Saturday, September 11, 2010


In an interview conducted last week with the International Herald Tribune and published today in the global edition, former Singapore PM and now Minister Mentor, Lee Kuan Yew, reflects on life and shares his thoughts on ageing, marriage and politics.

Below are some excerpts from the interview:

On the pains and aches of ageing

"I can feel the gradual decline of energy and vitality. I'm reaching 87, trying to keep fit, presenting a vigorous figure, and it's an effort, and is it worth the effort? I laugh at myself trying to keep a bold front. It's my habit. I just carry on."

On his wife, Kwa Geok Choo, 89, who has been bedridden and unable to speak since suffering a stroke two years ago. She has been his confidante and counselor since their student days in London

"She understands when I talk to her which I do every night. She keeps awake for me; I tell her about my day's work, read her favourite poems. I tell her I would try and keep her company as long as I can. She understands. But I'm not sure who's going first, she or me."

On how he copes with his daily stress

"At night, I calm myself with 20 minutes of meditation, reciting "Ma-Ra-Na-Tha", a mantra taught by a Christian friend. I'm not a believer, but I find the sounds soothing. A certain tranquility settles over you. The day's pressures and worries are pushed out. Then there's less problem sleeping."

On his moment of greatest anguish when he wept in public

"The expulsion of Singapore from Malaysia in 1965."

On his legacy

"I'm not saying that everything I did was right, but everything I did was for an honourable purpose. I had to do some nasty things, locking fellows up without trial. Do not judge a man until his coffin is closed. I may still do something foolish before the lid is closed on me."

LKY combats the decline of age with a regimen of swimming, cycling and massage. He still keeps to an-hour-by-hour daily schedule of meetings, speeches and conferences in Singapore and overseas.

"I know if I rest, I'll slide downhill fast."

Click here to read the full article.


Starmandala said...

Ego seems undiminished at 87! Nevertheless, LKY clearly believes himself to be honorable - and within the parameters of his worldview and cultural programming, that is quite likely so. Most messianic leaders (from Moses to Mao) have the same genetic template. Modern Israel and Singapore today have much in common. In any case, I must say LKY's intellectual acumen and personal bearing as a statesman are impressive.

Anonymous said...

IF only he could rule the bolehland !
sighs !

AT said...

I believe his misses the most important thing in life - believe in God.