25 Inspiring Lee Kuan Yew Quotes On From Third World To First

Updated: June 13, 2021 / Home » Quotes [ Lesson for Life ]

Lee Kuan Yew also spelled as Lee Kwan Yew 李光耀 is known as a very successful politician, born in Singapore, Mr.Lee successfully turned Singapore from a third world to first world. The other 2 non western countries that managed to reach developed status are Taiwan and South Korea, but both are still behind Singapore in terms of Human Development Index (HDI) and Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).

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Long story short, LKY was the first Prime Minister of Singapore, governing for three decades. He is also widely recognized as the founding father of modern Singapore. His son Lee Hsien Loong is the current Prime Minister of Singapore and Mr.Lee Kwan Yew is the Minister Mentor. Without further ado, here are 15 Prime Minister Lee’s quotes. As of 20th March 2015, Lee Kuan Yew is on his 7th week critically ill lying on the hospital bed, rumour has it that he is on his deathbed and dying. Update: Lee Kuan Yew passed away on the 23rd of March.

What I fear is complacency. When things always become better, people tend to want more for less work. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
What I fear is complacency. When things always become better, people tend to want more for less work.

Every person, genius or moron, has a right to reproduce himself. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
Every person, genius or moron, has a right to reproduce himself.

I wish I can meet my wife in the hereafter, but I don’t think I will. I just cease to exist just as she has ceased to exist. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
I wish I could meet my wife in the hereafter, but I don’t think I will. I just cease to exist just as she has ceased to exist.

I don’t believe in love at first sight. I think it’s a grave mistake. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
I don’t believe in love at first sight. I think it’s a grave mistake.

Whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him. Or give it up. This is not a game of cards. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
Whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him. Or give it up. This is not a game of cards.

I do not yet know of a man who became a leader as a result of having undergone a leadership course. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
I do not yet know of a man who became a leader as a result of having undergone a leadership course.

I always tried to be correct, not politically correct. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
I always tried to be correct, not politically correct.

If Singapore is a nanny state, then I am proud to have fostered one. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
If Singapore is a nanny state, then I am proud to have fostered one.

I make no apologies that the PAP is the Government and the Government is the PAP. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
I make no apologies that the PAP is the Government and the Government is the PAP.

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Even from my sick bed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel something is going wrong, I will get up. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
Even from my sick bed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel something is going wrong, I will get up.

I have been accused of many things in my life, but not even my worst enemy has ever accused me of being afraid to speak my mind. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
I have been accused of many things in my life, but not even my worst enemy has ever accused me of being afraid to speak my mind.

One man one vote is a most difficult form of government... Results can be erratic. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
One man one vote is the most difficult form of government… Results can be erratic.

I was a product of the times, the war, the occupation, the reoccupation, my 4 years in Britain, admiring but at the same time questioning whether they are able to do a better job than we can. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
I was a product of the times, the war, the occupation, the reoccupation, my 4 years in Britain, admiring but at the same time questioning whether they are able to do a better job than we can.

If you deprive yourself of outsourcing and your competitors do not, you're putting yourself out of business. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
If you deprive yourself of outsourcing and your competitors do not, you’re putting yourself out of business.

Singaporeans, if I can choose an analogy, we are the hard disk of a computer, the foreign talent are the megabytes you add to your storage capacity. So your computer never hangs because you have enormous storage capacity. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
Singaporeans, if I can choose an analogy, we are the hard disk of a computer, the foreign talent are the megabytes you add to your storage capacity. So your computer never hangs because you got enormous storage capacity.

You know, the cure for all this talk is really a good dose of incompetent government. You get that alternative and you'll never put Singapore together again: Humpty Dumpty cannot be put together again... Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
You know, the cure for all this talk is really a good dose of incompetent government. You get that alternative and you’ll never put Singapore together again: Humpty Dumpty cannot be put together again…

Political reform need not go hand in hand with economic liberalisation. I do not believe that if you are libertarian, full of diverse opinions, full of competing ideas in the market place, full of sound and fury, therefore you will succeed. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
Political reform need not go hand in hand with economic liberalisation. I do not believe that if you are libertarian, full of diverse opinions, full of competing ideas in the marketplace, full of sound and fury, therefore you will succeed.

If you can't force or are unwilling to force your people to follow you, with or without threats, you are not a leader. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
If you can’t force or are unwilling to force your people to follow you, with or without threats, you are not a leader.

I ignore polling as a method of government. I think that shows a certain weakness of mind - an inability to chart a course whichever way the wind blows, whichever way the media encourages the people to go, you follow. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
I ignore polling as a method of government. I think that shows a certain weakness of mind – an inability to chart a course whichever way the wind blows, whichever way the media encourages the people to go, you follow.

If Singapore is a nanny state, then I am proud to have fostered one. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
If Singapore is a nanny state, then I am proud to have fostered one.

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With few exceptions, democracy has not brought good government to new developing countries...What Asians value may not necessarily be what Americans or Europeans value. Westerners value the freedoms and liberties of the individual. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
With few exceptions, democracy has not brought good government to new developing countries…What Asians value may not necessarily be what Americans or Europeans value. Westerners value the freedoms and liberties of the individual.

Even from my sick bed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel something is going wrong, I will get up. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
Even from my sick bed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel something is going wrong, I will get up.

I am often accused of interfering in the private lives of citizens. Yes, if I did not, had I not done that, we wouldn't be here today. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
I am often accused of interfering in the private lives of citizens. Yes, if I did not, had I not done that, we wouldn’t be here today.

I make no apologies that the PAP is the Government and the Government is the PAP. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
I make no apologies that the PAP is the Government and the Government is the PAP.

Freedom of the press, freedom of the news media, must be subordinated to the overriding needs of the integrity of Singapore, and to the primacy of purpose of an elected government. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
Freedom of the press, freedom of the news media, must be subordinated to the overriding needs of the integrity of Singapore, and to the primacy of purpose of an elected government.

I started off believing all men were equal. I now know that's the most unlikely thing ever to have been... Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
I started off believing all men were equal. I now know that’s the most unlikely thing ever to have been…

When it becomes too acute, the instruments of repression, namely the army and the police, have been proved time and time again in history to have turned their guns on their masters. Quote by Lee Kuan Yew
Repression can only go up to a point. When it becomes too acute, the instruments of repression, namely the army and the police, have been proved time and time again in history to have turned their guns on their masters.

Books By Lee Kuan Yew

singapore riverbank painting art

  • From Third World to First: The Singapore Story
  • From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew, Vol. 2
  • The Wit and Wisdom of Lee Kuan Yew
  • The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew
  • Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going
  • My Lifelong Challenge Singapore’s Bilingual Journey

The Best of Lee Kuan Yew Speeches

9 Comments

  1. Gravatar
    Abdullah Sani [ Reply ]

    He is a great man.

  2. Gravatar

    If only leaders in the west had the balls that LKY did!! Those countries, and the world, would be a better place.

  3. Gravatar
    Comr. Benedict [ Reply ]

    This is indeed a mentor, a hero, an adventurer. he has truly done greatly by transforming Singapore into 1st class country in the world. We wish all youths could take up your foot step. Good night sir.

  4. Gravatar
    Rajendran [ Reply ]

    LKY you are my GURU.

  5. Gravatar
    Sidney Crooke [ Reply ]

    We all paid a price for becoming a First World country.
    Those who propered and those floundered.
    Nobody cares or cared for the one who floundered.
    Having so much and creating more wealth is more important .
    Using the wealth to help us the old ones is a taboo.
    As more and more of us age , we know that all this wealth will never be used

  6. Gravatar
    Abdullahi Shirwa [ Reply ]

    I would like the Hard Truth

  7. Gravatar
    Geoffrey Kasangaki [ Reply ]

    Democracy with poverty is insecurity and I agree not all men are equal. Most instances decisions need to be made on behalf of the people as some times if not most times people don’t even know what to do. It’s your role as a leader to take decisions and in some instances suspend liberties for better quality livelihoods.

  8. Gravatar
    Giuseppe Cossari [ Reply ]

    A Great Man, A man that I have always admired, from a Calabrian Italian migrant.
    May your resting place never be disturbed: Rest in Peace. Julius Caesar of the East.

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