Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy


SINGAPORE — Three years ago this month, Singapore’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew passed away at the age of 91. He left behind a developed economy on par with the First World, and a city-state that has become a model for emerging nations.

Today, Singapore is the richest country in Southeast Asia in terms of per capita income, which is twice that of the second richest, Brunei. It is recognized as one of only three global financial hubs in Asia, along with Tokyo and Hong Kong.

What’s even more amazing is the fact that the Republic of Singapore is able to sustain a multiracial, multicultural society where ethnic Chinese, Malays, Indians, and other races live harmoniously. Expats from all over the world, including Filipino professionals as well as domestic helpers, find Singapore an ideal place for work and play.

Environmentally and technologically speaking, Singapore is way ahead of its ASEAN counterparts. From Changi airport to the East Coast to Marina Bay and beyond, there’s plenty of greenery amid skyscrapers and shophouses.

Trial runs are ongoing for the first driver-less taxi fleet in the world that will operate initially within the Lion City’s central business district. Another first is Yotel Singapore, the only one in the world with a staff composed of multi-point delivery robots.

A feud between the children of Lee Kuan Yew threatens to tarnish his legacy. It pits the eldest child, current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, against the two other siblings. Ironically, they’re quarreling about their father’s legacy, and their very public bickering shocked the relatively conservative Singaporeans last year.

How this is resolved would ultimately have repercussions on the reputation and heritage of Singapore’s Founding Father.

p: wjg