What is Lee Kuan Yew leaving behind

“Don't do anything to save my life. Let me die of natural causes, ”said Singapore's“ Father of the Nation, ”Lee Kuan Yew. The doctors obeyed as the city-state of Singapore had grown accustomed to obedience to "Harry" - as the nickname - was in its 50 year history. The 91-year-old who justified his authoritarian leadership style with “Asian values” died yesterday. Under his rule, Singapore had transformed from a wicked, truck-paved port into a modern financial metropolis.

Hardly any time in Lee's otherwise intensely illuminated life remains as mysterious as the time under Japanese rule. He is said to have worked for a news agency of the occupiers and only narrowly escaped execution by them. The Japanese occupation later referred to Lee Kuan Yew as the "most important event of his life".

With Lee, Asia loses one of the last surviving contemporary witnesses who saw the Second World War in Asia and then played a key political role in the decolonization of the region. As the founder of the “Peoples Action Party” (PAP), he developed into a political fighter after 1954.

In the hands of a dynasty

This was felt by his opponents and critics in Singapore, whom Lee Kuan Yew drove into financial ruin with the help of the courts. After his son Lee Hsien Loong followed in his father's footsteps as premier in 2004, Singapore's courts also nipped in the bud the allegation that the city-state was in the hands of a family dynasty.

“If we're not careful,” Lee warned his compatriots in the mid-1960s, “conditions in Singapore could get worse than in South Vietnam”. In the face of such warnings, the residents of the city-state complied with the rules imposed by the “Lion of Singapore” on them. Political freedoms have been sacrificed for economic growth. Lee Kuan Yew provided his compatriots with functioning social security, health care and good wages.

There was no subject on which Lee Kuan Yew was silent. "China's neighbors are not convinced that small and large countries are equal and that China does not seek hegemony," he said. “Militant Islam sees the US as a threat. Support for Israel reinforces this sense of threat. We have a long and difficult fight ahead of us, ”he boomed another time.

"As long as leaders care about the welfare of their people, they will obey the leaders," Lee once described his creed. Many residents of the city-state have long since thought differently. "If we could vote freely, Lee Kuan Yew's party would lose instantly," said a Singapore finance broker.