This was originally posted to Slugger O’Toole…
There was something discomfiting about the funeral of Lee Kuan Yew. Singapore’s achievements under his rule were extraordinary, but the story presented on his death was a sanitised fable. World leaders queued up to subscribe to the cult of wise old Harry, father of the nation.
Lee wasn’t so benevolent when challenged. Opposition politicians were sued for libel and bankrupted for criticising government policies during election campaigns. When the opposition had the temerity to actually win some seats, the state set out to destroy the new MPs financially and professionally, before gerrymandering them out in the following election.
Ironically, for decades Lee’s PDP would have won every election with an overall majority even under pure PR. He was genuinely loved by the majority of Singaporeans, as the scenes at his funeral showed. That made his suppression of minority opinions all the more distasteful. Continue reading