Singapore government-controlled state media, The Straits Times, today named the recently-deceased dictator of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew “Asian of the Year”.
Despite twists and selective reporting made by the ruling party PAP and its state media, Lee Kuan Yew was a power grubber who sold out his former PAP founder comrades and jailed anyone who criticised him. During Singapore’s founding years, Lee Kuan Yew made himself Prime Minister for 26 years and subsequently plotted to let his son take over the premiership. His son Lee Hsien Loong is now the current 12-year Prime Minister and his daughter-in-law is the CEO of the state’s sovereign wealth fund company Temasek Holdings.
Lee Hsien Loong’s government has been trying to promote Lee Kuan Yew and immortalize his position in Singapore but setting up schools, awards named after him and even statues of him in Madame Tussauds, SUTD and Parliament House. However Lee Kuan Yew is at best recognised only locally in Singapore and not worldwide. He was never nominated for any international awards like Nobel Peace Prize.
Criticisms of Lee Kuan Yew today warrant a jail term, as exemplified by a 16 year old Youtuber, Amos Yee, in May this year. Celebrations of his death is a taboo in Singapore and largely hushed-up as pro-government supporters are vengeful and, in Amos Yee’s case, violent. The Lee family is also notorious for defamation lawsuits and the use of state media to launch personal attacks. Singaporeans live largely in fear and avoid criticisms of the powerful Lee oligarchy, resulting in widespread political apathy and ignorance.