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Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going
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Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  654 ratings  ·  83 reviews
Lee Kuan Yew is Singapore's most influential son but he is not without his critics. He has not flinched from taking them on, even now after almost 60 years in the political fray. Why is Lee so hard on his political opponents? Could the People's Action Party ever lose its grip on power? Are the younger leaders up to the mark? Will growing religiosity change Singapore for th ...more
Hardcover, 458 pages
Published 2011 by Straits Times Press
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Jan 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I am a naturalized citizen of Singapore, having resided here for 28 years (as of 2012) and married into a Singapore family 23 years ago. I gave up US citizenship and never looked back.

Lee Kwan Yew is simply the most seminal, inspirational and effective political leader of the post World War II world. One is hard pressed to find any statesman who comes close. After the ordeals of British colonial rule and the Japanese occupation, Singapore struggled to survive. On that fateful day ...
Feb 04, 2011 rated it liked it
I found this book interesting for Lee Kuan Yew's views, and definitely not for the interview format in which they were presented.

The journalists barely contributed anything valuable at all: they were clearly cowed by LKY, unable to debate him into any concessions or to challenge his more extreme views. To their credit, they did present others' well-worn criticisms, but after LKY rejects the arguments, immediately gave up pursuing the issues any further. The interview summaries are rather sycopha
Mar 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"I used to ride with Tunku Abdul Rahman in his car. He treated me as a courtier. I had to follow him to weddings and all social functions. Everywhere, they had new mosques. I said, "Tunku, why don't you build clinics?" "No, no," he said, "Kuan Yew, you don't understand these things. This is a Malay society. They need to pray. You just give them the right prayers and a little bit of better life and they will be happy, they will work with you."

*This is coming from a Malay man with position himself
Brit Cheung
Dec 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: singapore

(the review is confined to the first 4 chapters)
Mr LKY is full of charisma and state vision despite being controversial for his ardent advocacy of meritocracy and the genetic beliefs.

what he did were to serve Singapore's interests and its future is his perpetual preoccupation. He has an exceptional sense of crisis for his country. When the outside world marvel at what Singapore has achieved and its stunning transformations, he always keeps wary and vigillent for the country's looming threat. He
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
If Tom Plate's Conversations with LKY was a four star read for me, I would rate Hard Truths as a 4.5 star read. Hard Truths is presented as a dialogue in question and answer format and like Conversations with LKY, this allows LKY's voice to come through. You can almost hear the rhythm of his speech rolling off the pages of the book (and indeed, the copy I borrowed came with a DVD featuring excerpts from the interview where you really could hear LKY speak). By reproducing his blunt observations, ...more
Lea Tan
Apr 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book gave great insights to the mind of Singapore's founding father in the most direct and provocative manner. Helped young sgeans understand the history and milestones that our grandparents and parents have been through. Awesome read.
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hard Truths are factual unpleasantries that most people do not admit. In Hard Truths, Lee Kuan Yew candidly gives his harsh opinions that may be politically incorrect on several controversial issues regarding Singapore’s governance in sixteen face-to-face interview sessions with seven Straits Times journalists. Written in an enthralling question-and-answer style, Hard Truths gives readers a glimpse into Lee’s unique perspectives on leadership in his own words.

One dominant characteristic highlig
Yen Wee
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Having spent my entire life in Singapore, “Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going” (Han et al, 2011) proved to be deeply relatable and stands out from other volumes written on Mr. Lee with its candid and genuine tone throughout. When asked if he would choose to be a politician again, Mr. Lee expressed his reluctance and it was the circumstances that driven him to take up the mantle, having felt that he led his supporters down. Mr. Lee provided thought-provoking insights based on year ...more
Mar 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
I need to write Han Fook Kwang a thank you note. This could have been another concrete block of a book, but with some deft manouevring, Han convinced the titan of Asian geopolitics to drop the idea of a third instalment to his autobiography series, and submit instead to a series of interviews. Han and his team of young and old journalists cap and sock the revealing, highly-entertaing interview sequences with what appear to be factual backdrop, but in fact serve as sly little digs at the intervie ...more
Clarence Wx
Mar 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
LKY is definitely a force to be reckon with. His pragmatic and practical ways have made Singapore what she is today, though it may be aggressive. This book has freshen my thoughts and opinions on Singapore and answered(or at least gave me a clearer picture) the many doubts and queries I personally have regarding her present and her future. It is also nice to know some of my take in life coincides with LKY.
May 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very interesting read. Have come to appreciate Singapore a lot more, now that I understand its history a little better. Am quite in awe of Lee, and admire the way he thinks, and like how steadfast he is with his opinions. Quite liked the format of the book as well-made it very accessible.
Wan Peter
Apr 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: lky
Its tough to be a Singaporean.I am glad to be in this country.
Xi Xi
May 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
I like his sheer sense of realities.
very inspiring, I would say.
May 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I found the idea of this book intriguting and am glad to know most of the tough political issues faced on/ for my country...
Sep 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Good insight on LKY's personal thoughts and political views. May not agree fully with his views but respect his fortitude and self-belief
Jasmine Tan
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
0. Introduction

Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths to keep Singapore Going is not a book for the faint-hearted. Consisting of hours of interviews with Mr. Lee discussing pertinent issues such as the country’s immigration policies and widening income inequality, the book underscores numerous challenges he foresees the country will face in the near future in a straight-to-the-point fashion. He also shared about his own experience transforming a fishing village into the first-world country we see today, juxt
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chew Si Jing
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going (Han Fook Kwang et al), is definitely a book that everyone should have a go at, to understand the challenges and difficulties behind the success of Singapore today. This will certainly give you a glimpse of our transformation from a third world, to a first world country.

This memoir, which articulates Mr. Lee’s decades of political experience has shown how his far-sighted leadership, strong convictions and fullest dedication led to Singapore’s rem
Eleanor Teo
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
An influential man who has remained in the public eye for 60 years after stepping down as Singapore’s longest serving Prime Minister of 31 years, Lee Kuan Yew has made innumerable contributions to the economic prosperity Singapore enjoys today. Yet for a country that consistently top global rankings in wealth, education and even cost of living, Lee is not without fears of the vulnerabilities Singapore may face in coming years. Hard Truths is a comprehensive depository of Lee’s wisdom, experience ...more
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
After finishing this book, some issue that came into mind.

First issue - religions

In Singapore multiracialism progressing very nicely, UNTIL the surge of Islam came. Become a Muslim not like other religions, as a Muslim it will change your life, you need go to mosque, learn Arabic prayers and diet and nearly everything. Government can integrate all religions and races Except Islam. Muslims socially do not cause any trouble but they distinct and separate! In a long team run I feel that it might h
Lee Jia Xun
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cornelius Heng
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One discourse that is still largely relevant to current society now would be on the open-door policy for foreigners to move to Singapore. The main reason for this is to boost economic growth and the low birth rates of Singaporeans. Lee mentions that by the end of 2050, 1.5 working persons will have to support one elderly with the rate that Singaporeans are reproducing, and there would not be enough manpower which will lead to the collapse of the economy (p.275). Additionally, job opportunities c ...more
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“No, you are going to fetch your own ball back or you lose it.” This is one of the Mdm. Kwa Geok Choo’s quotes that I thought was insightful when I read the book “Hard truths to keep Singapore going”. The quote truly calls for individual responsibility and action to make things right. Indeed, in the book, interviewed and recorded by Mr Han Fook Kwan and his team of reporters, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew clearly stated that in order to improve and to progress as a nation, the people has to initiate and acti ...more
Shawn Ten
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Having read Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going , as a citizen of Singapore, it is a refreshing insight into the perspective that Mr Lee Kuan Yew had whilst directing nation-building policies in the nation.

The greatest insight I had would be examining his thinking behind instituting the principle of meritocracy in Singapore - Lee was a longtime advocate of meritocracy and used it to equalise opportunity for people. Lee envisioned a fair system where people were given rewards comme
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book gave me insights on the reasons behind the government’s decisions and choices in terms of policymaking. With greater understanding, I am able to empathise with their position and expand my horizons. I would like to express my thoughts on one topic on elitism which the book raised. Another misconception of the public was that the government was unfairly made up of those from privileged backgrounds, who studied at top schools and won scholarships. Mr Lee justified such elitism by explain ...more
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
It isn’t hard to find dissidents and people who dislike the PAP, and it is easy to see why- from CPF and ERP to complaints about the draconian political style, it is easy to find fault against the government. However, these opinions are that of the vocal community, which may drown out the voices of others- the supporters, and that of the government officials themselves. In an attempt to obtain a more complete picture, I sought to hear from the other side of the story, to read for myself the moti ...more
Ong Li Ying
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
In 2008, our late Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew realized that while older citizens regarded his views with significant weight and relevance, a younger generation of Singaporeans who did not had emerged. Determined to engage this group of people, Lee decided to write a book and Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going was born. The book, written by 7 journalists from The Straits Times, is an amalgamation of 16 lengthy interviews with Lee and organized interestingly in a question-and-answe ...more
Lee Yu Xiang
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mr Lee Kuan Yew, in the book ‘Hard truths to get Singapore going’, candidly spoke about his unwavering beliefs that shaped his leadership of and influence over Singapore from 1959 until his untimely death in 2015. He covered broad topics, from internal politics to international relationships, recalling the moments that lead to his decisions to such fine details. Arguing robustly and giving solid rationale behind his decisions, it was obvious that Mr Lee is never regretful of his past policies an ...more
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was born in the 1990s. The Singapore I know has always had clean rivers, litter-free streets and urbanized business districts. Reading Mr Lee's accounts of the struggles of Singapore in her nascent years was eye-opening. I knew that the nation-building process was not easy; but I had no understanding of the intricacies of global politics, and the diplomatic storms our pioneer civil servants had to weather (as the 'Chinese Jew in a sea of Malay' neighbors), as well as ongoing maneuvers that are ...more
Wei Yang
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Uncensored and brutal, Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going is a compilation of oral interviews of Singapore’s first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, by a team of journalists from the Straits Time led by Han Fook Kwang. Interestingly, Hard Truths was originally intended to be another of Lee’s memoir, but it eventually turned out as an interview in which Lee engaged the team of journalists over sensitive and controversial issues that were raised by the public. Framed in a question-and-answer format, ...more
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