Mr Lee Kuan Yew
What makes for a good leader? That depends on how you define good and the context — a corporation or a nation or a social movement. How much do qualities such as morality, integrity, intelligence and other personal traits matter? Are leaders born or are they made by accidental circumstances? Can a political leader really alter the trajectory of a nation dramatically for the better?
Because questions like those matter to me, I found much of interest in the Youtube video of the October 2000 interview of Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore by Harvard Kennedy School professors David Gergen, Ron Heifetz, Dean Williams, and John Thomas. Continue reading
Lee Kuan Yew was what I consider a good human being. He had not just brains and guts, he had a heart. Here’s one side of him that is funny and warm.
Mr Lee Kuan Yew was a sage. Politicians are generally vile, myopic, self-serving, stupid, vacuous windbags. That Singapore had a Confucian sage for its first prime minister is amazing. Too bad Singapore is a small country. Imagine if LKY had been the first prime minister of India. India’s economy today would probably have been about 10 times that of China, instead of being 1/5th that it is today. Continue reading
The politician I admire the most is Lee Kuan Yew. Why? Because he is intelligent, learned, wise and gets things done. He is authoritarian — but without authority, you cannot get things done. All great leaders are authoritarian since they have to lead. The problem is not authority; the problem is authoritarian leaders who are stupid. Countries end up in the bottom of heap because of stupid authoritarian leaders. Two notable authoritarian leaders in India’s history are Nehru and MK Gandhi. How wise they were is clear from the evidence: India is a desperately poor country. China too had its fair share of stupid authoritarian leaders. And like India, it was awfully poor. But its fortunes changed. How? Because of one man.
Lee Kuan Yew is in intensive care in a hospital in Singapore (Yahoo news.) I am afraid that he will not be around for long but I hope my fears are unfounded. I wish that India had had a leader of his intellect and dedication at the time of India’s political independence from British rule. Unfortunately for hundreds of millions of Indians, India got saddled with Gandhi and following him, Nehru. Both will be judged harshly by the generations to come but that is scant consolation for those who suffered in the past and for those who continue to suffer due to the idiotic policies of incompetent and idiotic leaders of India.
I hold most contemporary politicians in contempt and would rejoice to see the back of them. But I will deeply mourn Lee Kuan Yew’s passing for certain. I hope that day is still far away.
This is a follow up to my previous post (“A Tale of Trash“). This was published on Niti Central Oct 22nd.