This is the man that took a tiny crime-stricken tropical backwater island to become the most successful modern nation and an economic miracle no less in less than four decades of his regime.
Despite lack of natural resources Singapore became a financial and industrial powerhouse.A success story, a feat, that many world leaders could only dream about.
I have read almost every book written on Lee Kuan Yew, from the obscured James Minchin's "No Man Is An Island" to his two-volume memoirs and the latest book written on him by American columnist Tom Plate.
"One of the asymmetries of history" wrote Henry Kissinger of him. Kissinger's one time boss Richard Nixon was even more flattering and said had Lee lived in another time and another place, he might had attained the stature of a Churchill,Disraeli or a Gladstone.
Profoundly true but water under the bridge now.Few leaders could have attained what Lee had with a tiny nation that had no natural resources except the richness and diversity of its human capital.
In 1965 Singapore ranked the same economically with Chile, Argentina and Mexico, today its per capita GDP is 6 times more than those countries.Even more amazing the per capita GDP is higher than its former colonial master and richer than the purportedly richest nation on earth.The per capita is higher than Britain and the United States.
Talk about the success story of Singapore many Malaysians would not wonder in amazement . "Oh! It's a small country, easier to manage" some would say.True in a way but untrue in many ways.
Smallness will not guarantee success if you have rotten leadership, bad governance and run-away corruptions.That's where Singapore succeed and where other more resourceful countries failed.It persisted in zero tolerance for anomalies.
Obviously, Lee is a big fish in a small pond and he is not letting go of his lost opportunity to govern a bigger land mass......being kicked out of Malaysia as reflected in his regret and disappointment here.
Lee, no doubt is an accomplished leader, a great statesman, an intellectual with achievements unequalled in this modern era.All those do not necessary help smarten his views of hindsight.
His lamentation that Malaysia, if had been kept intact, would have benefited from what Singapore had achieved today in term of racial harmony and equality is just his pipe dream.
As Mahathir said in sarcasm of him as being "A big frog in a small pond" in Tom Plate's "Conversation With Lee Kuan Yew" comments by world leaders.
Keeping Singapore and hard-nosed Lee in Malaysia would have been genocidal and ended in unimaginable disaster. It would be Singapore wanting to leave Malaysia then when the Malays refused to concede political powers to the Chinese whom would have been same in numbers or in the majority. It's a sure recipe for disaster and Tungku Abdul Rahman was wise when he took the decision to expel Singapore to save the nation from ending up in violence and bloodshed. There would not be any Malaysia.There would not be a bigger pond for Lee to swim in. Sabah and Sarawak would have joined Singapore in breaking up the nation.
That's what the most probable scenario would have been.
Of course, I do not expect everyone to agree with my hypothesis.