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A man for whom there was no taboo

A man for whom there was no taboo

Vladimir Lukashev

Expert on China and South-East Asia

Vladimir Lukashev, an expert on China and Southeast Asia:

“How to fight corruption?

Start by planting three of your friends. You know exactly why, and they know why "

Lee Kwan Yu

- On March 22, it was reported that the health of former Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kwang Yew has deteriorated sharply. A crowd of alarmed residents of the city-state had gathered outside the hospital in which he lay. People prayed for the health of the former leader of the country, brought flowers, postcards and hoped that this iron man would once again overcome death, as he overcame the obstacles that he encountered on the way from the "third world to the first". But another miracle did not happen. On March 23, 2015, the man behind the Singapore economic miracle died at the age of 91.

The scale of the personality of Lee Kwan Yu does not allow him to fully appreciate what he has done during his life. I do not pretend to carry out not only an exhaustive, but even an approximate analysis of its activities. I can only recall some episodes of Lee’s struggle for his country.

Lee Kwang Yew was elected Prime Minister of Singapore in 1959. The inheritance he received from Britain was terrible. In fact, the city-state at that time was a port dump. Cows were grazing in the streets of the town. Crime was off the charts - leaving the house after sunset was dangerous. The streets were controlled by "triad" bandits. All issues in the local administration were resolved through the pocket: how much you put on your paw, this will be the solution. Singapore was in a hostile environment. Malaysia constantly threatened war, and relations with Indonesia were also far from ideal.

Terrorism flourished within the city-state. As political - the communists promoted the ideas of the Great Mao with the help of weapons - so religious, extremist Islam collected its bloody tribute. Poverty and unemployment were the norm. If we add to this the complete absence of any natural resources, the list of Singapore's problems could be considered exhaustive. However, it is not.

There was another threat: local liberals championing European values. They argued that the Chinese, who constituted the majority of the population of Singapore, were a backward people with a slave mentality, and that many years of the lack of rights and freedoms among the people in the Chinese Empire and semi-colonial dependence during the opium wars had created a slave mentality among the representatives of the Chinese people. The Chinese, the liberals said, were accustomed to giving bribes. Corruption is a national trait of the Chinese people. They recommended introducing European values: humanizing punishment, legalizing drugs, negotiating with terrorists and making concessions.

Local liberals argued that the cruelty of punishment does not affect the number of crimes, and the death penalty does not reduce the number of terrorist attacks.

And in this completely hopeless situation, Lee made a decision, which no one took seriously. As it turned out, in vain. He offered to stop stealing and begin to imprison anyone who dared to break the law, even if he was a god. And in order to implement this decision, he created a special body and subordinated it to himself. As a result, very many officials and even friends and relatives of Li Kwang Yu went to jail.

When Islamic terrorists blew up several embassies in the city, Lee ordered them to be found and hung in accordance with the laws of Singapore. And those who knew, but did not report, went to jail for many, many years. So Lee Kwan Yew destroyed terrorism in Singapore. The fanatics were hanged, and the rest began to report on the upcoming terrorist attacks long before their implementation.

Just as decisively Lee dealt with the economic decline of the country. He stimulated the small business by leaving only the necessary control. He removed all other restrictions, and those policemen and bandits who tried to racket entrepreneurs, had the opportunity to think over their behavior for decades spent in prison. And then only if no one died from their actions: if there were victims, the time for meditation was reduced to the time it took to get from the doors of his cell to the gallows. These decisive actions very quickly changed the situation. The economy began to flourish.

As for big business, Lee went in two ways: first, he gave great privileges and preferences to international corporations, and secondly, he created state-owned companies, of which he raised national champions.

In addition, Lee Kwang Yew has created an accessible and efficient education system and raised the standard of living in Singapore to a qualitatively new level. And for drug addiction and petty hooliganism in the city they were now punished with beating with sticks. Today Singapore is a fairytale city. Clean, comfortable for life and completely safe. No bandits, no terrorists. There is practically no unemployment. The level of education of the population is high. The economy is based on innovative enterprises. International corporations are investing enormous amounts of money in Singapore. The city has long become a world financial center.

The way from the third world to the first took from Singapore, which was ruled by Iron Li, 25 years.

I remembered that exactly 25 years ago, Russian young reformers promised to turn Russia into one big Singapore.

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