With all the recent discussions surrounding protests and demonstrations, on whether or not a movement such as the one in Hong Kong would ever be replicated in Singapore, one has to wonder what the founder of Singapore would have said about Singapore’s reticence to public assemblies.
In an interview back in 1967 on NBC, Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew talked to a several American reporters about the war in Vietnam, the situation in China, and its effects in Southeast Asia. During the interview, PM Lee was asked about the effects that the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations in Washington were having on Singapore, in any.
LKY promptly answered that Singapore sees plenty of demonstrations as students there “are quite a rambunctious and spirited lot”.
“And I think they ought to be. Otherwise I think there is very little future for Singapore,” says the PM.
He continued, “It’s a young community and the young must be idealistic and the young must believe that the world should be more just and there should be more moral rectitude in the behaviour of their leaders.”
LKY did also admit that the demonstrations in Singapore are not always peaceful, putting the blame on “communists” who “slip into” those demonstrations leading to broken windows and overturned cars.
The PM does then caution that he thinks decisions should be made by adults, not teenagers. Even so, he added that the decisions should also be made in such a way that the teenagers, when they become adults themselves, will look back on those decisions and be proud of the generation that went before them.
Watch the footage of the interview here:
Question on demonstrations at 15:30.