Chia Wern Lin
Harry Lee Kuan Yew
Mr Lee is a fourth-generation Singaporean. His Hakka great-grandfather, Lee Bok Boon who was born in 1846, emigrated from the Dapu county of Guangdong province in China to the Straits Settlements in 1862. Harry Lee Kuan Yew was born on 16 September 1923, at 92 Kampong Java Road in Singapore, a large and airy bungalow.
Mr Lee was the eldest child of Lee Chin Koon and Chua Jim Neo. Mr Lee had three other brothers, Lee Suan Yew, Dennis Lee and Freddy Lee and a sister; Monica Lee Kim Mon. Mr Lee belonged to a Peranakan family but as they grew up in British Singapore, he was strongly influenced by British culture. His grandfather, Lee Hoon Leong, had given his sons an English education. His grandfather gave him the name 'Harry' while the name 'Kuan Yew' was given by his father. He was mostly known as "Harry Lee" for his first 30 or so years, and still is to many close friends and family. Since entering politics, he has mostly styled himself 'Lee Kuan Yew'. Mr Lee married Kwa Geok Choo on 30 September 1950. His wife died on 2 October 2010 in her sleep. They have two sons and one daughter. Several members of Lee's family hold prominent positions in Singaporean society. His youngest son, Lee Hsien Yang, was also a former Brigadier-General and former President and Chief Executive Officer of SingTel. He is currently the Non-Executive Director and Chairman of Fraser and Neave Ltd and chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS). His daughter, Lee Wei Ling, runs the National Neuroscience Institute. Lee Hsien Loong's wife, Ho Ching, is the Executive Director and CEO of Temasek Holdings.
Mr Lee was educated at Telok Kurau Primary School, Raffles Institution, where he was a member of the 01 Raffles Scout Group, and Raffles College, now National University of Singapore. His university education was however delayed by World War II and the 1942–1945 Japanese occupation of Singapore. Mr Lee also learned Japanese as an adult and he worked as a Japanese translator during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore. During the occupation, he operated a successful black market business selling tapioca-based glue called Stikfas. Having taken Chinese and Japanese lessons since 1942, he was able to find work transcribing Allied wire reports for the Japanese, as well as being the English-language editor on the Japanese Hodobu, an information or propaganda department, from 1943 to 1944. After the war, he briefly attended the London School of Economics before moving to Cambridge University, where he studied Law at Fitzwilliam College and graduated with Double Starred First Class Honours. He was subsequently made an honorary fellow of Fitzwilliam College. He returned to Singapore in 1949 to practise as a lawyer in Laycock and Ong, the legal practice of John Laycock, a pioneer of multiracialism who, together with A.P. Rajah and C.C. Tan, had founded Singapore's first multiracial club open to Asians.
I plan to base my research on how Mr Lee made positive impacts to Singapore by contributing to her political aspect. Mr Lee says a major reason for Singapore's economic achievements is its political stability. He attributes much of this to the dominant role of the People's Action Party (PAP). Mr Lee had a role as an election agent for John Laycock under the banner of the pro-British Progressive Party in the 1951 legislative council elections. This was his first ever experience with politics. However, Mr Lee eventually realised the party was unlikely to win mass support, especially from the Chinese-speaking working class. This was especially important when the 1953 Rendel Constitution expanded the electoral rolls to include all local-born as voters, resulting in a significant increase in Chinese voters. His big break came when he was engaged as a legal advisor to the trade and students' unions, which provided Mr Lee with a link to the Chinese-speaking, working-class world....
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