Lee Kuan Yew led Singapore to independence and served as its first Prime Minister. He was regularly re-elected from 1959 until he stepped down in 1990. Lee Kuan Yew was educated in England, and under his guidance Singapore became a financial and industrial powerhouse despite a lack of abundant natural resources. Lee ruled with ultimate authority, and his zeal for law and order was legendary. In 1990, he stepped down (though he remained in the cabinet as Senior Minister and now Minister Mentor) and was succeeded as Prime Minister by Goh Chok Tong.
He is a fourth-generation Singaporean. His great-grandfather had left Dapu County, Guangdong Province for Singapore at the age of 16. Lee's grandfather, Hoon Leong, went to an English school and began a career as a pharmacist, a trade dominated by the Hakkas. Lee's father, Chin Koon, first worked as a storekeeper at Shell and later at a jewellery shop. Lee Kuan Yew was born in Singapore on September 16, 1923. Lee's birth was an occasion for great rejoicing in the Lee household. He was the first-born and he was a boy, important to the Chinese for perpetuating the family name. He gave his grandfather such great pride that the old man declared that the child should be educated to become the equal of any Englishman, that is, the model of perfection. The name chosen for him, Kuan Yew, means "the light that shines far and wide".
He is married to Kwa Geok Choo, a similarly brilliant mind who was a Queen's Scholar and the first Malayan woman to achieve a First Class Honors at Cambridge, a feat she achieved in just two years. Together, they formed the legal practice of Lee & Lee, and have two sons, Lee Hsien Loong and Lee Hsien Yang, and a daughter, Lee Wei Ling. Lee’s eldest son Brigadier-General Lee Hsien Loong is now the Prime Minister, one of the second-generation leaders to whom Lee and his cohorts have handed over power. AWARDS & RECOGNITION
•50 Most Powerful men in Asia Guru of Asian values, architect of Singapore's development. Still sought after for advice and comment. •Architect of the century.
•State decorations, including the Order of the Companions of Honor (1970), Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (1972), the Freedom of the City of London (1982), the Order of the Crown of Johore First Class (1984), the Order of Great Leader (1988) and the Order of the Rising Sun (1967). •The highest honor of Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (1988), and Man for Peace (1990). •The Ig Nobel Prize in 1994.
•In 2002, was formally admitted to the Fellowship of Imperial College London in recognition of his promotion of international trade and industry, and development of science and engineering study initiatives with the UK. •In 2006, was presented with the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. •In 2007, was conferred an honorary Doctorate in Law at the Australian National University in Canberra, albeit amid protest from students and staff.
UPBRINGING & EDUCATION
Lee studied at Raffles Institution and Raffles College, and proceeded to Cambridge to read law. After graduating in 1949 with a double First Class Honors and a star for "special distinction", he returned to Singapore to practice law at a well known firm, Laycock and Ong. Lee emerged as the top Malayan boy in the Senior Cambridge examinations. At the age of 19, his studies were interrupted by the Japanese invasion. After the war, he took law at Cambridge University, where he scored a double first (first-class honors in two subjects) in law.
In November 1954, led by young Lee, a group of British-educated, middle-class Chinese who had returned to Singapore in the early 1950s after studying in Britain formed the People's Action Party. The party sought to attract a following among the mostly poor and non-English-speaking masses....