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« Maybe Papa Lee Should Read Confucius | Main | Is the US failing its children? »

May 23, 2006


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I commented on this entry on Ephblog many months ago, and now on hindsight, would like to hear what you have to say about my views.

I quote my reply, in its entirety, below.

"We live in a time where governments make decisions based on economics (read: war for oil, sale of arms by the british, dutch in east timor). I think Prof Crane in this case is too quick to generalise the two Lees. Kinda ironic, how he can close highlighting the difference between the elder Lee and his father, yet imagine that the former and current Prime Ministers of Singapore hold the same stand on 'Confucian Values'.

I do not regard the casions as an admission of failure. Singapore has moved on, surely it is possible for a new Prime Minister to have fresh ideas. It is more of an alternative, an option that after rigourous cost-benefit analysis, has been determined to be beneficial. To claim it as a desperate last resort implies that there will be no new major developments in Singapore after the casinos (IRs, whatever), as assertion I'm willing to stake my bottom dollar against."

I wrote a nice long response and then stupidly erased it...
Suffice it to say: you may be right about casinos not being an admission of failure. Rather, they mark another transition for advanced industrial economies away from manufactured exports toward services (some of which might be quite productive).
My more basic point, which I will stick to, is how ironic all of this is for the Lees. LKY used to make a big deal about how superior Asian morality was v. decadent American liberalism. But now he has changed his tune. Yes, maybe it is just the pragmatic, realist thing to do, given global conditions. But it sure puts a lie to all of the earlier "Asian Values" stuff.
Thanks for the comment.

But how is it fair to generalise LHL and LKY to be of the same school of thought, when you have also pointed out the difference in opinion between LKY and his father.

Perhaps the casinos were LHL's idea, and LKY was either convinced, or went along with it because of the potentially disastrous effects of a public disagreement (ie. Malaysia). Or perhaps the reins have truly been handed over.

One generation makes a world of difference, and I dare say that when mine steps up to the plate to lead Singapore, the political, economic and social climates will be vastly different.

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