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From Third World to First: The Singapore…
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From Third World to First: The Singapore Story - 1965-2000 (edición 2000)

por Lee Kuan Yew (Autor)

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335458,721 (3.9)2
Few gave tiny Singapore much chance of survival when it was granted independence in 1965. How is it, then, that today the former British colonial trading post is a thriving Asian metropolis with not only the world's number one airline, best airport, and busiest port of trade, but also the world's fourth-highest per capita real income? The story of that transformation is told here by Singapore's charismatic, controversial founding father, Lee Kuan Yew. Rising from a legacy of divisive colonialism, the devastation of the Second World War, and general poverty and disorder following the withdrawal of foreign forces, Singapore now is hailed as a city of the future. This miraculous history is dramatically recounted by the man who not only lived through it all but who fearlessly forged ahead and brought about most of these changes. Delving deep into his own meticulous notes, as well as previously unpublished government papers and official records, Lee details the extraordinary efforts it took for an island city-state in Southeast Asia to survive at that time. Lee explains how he and his cabinet colleagues finished off the communist threat to the fledgling state's security and began the arduous process of nation building: forging basic infrastructural roads through a land that still consisted primarily of swamps, creating an army from a hitherto racially and ideologically divided population, stamping out the last vestiges of colonial-era corruption, providing mass public housing, and establishing a national airline and airport. In this illuminating account, Lee writes frankly about his trenchant approach to political opponents and his often unorthodox views on human rights, democracy, and inherited intelligence, aiming always "to be correct, not politically correct." Nothing in Singapore escaped his watchful eye: whether choosing shrubs for the greening of the country, restoring the romance of the historic Raffles Hotel, or openly, unabashedly persuading young men to marry women as well educated as themselves. Today's safe, tidy Singapore bears Lee's unmistakable stamp, for which he is unapologetic: "If this is a nanny state, I am proud to have fostered one." Though Lee's domestic canvas in Singapore was small, his vigor and talent assured him a larger place in world affairs. With inimitable style, he brings history to life with cogent analyses of some of the greatest strategic issues of recent times and reveals how, over the years, he navigated the shifting tides of relations among America, China, and Taiwan, acting as confidant, sounding board, and messenger for them. He also includes candid, sometimes acerbic pen portraits of his political peers, including the indomitable Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, the poetry-spouting Jiang Zemin, and ideologues George Bush and Deng Xiaoping. Lee also lifts the veil on his family life and writes tenderly of his wife and stalwart partner, Kwa Geok Choo, and of their pride in their three children -- particularly the eldest son, Hsien Loong, who is now Singapore's deputy prime minister. For more than three decades, Lee Kuan Yew has been praised and vilified in equal measure, and he has established himself as a force impossible to ignore in Asian and international politics. From Third World to First offers readers a compelling glimpse into this visionary's heart, soul, and mind.… (más)
Miembro:cjoelrun
Título:From Third World to First: The Singapore Story - 1965-2000
Autores:Lee Kuan Yew (Autor)
Info:Harper (2000), Edition: Illustrated, 752 pages
Colecciones:Tu biblioteca
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Etiquetas:to-read

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From Third World to First: The Singapore Story 1965-2000 por Lee Kuan Yew

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Gift from Chang Heng Chee
  efeulner | May 2, 2014 |
Part II of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew's memoirs.

Given his extremely busy life as a statesman over the past 30 years, this volume is not arranged in chronological order. Instead, LKY organizes it in two broad sections - the first on domestic policy, and the second on foreign relations.

The combinations of his political positions may seem odd to most Americans. In trade, he is a free market proponent, in domestic social spending he is a pragmatic social democrat, with a progressive but light tax policy. In the early years, he was a New-Deal technocrat public works advocate, but also fiercely anti-Communist.

He notes the hazardous effect of the 'resource curse' on colonial nations - where MNCs swoop in, harvest the resources, and leave little benefit for the rest of the population save a few autocrats. He wryly notes that Singapore dodged that bullet by having no natural resources, and instead must aim for human development so as to avoid exploitation. Therefore, he advertised the place as a financial and technical center, with an educated and motivated populace. It gained a lot of appeal that way.

It's also interesting how he managed to develop an education system, juggling four official languages and preventing ethnic tensions, building up a university system while preventing the Communists from South-East Asia from infiltrating it. In the early years, the Cultural Revolution was in full swing, and LKY was merciless in the imprisonment, exile, or execution of suspected dissidents.

But in many ways, they've worked. Their unemployment rate, after peaking at 4% during the economic crisis of the late 2000s, is now down to 1.9%.

The economic development of the past 50 years was a whiplash for some. LKY shares stories of new apartment goers in the early years trying to coax their pigs and chickens upstairs.

Foreign policy for Singapore in the early years was also an immense juggling act. After their expulsion from Malaysia, and the departure of British troops in the 1960s, Singapore was left largely alone against Indonesia and Malaysia, who both coveted Singapore's strategic location, and communist movements in SE-Asia as a whole.

His initial strategy was two-fold: first, develop military independence by hiring Israeli troops to train the army, and purchase cheaper arms from them or the US. Second, develop stronger ties with the rest of the British Commonwealth (Australia and New Zealand in particular), Japan, and the United States as a major trading partner, so that nobody would dare attack them without angering larger, more powerful friends. In the post-Cold War era, he has cultivated relations with the Chinese, Americans, and the Russians. Money talks.

After Singapore's establishment as a developed nation, he moves on to broader topics on foreign policy. He sides with Thatcher on economic policy, but disapproves of her response to the miners and neutral response to Apartheid in South Africa. Obviously, he has little tolerance for European racial hegemony, as it would only exacerbate any worries about 'regional security'.

His reach in foreign policy is broad. He speaks of 'national character' and the balance of power as realists do, but also of personal agency and the personalities of the leaders. His analyses are brutal at times, but still very interesting. He moves from his SE-Asian neighbors, to British colonial possessions, to European elder statesmen.

His relationship with China was of particular interest. His initial relations were harried, at best, as the early stages of Singapore's independence coincided with the Cultural Revolution, and he was concerned about the terrifying rumors which filtered out through refugees. In the late 1970s, however, a certain Deng Xiaoping rose to power, and paid a visit to Singapore. LKY relates that he was very impressed with Singapore's economic development, from a colonial outpost to a trading power. He lamented the enormity of his task - "If only I had a city to run, like Shanghai, instead of all of China. Then perhaps I could run it like Hong Kong or Singapore." Perhaps this visit was one of the foundations of his 'Special Economic Zone' policy, which led to exponential urban growth along the coasts, and massive industrial booms, and China's return.

Like all political memoirs, this one contains some degree of self-serving platitudes. But LKY, at least, might have some reason to boast. Although he does grant extremely harsh criticism to his opponents, referring to some as 'incompetent' or worse.

His position on race can at times be brilliant with its successful transition into multiculturalism, and at times prejudiced. His open advocacy of the policies of 'The Bell Curve' is baffling. It is jarring to see his economic policy of social advocacy contrasted with his almost Victorian views on parochialism, on 'racial qualities', and inventing a new nationalism to unify the state. If anything, Singapore resembles Plato's Republic and the Chinese philosophy of Legalism - a selected elite (PAP) running the state, influencing the media and education to shape national discussion, and the stifling of dissent, most notably with bringing libel suits against political opposition.

This memoir is still of interest - perhaps as an idea of nation-building, perhaps as an honest confession of the brutal decisions of politics. Economically liberal, but politically authoritarian and communal.

It is perhaps a dictatorship, but perhaps it is one of the most prosperous ones there ever was, one that other nations might look to as a model, an alternative to democracy. Unless, of course, you chew gum or jaywalk. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
One of the most fascinating books I have ever read. A primer on how to build and raise a country. ( )
  llandaff | Feb 13, 2008 |
An Interview with Author http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vru_4v2JCSg ( )
  knol | Dec 25, 2007 |
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Few gave tiny Singapore much chance of survival when it was granted independence in 1965. How is it, then, that today the former British colonial trading post is a thriving Asian metropolis with not only the world's number one airline, best airport, and busiest port of trade, but also the world's fourth-highest per capita real income? The story of that transformation is told here by Singapore's charismatic, controversial founding father, Lee Kuan Yew. Rising from a legacy of divisive colonialism, the devastation of the Second World War, and general poverty and disorder following the withdrawal of foreign forces, Singapore now is hailed as a city of the future. This miraculous history is dramatically recounted by the man who not only lived through it all but who fearlessly forged ahead and brought about most of these changes. Delving deep into his own meticulous notes, as well as previously unpublished government papers and official records, Lee details the extraordinary efforts it took for an island city-state in Southeast Asia to survive at that time. Lee explains how he and his cabinet colleagues finished off the communist threat to the fledgling state's security and began the arduous process of nation building: forging basic infrastructural roads through a land that still consisted primarily of swamps, creating an army from a hitherto racially and ideologically divided population, stamping out the last vestiges of colonial-era corruption, providing mass public housing, and establishing a national airline and airport. In this illuminating account, Lee writes frankly about his trenchant approach to political opponents and his often unorthodox views on human rights, democracy, and inherited intelligence, aiming always "to be correct, not politically correct." Nothing in Singapore escaped his watchful eye: whether choosing shrubs for the greening of the country, restoring the romance of the historic Raffles Hotel, or openly, unabashedly persuading young men to marry women as well educated as themselves. Today's safe, tidy Singapore bears Lee's unmistakable stamp, for which he is unapologetic: "If this is a nanny state, I am proud to have fostered one." Though Lee's domestic canvas in Singapore was small, his vigor and talent assured him a larger place in world affairs. With inimitable style, he brings history to life with cogent analyses of some of the greatest strategic issues of recent times and reveals how, over the years, he navigated the shifting tides of relations among America, China, and Taiwan, acting as confidant, sounding board, and messenger for them. He also includes candid, sometimes acerbic pen portraits of his political peers, including the indomitable Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, the poetry-spouting Jiang Zemin, and ideologues George Bush and Deng Xiaoping. Lee also lifts the veil on his family life and writes tenderly of his wife and stalwart partner, Kwa Geok Choo, and of their pride in their three children -- particularly the eldest son, Hsien Loong, who is now Singapore's deputy prime minister. For more than three decades, Lee Kuan Yew has been praised and vilified in equal measure, and he has established himself as a force impossible to ignore in Asian and international politics. From Third World to First offers readers a compelling glimpse into this visionary's heart, soul, and mind.

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