Even the heavens wept for Lee Kuan Yew

lky remembered

Even the heavens wept, with the rain coming down on Lee Kuan Yew’s funeral. That couldn’t prevent people from pouring out on the streets to pay their respects to the departed leader.  “Lee Kuan Yew! Lew Kuan Yew!” the crowd chanted in thunderous ovation to the founder of the nation. Vindication or nostalgia, it had to be one or the other that surged forth in this vast outpouring of affection. [Read more…]


Lee Kuan Yew
Lee Kuan Yew

Singaporeans mourning the death of Lee Kuan Yew should not pay any attention to a few Western commentators carping about him. He was admired at home and abroad. World leaders have been paying their respects to him. And if there is any doubt about how attractive Singapore is, consider this.  In no rich country does foreign direct investment (FDI) make up a bigger share of the economy than in Singapore, if we leave aside Hong Kong and Luxembourg. [Read more…]

The legacy of Lee Kuan Yew

Lee Kuan Yew
Lee Kuan Yew

It’s the end of an era in Singapore. Lee Kuan Yew died at 3.18 am today at the Singapore General Hospital, where he had been warded for severe pneumonia for more than a month. He was 91.

Singapore today lost not only its first prime minister, but also the man who personified exceptionalism.

Generally, commentators talk about American exceptionalism, but hasn’t Singapore been exceptional too? [Read more…]

William Zinsser: On Writing Well

Journalist and writing teacher William Zinsser says in his book, On Writing Well: “I’m occasionally asked if I can recall a moment when I knew I wanted to be a writer. No such blinding flash occurred. I only knew that I thought I would like to work for a newspaper.”

Zinsser, who was born on this day 92 years ago, on October 7, 1922, got his wish. He worked for the newspaper of his dreams – the New York Herald Tribune – before teaching writing at Yale, at the New School and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. His book, On Writing Well, is a classic guide for non-fiction writing. First published in 1976, it’s still relevant today. [Read more…]

TS Eliot, ‘mixing memory and desire’

TS Eliot
TS Eliot

Today is the birthday of TS Eliot (September 26, 1888 – January 4, 1965). I still remember how strange and romantic it felt when I first read The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock in my last or penultimate year in high school.

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table…

[Read more…]