Lee Kuan Yew says we must accept that whoever joins us is part of us, his definition of a Singaporean, an American concept. An acceptance of multiracialism, a tolerance of people of different races, languages, cultures, religions. That's what will stand out against our neighbours. That's our job. Personally, he has his own set of rules, as recounted to the writers.
"Supposing an African black were to marry your daughter, what is your reaction? You will cheer or you will tell your daughter, look, think again, right? I have no qualms in telling you that I'll tell her "you're mad".
In fact a Jewish doctor wanted to marry my daughter, when she was working in MGH (Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was working as a neurology resident). So my wife said, are you sure that will last, an American Jew? She thought it over and she said, "Yes, that's true." It will last for a few years, then move on.
Supposing it had been a Chinese doctor from China or from Taiwan. Well, my grandson, the PM's son, brought home this young lady. She was on her way to Japan on a scholarship, so it's more or less committed, you know, coming to Singapore to meet the family. He brought her to meet me. We say, "OK, that's not bad." There's no unhappiness.
Supposing he'd brought home a white girl. Are you sure you want to do that? But what woudl be my reaction be? I'd say, think it over carefully. It's so much of a struggle. Right? I mean, it is an instinctive reaction."
At his 80th birthday in 2003, Kwa Geok Choo said of her husband, "I read somewhere that 'few elder statesmen can command as much respect and condemnation simultaneously as Lee'. I will leave it to these writers to argue which one has most misunderstood Kuan Yew." Judging by recent utterances, in print or on American television, the fog of misunderstanding, if it existed at all, has been dissipated. The issue now is whether the electorate can stomach any more of his Hard Truths.