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Rajapaksa extremism cannot be changed: Lee Kuan Yew

[TamilNet, Saturday, 29 May 2010, 17:17 GMT]
Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, in a newly released book titled "Conversations with Lee Kuan Yew,' says that Tamils have been in the island of Sri Lanka as long as the Sinhalese, and that Sri Lanka is not a happy "united" country. The present president of Sri Lanka believes he has settled the problem now that the Tamil Tigers are killed, and wants others to believe that too," and Lee observes:"I don't think they [Tamils] are going to be submissive or go away." Referring to the Sri Lankan president he said: "I have read his speeches and I knew he was a Sinhala extremist. I cannot change his mind."

Lee Kwan Yu, Former Singapore Prime Minister
Lee Kwan Yew, Former Singapore Prime Minister
Mr Lee Kuan Yew also discusses ethnic cleansing in the book, which was released on Wednesday in Singapore.

Tom Plate, an American columnist, uses the book to dispel some Western perceived myths about Singapore, writes Imelda Saab of Channel News Asia.

The author of the book notes that Mr. Lee is against democracies that doesn't work and that the Minister Mentor is also against defending these countries just because they are democracies. "The position strikes me as more consistent than the US relationship with other democracies: we support them only when we approve of them, denouncing them (or worse) when we don't," observes Tom Plates.

Tom Plate
Prof. Tom Plate is the founder of the Asia Pacific Media Network (APMN) and director the Pacific Perspectives Media Center, a subsidiary of the APMN. Tom's regular columns on Asia appear in newspapers and websites across the globe and he is the author of seven books including 'Confessions of an American Media Man,' and 'Understanding Doomsday: A Guide to the Arms Race for Hawks, Doves and People'.
Conversations with Lee Kuan Yew
Conversations with Lee Kuan Yew
The book, written following two days of intensive interviews in 2009, is the first in a series published by Marshall Cavendish on Giants Of Asia.

In a 2007, International Herald Tribune interview Mr Lee Kwan Yew said, "[t]he mistakes of Sri Lanka and other newly independent 'failed states' made Singapore go in a different direction.

"When Singapore broke off from the Malayan Federation it had a hostile neighbor and a population made of Chinese, Malays and immigrants from the Indian subcontinent. The basis of a nation just was not there. But the advantage we had was that we became independent late," Lee recalled in a wide ranging interview with the IHT.

"In 1965, we had 20 years of examples of failed states. So, we knew what to avoid - racial conflict, linguistic strife, and religious conflict. We saw Ceylon," Lee added.

Lee Kuan Yew, born 16 September 1923, is a Singaporean statesman. He was the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, from 1959 to 1990. As co-founder and first secretary-general of the People's Action Party (PAP), he led the party to a landslide victory in 1959, oversaw the separation of Singapore from the Federation of Malaysia in 1965 and its subsequent transformation from a relatively underdeveloped colonial outpost with no natural resources into a "First World", Asian Tiger.

Lee Kuan Yew has remained one of the most influential political figures in South-East Asia.

Related Articles:
19.03.09   Speak your language at home: Lee Kuan Yew
04.02.06   "Sri Lanka, an Asian Gaza strip"

External Links:
LBO: Sri Lanka's mistakes taught Singapore to do different: Lee Kwan Yew
CNA: "Conversations with Lee Kuan Yew" book launched
AHRC: SRI LANKA: The following of a Lee Kwan Yew model aggravated the Sri Lankan ethnic crisis


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