Before he was Prime Minister
Known by Singaporeans to be the strongest Prime Minister that governed the country for well over three decades, he was the nation’s founding father and was thought to be the one that brought the country from the third world to the first within a single generation.
Many people didn’t know but he had an English name called “Harry” and attended Raffles Institution much like his grandfather. There, Lee was one of the top 150 students in the whole of Singapore and had a brilliant mind, obtaining countless scholarships and it was there that he met his future wife, Kwa Geok Choo. It was only then that his education was temporarily put on hold for 4 years due to the Japanese occupation in Singapore.
After which, Lee graduated from the University of Cambridge, and had a brief stint as a lawyer before entering politics and forming the People’s Action Party. Things went rocky for a few years with the merger and separation with Malaysia, before Singapore entered one of its prime years, never looking back.
What drove Lee Kuan Yew
It is only natural that a leader like Lee Kuan Yew would not have become what he was without a strong sense of what he was doing in life. With all the adversities he has faced throughout the years, it was only natural that he would develop strong values that made him who he was.
Resilience and Tenacity – You’d find that amongst all the great leaders, possessing resilience and tenacity is one of the key traits that has enabled them to bring the best out of others. Lee Kuan Yew strongly believed in the merger of Malaysia and Singapore and when the merger fell through, it was him that shed the tears on public television. Thankfully, Lee has never looked back from that day and Singapore has blossomed into one of the most successful countries in Asia.
Clear Vision – Lee has always had the vision of building a society that was homogenous yet diverse at the same time. He then worked on his vision to transform Singapore into a multiracial country where everyone could live together yet share the same language and culture, developing a unique identity not seen very often in first world countries. Work on your vision for the future if you wish to succeed.
Traits of Success
Unpopular Decisions Have to Be Made – Being a good leader meant that harsh decisions and rules had to be dealt out that may not seat with the majority of people. However, Lee believed that economic progress could not be made without these decisions and it was better for him to make the decisions than allow matters to be ruled by the heart. This lesson stuck to him from the Japanese occupation where he learnt that power and harsh punishment was the key to deterring crime in a country.
Being Realistic – Lee has been known to be straight forward and realistic, being both a man of science and facts. His “no bullshit” approach to hereditary intelligence and superstitions have allowed him to bring the country up into one that is capable of taking on real world problems.