9 things about the late Lee Kuan Yew that you probably didn’t know


Last Updated on 2016-09-04 , 11:24 am

This morning, as I was driving to work, there was something wrong with the radio. It was playing a depressing tune, and so no one was there to cheer me up on Monday morning. All of a sudden, the music stopped playing, and Lee Kuan Yew’s recorded voice rang loudly, almost a little surreally, into the car.

That was when it struck me. The inevitable has occurred.

The drive went on for another fifteen minutes. Through the journey, I saw these: Parents leading their children across the roads, office workers waiting anxiously at bus stops and elderly having breakfast in a coffeeshop. No matter what you think, one of the key reasons why these could occur is because of one man.

And the music in my car continued. Somehow, this is almost akin to a metaphor of Singapore: beneath the tears and hardship within one man, it is a world of sunshine outside. Like what was mentioned often, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of modern Singapore, has given his life to building Singapore.

Mr Lee, Rest in Peace.

There have been countless books about him, but let’s look at some of the interesting facts about this great man that has influenced not just modern Singapore, but the entire world altogether.


1. He learnt Mandarin and Hokkien when he was in his thirties
If you’ve got friends who say that they can’t pick up a new language because they’re “old”, tell them this: our founding father did so like a boss. And he could speak English, Mandarin, Malay and Hokkien so fluently that when he spoke, he would have put some native speakers of these languages to shame.

2. He was only 35 years old when he became Singapore’s prime minister
What were you doing when you were 35 years old? For Mr Lee, he was building a country from almost nothing. It was a difficult, and almost seemingly impossible then, task. But just take a look at Singapore now—the results speak for itself.

3. He married his first love
You have to admit that apart from being one of the greatest leaders in the world, he is also one of the greatest lovers in the world. His wife was his first love, and they walked the journey of their lives forever since then. If that isn’t the best love story in the world, then I don’t know what is.

4. He is mildly dyslexic
Simply put, dyslexia is a genetic condition in which a person will have a tad more difficulty in learning languages. Because of this, they are usually more creative (to balance that difficulty). Other popular and famous people who are dyslexic as well are Albert Einstein and Tom Cruise.

5. He used to smoke and drink, but quit them
He quit drinking because it gave him a beer belly that didn’t look good in pictures. He quit smoking because he was losing his voice in elections.
Things that are so difficult and impossible to others are chicken feet to this great man, indeed.

6. He exercises daily
He was the prime minister, he was a father to both his children and the country, he had to travel often, but he found time to exercise daily. That itself would have put many of us to shame.

7. He pledged $10 million to for the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism
Just so that more people can be bilingual. It’s always about a better Singapore. It’s always that.

8. He has a wax figurine in Madame Tussauds
If you ever need a selfie with him, you can still do so.  Just don’t bother to tag him as he has no official Facebook account.

9. He is also called Harry Lee
But most would just address him as Mr Lee Kuan Yew. It just sounds more Singaporean, doesn’t it?

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