Can We Still Trust Lee Kuan Yew?

By today, Mr Lee Kuan Yew has spent half a century tinkering with Singapore's population. On the 3rd Feb 2011, he reinforced his conviction of his latest plan, familiar to all by now: Mass immigration
SINGAPORE: Former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has called for the understanding of Singaporeans towards the government's decision to continue taking in immigrants. 

Speaking at a Lunar New Year gathering in his constituency of Tanjong Pagar on Friday, Mr Lee said Singapore's per capita income is one of the highest in Asia. 

But it faces an ageing and shrinking population. Last year, the birth rate was 1.15, with the Chinese leading the decline among other races. 

Mr Lee said Japan also suffers from similar problems. But its decision not to take in migrants has contributed to economic stagnation. 

He said: "Our choice must be the other one - taking in immigrants. I know Singaporeans do not feel very comfortable seeing so many strange new faces, but the alternative is economy stagnation and worse, nobody to look after our old people later on."

A brief walk through history

1959 - Lee Kuan Yew became Prime Minister of Singapore

1965 - Birthrate was 29.9 per 1000 population. Government launched family planning campaign in the form of;



Material 'disincentives':

- Incremental higher costs of bearing the third, fourth, and subsequent children were instituted.

- Civil servants received no paid maternity leave for third and subsequent children.

- Maternity hospitals charged progressively higher fees for each additional birth.

- Income tax deductions for all but the first two children were eliminated. 

- Large families received no extra consideration in public housing assignments

- Top priority in the competition for enrollment in the most desirable primary schools was given to only children and to children whose parents had been sterilized before the age of forty.

Material incentives:

- Voluntary sterilization was rewarded by seven days of paid sick leave and by priority in the allocation of such public goods as housing and education

1980 - The government's family planning campaign worked - too well. By 1980, the birthrate had reduced to 1.7 per woman, low enough for the government to hit the panic button to reverse the effects of the campaign.

1983 - Lee Kuan Yew identified the failure of female university graduates to marry and bear children as a serious social problem. 

1984 - The government acted to give preferential school admission to children whose mothers were university graduates, while offering grants of S$10,000 (that's a lot in 1984) to less educated women who agreed to be sterilized after the birth of their second child.

Social Development Unit (SDU) was established as a matchmaker for unmarried university graduates.

1985 - The policies made in 1984 was shelved or heavily modified because they flopped big time.

1986 - "Have three or more, if you can afford it" campaign was launched to encourage the population having bigger families, this time with no preference of the educational level of the parents.

1987 - Birthrate of Singapore fell to a (then) record low of 1.44.

1989 - Campaign promoting the joys of marriage and parenthood was launched by the government.

2001 - Baby bonus was introduced.

2004 - Baby bonus was enhanced.

By 2011, our birthrate stood at yet another historic low of 1.15. Mr Lee's population tweaking and his obsession in eugenics has arguably brought Singapore to its current dilemma. The PAP never took ownership of the mistake, let alone taking responsibilities.

In the current report by Channelnewsasia, he left me perplexed by citing Japan's economic stagnation was contributed by Japan's refusal to adopt mass immigration for those who studied the rapid rise in the Industrial Revolution and economic fall of Japan as a case study would be sure that immigrant was a mere triviality and hardly a contributing factor to their current situation.

The following statement was even more bizarre:

"Our choice must be the other one - taking in immigrants. I know Singaporeans do not feel very comfortable seeing so many strange new faces, but the alternative is economy stagnation and worse, nobody to look after our old people later on."

Ironically, Singapore was deemed overpopulated in our tiny 700sqkm with a 2.1 million population in 1970. In the name of economic progress today, suddenly it is alright to have 5.2 million people in the same amount of space, not that we reclaimed land significant enough to change the statistic - and we are aiming for more, perhaps a 6.5 million population as projected a few years back?

How would the injection of immigrants ensure our future old people to be taken care of? I'm sure LKY did not mean that literally, for that will be the best joke I've heard in a while. By taxing the foreigners? Maybe. But in the future when we ask for assistance for the old and needy, would that future minister in charge of MCYS be reiterating the famous quote

"How much do you want? Do you want three meals in a hawker centre, food court or restaurant?"

Don't forget, we need to eat that $10 XO Chye Tow Kuey as Chan Chun Sing advised us to do so.

By today, Mr Lee Kuan Yew is no longer a minister of the cabinet. Yet clearly, he continues to influence in crucial areas that defines the future of Singapore. This time though he will not be there to see the repercussions of his final (hopefully) experiment with Singapore.

But the rest of us will. It's already too late to stop it.


  1. One thing he said was the Chinese are just not having enough babies, but take a look at China, aren't they Chinese as well? One thing for sure, they have less stress than we do.

    Bringing in immigrants at the age of 30s and 40s are going to increase the aging population faster than ever. If the new immigrants are not making babies as well, it is just adding more problems to the problem.

    He is making too much noise, but what to do, he is still the man behind all the failed policies. We just have to wait patiently, everything have to comes to an end someday.

    1. these immigrants are sending money back home to buy land and houses. the majority is not committed. it's so obvious that every man on the street can see that but not to those in the ivory towers?

      they'll take care of our old? my toes are laughing.

    2. If they take a walk at remittance shop in Peoples' Park Complex, it is not hard to see foreigner whether they are citizen, PR or foreigner workers sending thousands of money back to their hometown everyday. I heard from a friend his PRC gf sending SGD$10K every month back to China.

  2. I don't trust him, I 'm just waiting for his demise so I can have my 5 days of public holiday (paid)

    1. I am waiting too! But are we going to have 5 days?

    2. I don't want the 5 days. Either he pass off in ignominy or he lives long enough to see his party kicked off and the wrong he did to so many righted and history stands corrected.

    3. he is a great man u know. without him there is no sg and i will be typing this in Bangladeshi. can have 1 mth??

  3. ah claire, dun think there is such a thing.

  4. Pien Ah Pek! The more he lets in, the more people leave. How to tahan HDB, health, education, cost of living, transportation etc etc issues!


  5. He feels he is too clever..... might as well send all singaporeans away and only his FT allowed in singapore!

    ah pooh

  6. i heard my part times admin telling me more than 30% are not singaporeans in their class(JC).
    Go sch must fight seat with them, go work must fight job with them!

    ah pooh

  7. It's great to see this discussion going... YUP, it's true a lot of S'poreans suffer now bcoz of policies in the 1970s-1980s... High housing costs, crowded MRTs, high COEs, small living spaces & i wonder whether they need to expand the prisons & jails as well coz of crimes by immigrants!

    Imagine if he had encouraged more kids then, the kids are now in their 20s-30s now & contributing to S'pore's economy and probably some are starting a family. Well, my parents were "penalised" for having 4 kids. My 4 aunts all had 2 kids who are well-educated & are delaying marriages bcoz of work commitments & high costs of HDB prices. They even have the perceptions that having children are expensive.

    And YES it's true that JCs & some Sec Sch are giving out scholarships to foreigners to study here! Lecturers even went to those countries to conduct interviews & pre-tests... So what happen to our S'porean kids?? Additional pressure & stress. Even in my MSc class at NTU, less than 10 are S'poreans. Majority are from China, Myanmar & M'sia. Seriously, NTU is turning into a China village.

    We'll I'm planning my move to Aust in the coming months. Coz i do not want my kids to suffer in the education system eventho they are doing well in school. It's juz that the "value" of education has diminished & S'pore has become a "cruel" place to live in. ~ Curious

  8. "Mr Lee Kuan Yew is no longer a minister of the cabinet. Yet clearly, he continues to influence in crucial areas that defines the future of Singapore."

    Who is he kidding right? Everyone knows whose wielding the sword...

    "1984 - The government acted to give preferential school admission to children whose mothers were university graduates, while offering grants of S$10,000 (that's a lot in 1984) to less educated women who agreed to be sterilized after the birth of their second child."

    This tells us loads about LKY, doesn't it??
    He may have made Singapore what it is today, for good or for worse, but unless you are the one who has 'made it', it really is not the ideal place for us to be in....

  9. Interestingly, I pointed out the exact same points in my blog just yesterday.

    I hate to see the old man on TV, always talk like he knows everything. Can't even step aside gracefully to let his son do the job, still want to 'qiang feng tou' every now and then, buay tahan.

    What he did not mention is that the Japan government knows their problem, so they not only prevent foreigners from snatching away jobs, they still deliberately create jobs in some sectors for senior citizens. Our old people cannot even go sweep the floor, as the employer will choose the younger and fitter Ah Nei. How sad.

  10. (An earlier comment similar to this vanished after posting. I'm reposting somewhat, even though it's a little dated, in the light of the latest comments.)

    I remember last year or before that, he went to Japan to tell the people that, and I don't think they would be happy to hear.

    But the Japanese can show their displeasure through seemingly silent inaction.

  11. the stop at 2 was basically aimed at controlling the malay population. look at the burgeoning malay populations in other ctys in the world. the chinese were not producing as much as the malays. but how to say tt publicly in this harmonius multi-racial cty where all r supposed to be equal?

    u should also check to see when all the measures tt discourage u from having kids were actually removed. measures like registering your third and Fourth n other kids for pr 1 - 3 and above go to the back of the line. maternity leave for beyond two. i believe one still had to pay full accouchment fees for giving birth if u'd shot past the 2 kid mark even after the policies were so-calledly reversed.

    as for his too many pple in spore - hey, way back (arnd the 2m pple time), lee kuan yew refused to let viet refugees (the boat pple) put even one toe on this island, saying we had no place; tt there were too many pple here already. now... 5m not enuff also.

  12. No...I can't trust LKY anymore. I think he is getting senile...I'm always like a foreigner in the gym, trains and even workplace! I'm the only 3 Singaporeans/PR in the office. Not that its bad because my colleagues are rather good to work with so far.

    But when I think for the future of my child. what holds? Is there a place for him/her in this society as more foreigners takes up our land, education, and money?

  13. If any of you had grown up in the 70s where people struggled, you will not be so ungrateful. That said, despite the Stop at Two campaign, people do have a choice but ah...having more children means less disposable income for self.

    We true-Singaporeans do love to complain, complain, complain some more. Do something about it!

    1. It's the fact I am being grateful for what the country gave me, which can be attributed to the PAP, that I am afraid for the future of my children because PAP is no longer as good as it was.

      I believe you are in a much better position to judge this honestly, assuming you are the senior you made yourself to be.

      I believe in the pen and I'm doing something with what I'm good at while you older batch of Singaporeans are doing nothing but telling the younger generations that they should accept the grim future just because your generation enjoyed a glorious half of your life.

    2. If you want to talk about gratefulness, how about the constant belittling of citizens who supported Lee Kuan Yew and his PAP all the way from the earlier days to present?

      Look what these commoners gave the Lee family in a span of 50 years? Who's the ungrateful one here?

    3. already did something abt it!! but 60% of singaporeans didnt.... sighh..

    4. Please talk about ungratefulness to the FT Scholar from China Sun Xu, who is clothed, fed and educated by Singaporean tax money and who turned around and called Singaporeans dogs. All he got is a "counseling" from the authorities.

    5. Yup we are dogs. I've written about it.

  14. Yes, the young ones are not only complaining but dare to do something about it. That's the reason why we are loosing more than a thousand of Singaporeans a year since 2000. I salute their guts to voice the collateral mistakes our generation have made.

    1. For the number quoted of loosing more than a thousand Singaporeans per year; personally, I'm not convinced. When I went to collect the Cert of No Criminal Records, even the security guard was exclaiming that too many ppl are migrating.

      I saw in another report elsewhere on the net quoting UN or IOM data that the total figure of Singaporeans migrating is about 60k. Although I not sure if the 60k number is per year.

      If only 1k of Singaporeans are migrating, there's no need for the govmen to panic isn't it? Even in 100 years, only 100k Singaporeans will have migrated. (Less than a year's intake of Foreigners)

      The 1k number I remember is the number of ppl giving up Sing citizenship.

      LKY himself had 3 children and he asked ppl to stop at 2?

      The young are doing something! Since they stop us from voting fairly through the ballot boxes, we are voting with our feet.

      In another 10 years, when the Singapore spirit is fully diluted, ask yourself this question. Are you still willing to fight for your country?

    2. You are right. It was meant to be 1k giving up their red passports. No worries, we are keeping Singapore spirit burning but unfortunately here in Sydney :(
      To read more..

    3. Yap. Trying to keep the Singapore spirit here in Mel too. I really enjoy your blog. You sure can cook!

    4. Thanks,we are just doing our bits and pieces and let the new arrivals enjoy what Singaporeans love most - makan! :)

  15. It is too late. The tipping point has been reached.

  16. Is it stupidity personified or is it senility making its appearance or both?

    Really? The solution LKY gives and claims is the best cure-all in explaining the need for immigration imports as a means to solve the problems of looking after our old is really quite absurd and condescending.

    Any one can tell you it is at best a band-aid and at worst a festering sore with the real threat of a full blown gangrenous malaise require amputation.

    Firstly, PAP with all of the resources is not even able to address that in any significant fashion. Secondly, these new immigrants are economic migrants,with few exceptions. They don't come with lofty goals of increasing or alleviating the welfare or improving the lot of Singaporean; let's be honest they are here to meet their own needs,they are transient by its very nature and will follow where the money is. Thirdly, these very same migrants are going to be old, feeble and needs looking after, it's the dog chasing after it's own tail. Where is it going to end?

    But then it is no longer LKY's problem as he won't be around to answer for it.

    The crux of PAP's problem is that it is always trying to justify its existence and glossing over problems created mainly by themselves. They should just concentrate on finding real long-term solutions and not proffer hollow excuses and red herrings.

    So pertinently where is the solution? Enough already! Just let the old fart and his entourage of savants** get some serious rest; let him graze like old race horses to entertain the young children and the feeble. He can hardly walk straight without help, and talks with a slur making it hard to watch and listen to, tenuously at the very best, for most.

    I heard they need some entertainment at the old folks home here and in Johore!Make him useful again....for old Singaporean in dire need!

    Let's do it lest they think that all Singaporean are unthinking, incapable of coherent reasoning, cruel and callous! Let's save ourselves and LKY, for all the good he had apparent done, all by himself, in the past! Be kind to the old fart!

    **Every time I talk to a savant I feel quite sure that happiness is no longer a possibility. — Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), English logician and philosopher.
    n. savant - A learned person; a scholar.

    1. write more, for after the genocide new history will be written. our notes will be useful for people seeking the truth