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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:


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:


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:


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....


Will the Philippines Ever Speed Up Its Glacially-Slow Justice System?

We’ve all heard the saying “justice delayed is justice denied.” That maxim has been around since time immemorial. In fact the Pirkei Avot (Hebrew for “Ethics of the Fathers”) which dates back to the 1st century B.C. mentions an old rabbi saying that goes: “the sword comes into the world, because of justice delayed and justice denied." In 1215 A.D. a clause from the Magna Carta similarly declares that “to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice." Published 3/17/2015

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Manny Pacquiao Should Not Be Given a Tax Exemption

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With Negotiators Like These on Our Team, Who Needs an Opposing Side?

What on earth happened to these two women—supposedly  handpicked by the president himself to argue on behalf of the Philippine government in peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front—who now seem to be mouthpieces for the Moros? Have Secretary Teresita Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chair of the negotiating panel become mesmerized by the tough "macho" image the rebels project? Published 2/27/2015
Why is the NBI Going After Those Who Uploaded the Sagonoy Video?

According to NBI Director Virgilio Mendez, they have identified the individuals who uploaded the video showing the coldblooded killing of PO2 Joseph Sagonoy. The cellphone video was purportedly taken by Muslim rebels during the Jan. 25, 2014 encounter between the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebel group. The video shows a wounded Sagonoy who is shot twice in the head at close range. Published 2/21/2015
Twice the Heroes—the SAF 44 Who Lost Lives in Mamasapano

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After the Mamasapano Massacre, Plans for a Bangsamoro Must Be Scrapped

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President Aquino Should Fly to Saudi Arabia and Pay His Last Respects to King Abdullah

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After the Pope's Visit: What We Filipinos Now Must Do

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