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Lee Kuan Yew and Ferdinand Marcos, What a Difference!

Former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (September 16, 1923 - March 23, 2015)n Australian living in the Philippines published a book titled: “The Unlucky Country. The Republic of the Philippines in the 21st Century.” The author Duncan McKenzie came up with the title as the counterpoint to “The Lucky Country” a book written in the mid-sixties that refers to Australia. In his book McKenzie explains that the Philippines is unlucky because, for starters, it is an archipelago and therefore naturally fragmented. In addition, it is a land plagued by “frequent disasters, both man-made and natural.”

Today, we borrow that phrase as we contrast two leaders, one from the Philippines and the other from Singapore. Ferdinand Edralin Marcos ruled the Philippines from late 1965 till early 1986 when he was removed from power by the EDSA, People Power revolution. Lee Kuan Yew ruled Singapore from its inception as an independent country till late 1990 when he became its Senior Minister, then its Senior Mentor from 2004 to 2011.

Like Marcos, Lee ruled his country with an iron hand. Unlike Marcos, Lee had a vision of what Singapore should be. He cajoled his people at first, then carefully guided them to first-world prosperity. Singapore today is an economic powerhouse of just 5.47 million people. According to Wikipedia, “Singapore's economy has been ranked as the most open in the world, 7th least corrupt, most pro-business, with low tax rates (14.2% of Gross Domestic Product, GDP) and has the third highest per-capita GDP in the world.

Singaporeans indeed are lucky to have had a great leader, a true statesman, and a visionary who took their country from a backwater state in Southeast Asia, and turned it into a world-class economic powerhouse. Unfortunately, Filipinos were not as lucky. Not only did they have to endure decades of repression with hundreds tortured or killed. Marcos and his lapdogs bled the country dry, ruined the nation’s economy, and destroyed the social fabric of the country before fleeing to safe havens abroad.

And if that was not enough, Marcos provided the “template for plunder” used by corrupt politicians who follow in his footsteps. So that to this day, the Philippines is a country where thieves and crooks are allowed to amass obscene wealth and then get away with it.

Today our condolences go out to the people of Singapore, you have lost a great leader and a true statesman. But we grieve as well for our country. And wonder: will our luck ever change? Or are we destined to be “the unlucky country” forever? Published 3/23/2015
 


Philnews.com reserves the right to select and edit comments for publication.

Selected comments from our  readers
(Topic: Lee Kuan Yew and Ferdinand Marcos, What a Difference!)

Name: Alex Balweg
City/State/Country: Baliwag
IP Address: 121.54.92.138

Comments

It is the lack of discipline that caused Marcos to falter in his almost 20 year rule. Lee Kuan Yew sent his enemies to prison; Marcos did the same thing but with the wrong people. Lee led an austere life; Marcos an extravagant life style. Lee was in good health; Marcos was in terrible medical shape (lupus and failing kidneys). Because of that, he lost control of his ability to micro manage the affairs of the state. Marcos was a man born ahead of his time. He fathered Diaspora that brought some $ 20 billion yearly in the nation's coffers through OFWs remittances. He was the architect in infrastructure projects and a damn good salesman in promoting tourism. History may alter the perception of Marcos as a leader.


Name: Paco Sa Cruz
City/State/Country: Vietnam
IP Address: 104.59.104.225

Comments

Singaporeans mourn the passing of Lee Kuan Yew. But it was good riddance, when the Philippines celebrated the death of Ferdinand Marcos. While LKY established the solid foundation that continue to bring prosperity to Singapore which has no natural resources, FM put the solid foundation of corruption that continue to bring misery to the Philippines which is rich in natural resources. Singaporeans need not go anywhere to have a good life but the Filipino has to be an OFW exposed to the perils of foreign societies to search for a good life. This is the difference between the statesman Lee Kuan Yew and the corrupt Ferdinand Marcos.


Name: Vik
City/State/Country: Tarlac City
IP Address: 27.110.148.229

Comments

What a Difference!??? Compare the dirty, filthy, garbage filled Rizal Avenue of Manila with the free flowing traffic of Orchard Road of Singapore. Compare SNG smooth MRT and railways system with RP's dilapidated PNR and LRT/MRT system. The Island State of SNG has Changi Airport, can we say of the same with NAIA in Manila? SNG's Pan Island Expressway looks better than NLEX, SLEX, SCETEX combined...SNG has a squadrons of F-16's, RP's OV-10's are flying coffins that easily drop from the sky...and on, and on....

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