THE STRUGGLE for Tamil Eelam
"Sri Lanka - the Country will Never be Put Together Again"
Lee Kuan Yew, 1998
Kuan Yew: the Man and His Ideas is the title of a book published in
Singapore in 1998. Written by three Straits Times journalists Han Fook Kwang
Warren Fernandez and Sumiko Tan, the book carries fresh interviews with Lee Kuan
Yew on the events that shaped his life and the way he governed Singapore.
Now in his graying years - he is 74 now - the founding father of
Singapore is regarded as virtually a national institution at home. In
transforming a busy ramshackle port city on a resourceless island into a
prosperous multi-lingual nation, he created a model for other developing
countries. He left the premiership in 1990 and assumed the role of , senior
minister, but wields as much prestige and influence today as he did while
holding office, a distinction rarely earned by any politician in any other
In talking of Sri Lanka, this is what Lee Kuan Yew says: -
"We have got to live with the consequences of our actions
and we are responsible for our own people and we take the right decisions
for them. You look at the old Philippines. The old Ceylon. The old East
Pakistan and several others. I have been to these countries and places. When
I went to Colombo for the first time in 1956 it was a better city than
Singapore because Singapore had three and a half years of Japanese
occupation and Colombo was the centre or HQ of Mountbatten's Southeast Asia
And they had sterling reserves. They had two Universities.
Before the war, a thick layer of educated talent So if you believe what
American liberals or British liberals used to say, then it ought to have
flourished. But it didn't.
One-man one-vote led to the domination of the Sinhalese majority over the
minority Tamils who were the active and intelligent fellows who worked
hard and got themselves penalised. And English was out. They were educated
in English. Sinhalese was in.
They got quotas in two universities and now they have become fanatical
Tigers. And the country will never be put together again.
Somebody should have told them - change the system, loosen
up, or break off. And looking back, I think the Tunku was wise. (The
reference is to Tunku Abdul Rahman the Malaysian Prime Minister under whose
rule Singapore separated from Malaysia). I offered a loosening up of the
system. He said: "Clean cut, go your way". Had we stayed in, and I look at
Colombo and Ceylon, I mean changing names, sometimes maybe you deceive the
gods, but I don't think you are deceiving the people who live in them. It
makes no great difference to the tragedy that is being enacted. They failed
because they had weak or wrong leaders ".