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Lee Kwan Yew 7 things you should know about Singapore's founding father

Many hail the man who is responsible for turning Singapore around from "a small port city to one of the wealthiest nations in the world"

  • Published: , Refreshed:
play (Bloomberg)

On major international new networks around the world, the news of the death of Singapore founder, Lee Kwan Yew is rife.

Many hail the man who is responsible for turning Singapore around from "a small port city to one of the wealthiest nations in the world", as the BBC put it.

So who exactly was Lee Kwan Yew and why is he touted as such a beacon of light for his country? Here are 7things you should know about the late visionary leader.

 

  1. Lee Kwan Yew attended Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University and graduated with a rare double Starred-First-class honours in Law
  2. He served as Prime Minister for Singapore for 31 years, overseeing Singapore's independence from Britain and separation from Malaysia and co-founded the People's Action Party (PAP), which has governed Singapore since 1959.
  3. He was fluent in  English, Mandarin and Malay and set up a highly educated work force which was fluent in English, and reached out to foreign investors to turn Singapore into a manufacturing hub.
  4. In a bid to sustaining the economic development in the 1960s, Lee started a vigorous Stop at Two family planning campaign. Couples were urged to undergo sterilisation after their 2nd child while 3rd or 4th children were given lower priorities in education and such families received fewer economic cut-backs.
  5. In the 1980's he set up the Social Development Unit (SDU) aimed at promoting socialising among men and women graduates,encouraging Singapore men to choose highly educated women as wives, due to his concern that a large number of graduate women were unmarried.
  6. He is the only leader known to bring an entire country from third world to first world status in a single generation.
  7. He introduced corporal punishment making it mandatory for no fewer than 42 crimes including those involving drug addicts and illegal immigrants.
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