101+ Lee Kuan Yew Quotes On Discipline, Democracy And Education

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Lee Kuan Yew inspirational quote

Top 10 Lee Kuan Yew Quotes (BEST)

  1. Having an education is one thing, being educated is another.
  2. If you want to reach your goals and dreams, you cannot do it without discipline
  3. If you deprive yourself of outsourcing and your competitors do not, you're putting yourself out of business.
  4. Life is not just eating, drinking, television and cinema...The human mind must be creative, must be self-generating ; it cannot depend on just gadgets to amuse itself.
  5. I knew that my niece was working nearby with some bank, so my wife rang up the mother and the mother called back to say that shes just called up to say she was alright.
  6. Please do not assume that you can change governments. Young people don’t understand this.
  7. Between being loved and being feared, I have always believed Machiavelli was right. If nobody is afraid of me, I’m meaningless.
  8. If you can't think because you can't chew, try a banana.
  9. If Singapore is a nanny state, then I am proud to have fostered one.
  10. The big nest was in Afghanistan, thats not quite cleared, then there are nests in the Philippines, there are nests in Indonesia, the Malaysians are clearing up their nests.

Lee Kuan Yew Short Quotes

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  • I always tried to be correct, not politically correct.
  • I do not yet know of a man who became a leader as a result of having undergone a leadership course.
  • Every person, genius or moron, has a right to reproduce himself.
  • The same law applies to me. Nobody has sued me for libel because I do not defame my enemies.
  • If Aljunied decides to go that way, well Aljunied has five years to live and repent.
  • If I have to shoot 200,000 students to save China from another 100 years of disorder, so be it.
  • What is of consequence is I did my best.
  • If nobody is afraid of me, I'm meaningless.
  • India is scared of the competition... because Chinese goods will go into India and compete.
  • Rest on laurels? I wish I could do that. No, you rest when you're dead

Lee Kuan Yew Quotes On Democracy

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There are some flaws in the assumptions made for democracy. It is assumed that all men and women are equal or should be equal. Hence, one-man-one-vote. But is equality realistic? If it is not, to insist on equality must lead to regression. — Lee Kuan Yew

There is nothing to prevent you from pushing your propaganda, to push your programme out to the students or with the public at large…and if you can carry the ground, if you are right, you win. That’s democracy. — Lee Kuan Yew

Now if democracy will not work for the Russians, a white Christian people, can we assume that it will naturally work with Asians? — Lee Kuan Yew

Lee Kuan Yew Quotes On Singapore

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I have no regrets. I have spent my life, so much of it, building up this country. There's nothing more that I need to do. At the end of the day, what have I got? A successful Singapore. What have I given up? My life. — Lee Kuan Yew

What I fear is complacency. When things always become better, people tend to want more for less work. — Lee Kuan Yew

At the end of the day, what have I got? A successful Singapore. What have I given up? My life. — Lee Kuan Yew

The human being is an unequal creature. That is a fact. And we start off with the proposition. All the great religions, all the great movements, all the great political ideology, say let us make the human being as equal as possible. In fact, he is not equal, never will be. — Lee Kuan Yew

Freedom of the press, freedom of the news media, must be subordinated to the overriding needs of the integrity of Singapore, and to the primacy of purpose of an elected government. — Lee Kuan Yew

What are our priorities? First, the welfare, the survival of the people. Then, democratic norms and processes which from time to time we have to suspend. — Lee Kuan Yew

We decide what is right. Never mind what the people think. — Lee Kuan Yew

If I were in authority in Singapore indefinitely without having to ask those who are governed whether they like what is being done, then I would not have the slightest doubt that I could govern much more effectively in their interests. — Lee Kuan Yew

The human being needs a challenge, and my advice to every person in Singapore and elsewhere: Keep yourself interested, have a challenge. — Lee Kuan Yew

I don't believe in love at first sight. I think it's a grave mistake. — Lee Kuan Yew

Lee Kuan Yew Quotes On Governance

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Anybody who decides to take me on needs to put on knuckle-dusters. If you think you can hurt me more than I can hurt you, try. There is no way you can govern a Chinese society. — Lee Kuan Yew

They say, oh, let’s have multiparty politics. Let’s have different parties change and be in charge of the Government. Is it that simple? You vote in a Division Three government, not a Division One government, and the whole economy will just subside within three, four years. Finished. — Lee Kuan Yew

Whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him. Or give it up. This is not a game of cards. — Lee Kuan Yew

One-man-one-vote is a most difficult form of government.. Results can be erratic. — Lee Kuan Yew

Even from my sickbed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel that something is going wrong, I will get up. Those who believe that after I have left the government as prime minister, I will go into a permanent retirement, really should have their heads examined. — Lee Kuan Yew

I make no apologies that the PAP is the Government and the Government is the PAP. — Lee Kuan Yew

Lee Kuan Yew Famous Quotes And Sayings

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You begin your journey not knowing where it will take you. You have plans, you have dreams, but every now and again you have to take uncharted roads, face impassable mountains, cross treacherous rivers, be blocked by landslides and earthquakes. That's the way my life has been. — Lee Kuan Yew

With few exceptions, democracy has not brought good government to new developing countries. What Asians value may not necessarily be what Americans or Europeans value. Westerners value the freedoms and liberties of the individual. As an Asian of Chinese cultural backround, my values are for a government which is honest, effective and efficient. — Lee Kuan Yew

For the young, let me tell you the sky has turned brighter. There's a glorious rainbow that beckons those with the spirit of adventure. And there are rich findings at the end of the rainbow. To the young and to the not-so-old, I say, look at that horizon, follow that rainbow, go ride it. — Lee Kuan Yew

Well if done a lot of hard work to try and get people to act rationally, the fact that weve had 15 deviant Muslims, plus 5 or 8 others that got away does not mean that all Muslims are deviant or extremists. — Lee Kuan Yew

I was a product of the times, the war, the occupation, the reoccupation, my 4 years in Britain, admiring but at the same time questioning whether they are able to do a better job than we can. — Lee Kuan Yew

At the end of the day, what I cherish most are the human relationships. With the unfailing support of my wife and partner I have lived my life to the fullest. It is the friendships I made and the close family ties I nurtured that have provided me with that sense of satisfaction at a life well lived, and have made me what I am. — Lee Kuan Yew

Nine holes of golf will take you one-and-a-half, two hours. I run in 20 minutes, I feel better off. So the cost benefit made me drop golf. — Lee Kuan Yew

They say people can think for themselves? Do you honestly believe that the chap who can’t pass primary six knows the consequence of his choice when he answers a question viscerally, on language, culture and religion? But we knew the consequences. We would starve, we would have race riots. We would disintegrate. — Lee Kuan Yew

I have never been over concerned or obsessed with opinion polls or popularity polls. I think a leader who is, is a weak leader. Between being loved and being feared, I have always believed Machiavelli was right. If nobody is afraid of me, I'm meaningless. — Lee Kuan Yew

Usually I read biographies of interesting people. I am not attracted to novels - make-believe, or recreations of what people think life should be. — Lee Kuan Yew

I think in Singapore, we stand a chance of making the one-man-one-vote system work. With amendments as we have done, you know, like GRCs.. We need to make it work. And I believe with pragmatic adjustments, given these favourable conditions, we can have more open debate. — Lee Kuan Yew

Even from my sick bed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel something is going wrong, I will get up. — Lee Kuan Yew

If you don’t include your women graduates in your breeding pool and leave them on the shelf, you would end up a more stupid society…So what happens? There will be less bright people to support dumb people in the next generation. That’s a problem. — Lee Kuan Yew

Without the elected president and if there is a freak result, within two or three years, the army would have to come in and stop it. — Lee Kuan Yew

I wouldn't call myself an atheist. I neither deny nor accept that there is a God... So I do not laugh at people who believe in God. But I do not necessarily believe in God - nor deny that there could be one. — Lee Kuan Yew

I don't think I made a conscious decision as a career choice. From my school days I had decided, persuaded by my parents, to prepare myself for the law. Then the Japanese occupation came and we went through three and a half years of what I would call the university of life, it was hard, it was harsh. — Lee Kuan Yew

If you are a troublemaker, it’s our job to politically destroy you. Put it this way. As long as JB Jeyaretnam stands for what he stands for – a thoroughly destructive force – we will knock him. Everybody knows that in my bag I have a hatchet, and a very sharp one. You take me on, I take my hatchet, we meet in the cul-de-sac. — Lee Kuan Yew

It is essential to rear a generation at the very top of society that has all the qualities needed to lead and give the people the inspiration and the drive to make it succeed. In short, the elite.. Every society tries to produce this type. The British have special schools for them: the gifted and talented are sent to Eton and Harrow. — Lee Kuan Yew

I am often accused of interfering in the private lives of citizens. Yes, if I did not, had I not done that, we wouldn't be here today. — Lee Kuan Yew

I pointed to an article with bold headlines reporting that the police had refused to allow the PAP to hold a rally at Empress Place, and then to the last paragraph where in small type it added the meeting would take place where we were now. I compared this with a prominent report about an SPA rally. This was flagrant bias. — Lee Kuan Yew

You marry a non-graduate, then you are going to worry if your son or daughter is going to make it to the university. — Lee Kuan Yew

I am ... a realist. The magnitude of what one terms license or civil liberties or personal freedom has got to be adjusted to the circumstances. — Lee Kuan Yew

I’m not interested in changing either my suit or my car or whatever with every change in fashion. That’s irrelevant. I don’t judge myself or my friends by their fashions. Of course, I don’t approve of people who are sloppy and unnecessarily shabby or dishevelled… But I’m not impressed by a US$5,000 or US$10,000 Armani suit. — Lee Kuan Yew

I feel sanguine enough to say that there has never been a better set of conditions for open democratic politics because there is no need for unified front politics. — Lee Kuan Yew

China can draw on a talent pool of 1.3 billion people, but the United States can draw on a talent pool of 7 billion and recombine them in a diverse culture that enhances creativity in a way that ethnic Han nationalism cannot. — Lee Kuan Yew

Singaporeans, if I can chose an analogy, we are the hard disk of a computer, the foreign talent are the megabytes you add to your storage capacity. So your computer never hangs because you got enormous storage capacity. — Lee Kuan Yew

I have been accused of many things in my life, but not even my worst enemy has ever accused me of being afraid to speak my mind. — Lee Kuan Yew

I’m very determined. If I decide that something is worth doing, then I’ll put my heart and soul to it. The whole ground can be against me, but if I know it is right, I’ll do it. — Lee Kuan Yew

If it is not totalitarian to arrest a man and detain him, when you cannot charge him with any offence against any written law – if that is not what we have always cried out against in Fascist states – then what is it?… If we are to survive as a free democracy, then we must be prepared, in principle, to concede to our enemies – even those who do not subscribe to our views – as much constitutional rights as you concede yourself. — Lee Kuan Yew

The task of the leaders must be to provide or create for them a strong framework within which they can learn, work hard, be productive and be rewarded accordingly. And this is not easy to achieve. — Lee Kuan Yew

Political reform need not go hand in hand with economic liberalization.. I hold unconventional views about this.. I do not believe if you are a libertarian, full of diverse opinions, full of competing ideas in the market place, full of sound and fury, therefore you will succeed. — Lee Kuan Yew

You know, the cure for all this talk is really a good dose of incompetent government. You get that alternative and you'll never put Singapore together again: Humpty Dumpty cannot be put together again... my asset values will disappear, my apartments will be worth a fraction of what they were, my ministers' jobs will be in peril, their security will be at risk and their women will become maids in other people's countries, foreign workers. — Lee Kuan Yew

That was the year the British decided to get out and sell everything. So I immediately held an election. I knew the people will be dead scared. And I won my bet big-time. The gullible fools! — Lee Kuan Yew

Of-course we did, but we didn't reply because we knew once this leaks the others will scatter, so in the few days we moved quickly before the press got hold of it. The press did get hold of it a few days later, we nabbed, we were able to get 15, the others got away. — Lee Kuan Yew

A leader without the vision, to strive to improve things, is no good. Then you will just stay put, you won't progress. — Lee Kuan Yew

If you can't force or are unwilling to force your people to follow you, with or without threats, you are not a leader. — Lee Kuan Yew

I started off believing all men were equal. I now know that's the most unlikely thing ever to have been... But by observation, reading, watching, arguing, asking, that is the conclusion I've come to. — Lee Kuan Yew

As you solve one set of problems, new ones appear. That is part of the nature of life. — Lee Kuan Yew

Life is better than death. But death comes eventually to everyone. It is something which many in their prime may prefer not to think about. But at 89, I see no point in avoiding the question. What concerns me is: How do I go? Will the end comes swiftly, with a stroke in one of the coronary arteries? Or will it be a stroke in the mind that lays me out in bed for months, semi-comatose? Of the two, I prefer the quick one. — Lee Kuan Yew

We have over a hundred political detainees, men against whom we are unable to prove anything in a court of law. Nearly 50 of them are men who gave us a great deal of anxiety during the years of Confrontation because they were Malay extremists. Your life and this dinner would not be what it is if my colleagues and I had decided to play it according to the rules of the game. — Lee Kuan Yew

You take a poll of any people. What is it they want? The right to write an editorial as you like? They want homes, medicine, jobs, schools. — Lee Kuan Yew

My colleagues and I are of that generation of young men who went through the Second World War and the Japanese Occupation and emerged determined that no one–neither Japanese nor British–had the right to push and kick us around. We determined that we could govern ourselves and bring up our children in a country where we can be proud to be self-respecting people. — Lee Kuan Yew

I have said this on many a previous occasion: that had the mix in Singapore been different, had it been 75% Indians, 15% Malays and the rest Chinese, it would not have worked. Because they believe in the politics of contention, of opposition. But because the culture was such that the populace sought a practical way out of their difficulties, therefore it has worked. — Lee Kuan Yew

We have to lock up people, without trial, whether they are communists, whether they are language chauvinists, whether they are religious extremists. If you don’t do that, the country would be in ruins. — Lee Kuan Yew

If, for instance, you put in a Malay officer who's very religious and who has family ties in Malaysia in charge of a machine gun unit, that's a very tricky business. We've got to know his background... I'm saying these things because they are real, and if I don't think that, and I think even if today the Prime Minister doesn't think carefully about this, we could have a tragedy. — Lee Kuan Yew

For reasons of sentiment, I would like part of my ashes to be mixed up with Mama's, and both her ashes and mine put side by side in the columbarium. We were joined in life and I would like our ashes to be joined after this life. — Lee Kuan Yew

Most libels, and I have taken about 30 actions, take place at election time. It has not stuck because I am prepared to go before a court, stand in the witness box and face the most aggressive of lawyers who can cross-examine me on my personal history. — Lee Kuan Yew

Three women were brought to the Singapore General Hospital, each in the same condition and needing a blood transfusion. The first, a Southeast Asian was given the transfusion but died a few hours later. The second, a South Asian was also given a transfusion but died a few days later. The third, an East Asian, was given a transfusion and survived. That is the X factor in development. — Lee Kuan Yew

I’m not intellectually convinced that one-man, one-vote is the best. We practise it because that’s what the British bequeathed us — Lee Kuan Yew

I am not given to making sense out of life - or coming up with some grand narrative on it - other than to measure it by what you think you want to do in life. As for me, I have done what I had wanted to, to the best of my ability. I am satisfied. — Lee Kuan Yew

I wish I can meet my wife in the hereafter, but I don't think I will. I just cease to exist just as she has ceased to exist. — Lee Kuan Yew

It’s irrelevant to me what young Singaporeans think of me. What they think of me after I’m dead and gone in one generation will be determined by researchers who do PhDs on me, right? So there will be a lot of revisionism. As people revised Stalin, Brezhnev and one day now Yeltsin, and later on Putin. I’ve lived long enough to know that you may be idealised in life and reviled after you’re dead. — Lee Kuan Yew

I have decided that we shall make and build and never give way. — Lee Kuan Yew

If there was one formula for our success,it was that we were constantly studying how to make things work,or how to make them work better. — Lee Kuan Yew

We must encourage those who earn less than $200 per month and cannot afford to nurture and educate many children never to have more than two… We will regret the time lost if we do not now take the first tentative steps towards correcting a trend which can leave our society with a large number of the physically, intellectually and culturally anaemic. — Lee Kuan Yew

It is not the practice, now will I allow subversives to get away by insisting that I’ve got to prove everything against them in a court of law or [produce] evidence that will stand up to the strict rules of evidence of a court of law. — Lee Kuan Yew

The Bell curve is a fact of life. The blacks on average score 85 per cent on IQ and it is accurate, nothing to do with culture. The whites score on average 100. Asians score more. The Bell curve authors put it at least 10 points higher. These are realities that, if you do not accept, will lead to frustration because you will be spending money on wrong assumptions and the results cannot follow. — Lee Kuan Yew

I ignore polling as a method of government. I think that shows a certain weakness of mind - an inability to chart a course whichever way the wind blows, whichever way the media encourages the people to go, you follow. If you can't force or are unwilling to force your people to follow you, with or without threats, you are not a leader. — Lee Kuan Yew

Supposing Catherine Lim was writing about me and not the prime minister... She would not dare, right? Because my posture, my response has been such that nobody doubts that if you take me on, I will put on knuckle-dusters and catch you in a cul de sac... Anybody who decides to take me on needs to put on knuckle dusters. If you think you can hurt me more than I can hurt you, try. There is no other way you can govern a Chinese society. — Lee Kuan Yew

You’re talking about Rwanda or Bangladesh, or Cambodia, or the Philippines. They’ve got democracy, according to Freedom House. But have you got a civilised life to lead? People want economic development first and foremost. The leaders may talk something else. You take a poll of any people. What is it they want? The right to write an editorial as you like? They want homes, medicine, jobs, schools. — Lee Kuan Yew

Any time, every time, you can damn the Prime Minister and so long as it is not a lie and a criminal lie, nothing happens to you. You can say a lot of things. You can write books about him, damning him. So long as it is not a libel, go ahead. — Lee Kuan Yew

I'm not saying that everything I did was right, but everything I did was for an honourable purpose. — Lee Kuan Yew

Life Lessons by Lee Kuan Yew

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  1. Lee Kuan Yew demonstrated the power of strong and effective leadership, showing that it is possible to transform a nation from poverty to prosperity.
  2. He also showed the importance of having a clear vision and the courage to make tough decisions in order to achieve it.
  3. He also highlighted the need for a strong education system and the importance of investing in the people of a nation in order to ensure its success.

In Conclusion

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