Place to visit in Singapore: Lee Kuan Yew, A Human Being Of Piercing Intellect Together With Profound Principle: Tony Blair

By  POSTED: 28 Mar 2015 08:08URL: to practise inwards singapore/lee-kuan-yew-a-man-of/1748474.html

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair remembers Singapore's founding manly individual nurture Lee Kuan Yew: "He was in all likelihood the foremost leader inwards that afterwards component subdivision of the 20th century to sympathise that governing was almost efficacy rather than ideology."

LONDON: In an interview alongside Channel NewsAsia, old British Prime Minister Tony Blair recounted his past times meetings alongside Singapore's founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, together with described Mr Lee equally i of the most pregnant leaders of the belatedly 20th century.

Why did y'all seek a coming together alongside Lee Kuan Yew on winning the leadership of the thus opposition Labour Party inwards the UK?
Tony Blair: At the time, I had go leader of the Labour Party. I was leader of the opposition, wanted to win an election, but I also wanted to acquire something almost government. And I had studied together with admired Lee Kuan Yew for a long menstruum of time. Even though at that spot were evidently political differences, inwards damage of tradition together with political history, soundless I had watched him rattling carefully together with studied him.
I went to Singapore together with went to consider him, together with I ever retrieve because the foremost inquiry he set to me - rather bluntly - was: 'So why possess got y'all come upwards to consider me?' And I said to him: 'Well, I've come upwards to consider y'all because I desire to listen from y'all how y'all think I tin give the sack win, together with acquire from y'all how I should govern.' He sort of took that in, inwards a agency he did, together with thus but literally gave me fabulous political advice almost how to win together with thus some rattling skilful advice almost how to govern.

Was his thinking of import to you?
Blair: His thinking was rattling important. I think this is i of his underestimated achievements, is that, inwards my view, he was in all likelihood the foremost leader inwards that afterwards component subdivision of the 20th century to sympathise that governing was almost efficacy rather than ideology, together with that the most of import thing inwards politics is to search for the correct reply together with thus practise it, rather than start from some ideological predisposition together with thus piece of job out how y'all check the facts around it. He was the individual who, when he came to build Singapore, said, right, what's going to brand this province great? And thus he ready out to practise it.
And that approach, I think, didn't but excite me but excited a whole lot of politicians, whether they were from centre left or centre right. That was the correct approach to government.

Is it fair to state that Lee Kuan Yew has had a pregnant acquit upon on British politics?
Blair: I think Lee Kuan Yew has had a huge acquit upon on global politics. I think from his obvious influence on the Chinese leadership together with the evolution of China, to people similar myself inwards the UK, people similar Bill Clinton inwards the USA, together with others who saw inwards him a model for how y'all should attempt to set the interests of the province first, that existence an effective executive was every flake equally of import equally existence a dandy communicator.
And thus on rattling specific issues similar constabulary together with order, how y'all acquire the correct intellectual upper-case missive of the alphabet into your country, he was a pioneer. He was also a pioneer inwards this feel that he didn't allow whatever faux feel of economical nationalism to acquire inwards the agency of genuine national economical achievement. So for him to acquire English linguistic communication was obvious, because that linguistic communication was going to connect Singapore to the world. It didn't affair how many people said, oh no, you're denying us the pride inwards our local languages. He said, no, what nosotros possess got got to practise is brand this province a province that tin give the sack merchandise alongside the remainder of the world.
When it came to bringing describe of piece of job organisation inwards from abroad, at that spot was no faux pride almost it. He said, okay, let's convey inwards the best. And now, of course, Singapore is an actual exporter of intellectual capital. So, this is what I think made him pregnant together with great.

Was his authoritarianism justified past times the results, inwards damage of what he achieved for Singapore?
Blair: Look, I think at that spot are things y'all tin give the sack acquire from unlike societies, together with things y'all can't. You're never going to possess got that same organisation inwards a western developed democracy, but at that spot are things soundless that nosotros tin give the sack learn. Law together with order, I was a huge advocate of a stronger seat on constabulary together with order, together with Singapore was i of the countries I looked to for that because i of the things he understood was that if y'all desire your economic scheme together with social club to business office today, people possess got got to experience safe. And that citizen safety was a major component subdivision of his achievement.
In addition, together with it's rattling of import people on the progressive side of politics realise this: He was an absolute champion of cultural integration from the beginning, together with was rattling clear together with agency ahead of his fourth dimension inwards recognising that where y'all terminate upwards alongside cultures living separately inwards i country, you're going to acquire big problems. So he was non but an advocate but an implementer of the thought that people from unlike cultures should alive adjacent together with should honour each other, together with process each other equally equals.

A lot of countries around the globe are searching for republic together with pushing towards democracy. What tin give the sack the remainder of the globe acquire from the Singapore model?
Blair: I don't think Singapore teaches us thus much almost republic or non republic because I think unlike countries possess got unlike systems. I think what it teaches us is far to a greater extent than to practise alongside the lineament of governance, together with the lineament of executive decision-making.
When people state to me, together with they do, inwards the piece of job I practise around the world, y'all ofttimes acquire presidents or prime number ministers who state 'make me similar Singapore'. And I state to them, well, foremost of all you've got to possess got your Lee Kuan Yew.
The lesson of Singapore is that y'all regulation inwards an effective agency without corruption, together with y'all possess got the decisions that are truly best, based on the evidence. Now if y'all regulation similar that y'all tin give the sack brand your province successful. But that is the lesson together with that lesson is i that has got big implications for the agency authorities functions for the 21st century, together with it's non a coincidence that the Lee Kuan Yew School of Government was formed inwards his memory, because for today's generation of leaders, that's what y'all should expect at together with that's what y'all should seek to emulate.

You mentioned his bluntness, together with y'all mentioned his frankness, equally well. Did that go far easier or harder to practise describe of piece of job organisation alongside him?
Blair: Well, it was slow to practise describe of piece of job organisation alongside Lee Kuan Yew because he was thus direct. I hateful he wasn't impolite, past times the way, at all, but he was direct. And y'all know, y'all asked him a inquiry together with he gave y'all an answer. He wasn't frightened at all of having a head-on struggle alongside someone he disagreed with, but he treated it equally a disagreement.
You should never underestimate the lineament of his intellect, past times the way. I mean, he was an extraordinarily clever private alongside a truly vast intellect together with deep intellect. That is something fortunately he has passed on to his children, together with it is also something he has, inwards a way, given, something of that spirit of intellectual inquiry, to the country.
I think that is i of the things sometimes people fille alongside Lee Kuan Yew. He could handgrip his ain alongside whatever academic or professor anywhere.

In your conversations alongside Lee Kuan Yew over the years, what sort of issues were y'all talking about?
Blair: It was mainly work. We got to know each other pretty good together with I would regularly come upwards together with consider him. Even after I left office, I would regularly come upwards together with consider him. I establish him, foremost of all, an enormous source of information. He became similar a sort of advisor to the globe inwards what was happening inwards Asia, together with particularly, inwards honour of China.
But he was also someone who was, y'all know, because he thought out of the box, he was ever fascinating to engage alongside on whatever subject. So whether it was radical Islam, or y'all know what to practise almost Europe, y'all know he would possess got views together with they were ever views that were formed past times this piercing intellect, combined alongside very, rattling practical outcomes.

What was he similar equally a friend?
Blair: I think he was a skilful friend. I mean, I came to similar him rattling much equally a individual too, I think he was a individual of profound principle. His identify unit of measurement meant an enormous total to him. He was an absolute patriot for his country. But he was also someone who could go immensely engaging company, together with I had many a skilful dinner alongside him when he would relax. And y'all had possess got a friendly together with frank conversation across a whole make of subjects.
He was - inwards a globe where politicians aren't ever of the foremost rank together with where politics doesn't ever make dandy leaders - he was a dandy leader, together with beyond dubiety i of the most pregnant together with impressive leaders of the belatedly 20th century.

- CNA/pp

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