– Lee Kuan Yew is Singapore’s world-class asset at understanding the Chinese mind.
He had once suggested to a Chinese leader in having English as the dominant language. Would China do the same? The answer was no surprise, it was no. It was unrealistic for Lee then made it clear it was a serious handicap. Imagine competing against Chinese competition when fluency in English no longer remains a key advantage.
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Leader who struck a chord with China
Lee Kuan Yew could get China’s attention, but it will be tough for tiny Singapore to find comparable successors to fill his big shoes
By John Wong, For The Straits Times
Source – Straits Times September 18, 2013
Mr Lee (on podium, right) with Chinese Premier Li Peng at a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People during his nine-day visit to China in September 1988, when he also met Chinese President Yang Shangkun, General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Zhao Ziyang and paramount leader Deng Xiaoping. — PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER
CHINA has published many books about former Singapore prime minister Lee Kuan Yew. One written by Chang Zheng in 1996 bears this interesting title, Lee Kuan Yew: A Great Man In A Small Country (Xiao Guo Wei Ren). In politics and international power relations, does “size” matter at all?
Deng Xiaoping, a “five- footer”, had struck Mr Lee as “a giant among men” when they first met in 1978. Mr Lee has since openly stated that Deng was the most impressive leader he had ever met.
Viewed from a different angle, Singapore is a tiny city-state while China is a huge continental- sized country. The two also have inherent political, economic and social differences. Yet, they have developed strong bilateral relations, thanks to the efforts of both Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Deng.