. He was then appointed as the Senior Minister till 2004. His elder son, Lee Hsein Loong became the Prime Minister, and the father served as a Minister Mentor until 2011. Even after that, he served in the Tanjong Pagar constituency until his death on March 23, 2015.
His opinions and beliefs on various subjects like racial harmony or national service has changed the way we think. He was a great leader, and here are some of his most inspiring quotes.

Quotes by Lee Kuan Yew

I have been accused of many things in my life, but not even my worst enemy has ever accused me of being afraid to speak my mind.
One-man-one-vote is a most difficult form of government.. Results can be erratic.
What I fear is complacency. When things always become better, people tend to want more for less work.
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.
If Singapore is a nanny state, then I am proud to have fostered one.
I do not yet know of a man who became a leader as a result of having undergone a leadership course.
Every person, genius or moron, has a right to reproduce himself.
Life is not just eating, drinking, television and cinema...The human mind must be creative, must be self-generating; it cannot depend on just gadgets to amuse itself.
Singaporeans, if I can chose an analogy, we are the hard disk of a computer, the foreign talent are the megabytes you add to your storage capacity. So your computer never hangs because you got enormous storage capacity.
If you deprive yourself of outsourcing and your competitors do not, you're putting yourself out of business.
I would not call myself 'fun-loving' or 'light-hearted'. But I am not serious all the time. Everyone needs to have a good laugh now and then, to see the funny side of things, and to laugh at himself.
I'm very determined. If I decide that something is worth doing, then I'll put my heart and soul to it. The whole ground can be against me, but if I know it is right, I'll do it.
Rest on laurels? I wish I could do that. No, you rest when you're dead.
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.
I always tried to be correct, not politically correct.
Even from my sickbed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel that something is going wrong, I will get up. Those who believe that after I have left the government as prime minister, I will go into a permanent retirement really should have their heads examined.
If you can't force or are unwilling to force your people to follow you, with or without threats, you are not a leader.
I'm not as active as before; but enough to fight an election.
Anybody who decides to take me on needs to put on knuckle-dusters. If you think you can hurt me more than I can hurt you, try. There is no way you can govern a Chinese society.
Well, first you must be temperamentally suited, and there must be constant adjustment and give and take. I mean no marriages are made in heaven.
If you can't think because you can't chew, try a banana.
Usually, I read biographies of interesting people. I am not attracted to novels - make-believe, or recreations of what people think life should be.
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.
I'm very determined. If I decide that something is worth doing, then I'll put my heart and soul to it. The whole ground can be against me, but if I know it is right, I'll do it.
I'm not interested in changing either my suit or my car or whatever with every change in fashion. That's irrelevant. I don't judge myself or my friends by their fashions. Of course, I don't approve of people who are sloppy and unnecessarily shabby or disheveled... But I'm not impressed by a $5,000 or $10,000 Armani suit.
Not all who oppose the PAP are communists; some are communists, some reactionaries, some opportunists and some merely confused.
I wish I can meet my wife in the hereafter, but I don't think I will. I just cease to exist just as she has ceased to exist - otherwise the other world would be overpopulated.
You know the Singaporean. He is a hard-working, industrious, rugged individual. Or we would not have made the grade. But let us also recognize that he is a champion grumbler.
At the end of the day, what I cherish most are the human relationships. With the unfailing support of my wife and partner I have lived my life to the fullest. It is the friendships I made and the close family ties I nurtured that have provided me with that sense of satisfaction at a life well lived, and have made me what I am.
I have no regrets. I have spent my life, so much of it, building up this country. There's nothing more that I need to do. At the end of the day, what have I got? A successful Singapore. What have I given up? My life.