Sept. 16, 2013 is Lee Kuan Yew’s 90th birthday.

Since it is near impossible to escape the influence of Lee Kuan Yew on the lives of Singaporeans, why not count the ways he might have found his way into our hearts and consciousness?

——

1. You think it is manly for a man to cry.

lkysingaporeindependence

 

2. Only one other Harry we know has more impact than him in our lives.

Harry_Potter
Source

 

3. He has a wax figurine at Madame Tussauds museum. And you don’t.

Madame Tussauds LKY

Source: Madame Tussauds Hong Kong

 

4. Because even the Queen loves him.

Queen

 

5. His deadpan humour.

chew-banana-lky
dancing-banana

In a 2000 BBC article about how Singapore’s ban on chewing gum will take a toll on creativity, that was LKY’s retort.

Typical dry British humour.

 

6. You wished you could also say this line: “My son takes after me, he became prime minister.”

LHL-pink
Source: Lee Hsien Loong Facebook

When other normal proud fathers can only say: “My son takes after me, he has my eyes.”

 

7. You want to be someone that no one could ever sack — only you can sack yourself.
bbc-lky
Source

 

8. He thought that we could be Malaysians — luckily he was wrong.

merger
Source

You’ve never loved someone so much for being so wrong.

 

9. He was anti-colonialist.

lky-rally
Source

 

10. He was an opposition politician before being in the opposition was cool.

lky-rally-02
Source

Those glasses. More hipster than Chen Show Mao.

 

11. He supported UK’s Labour Party as a student — way before Oasis, Blur and Spice Girls told you “New Labour” was cool.

Cool-Britannia
Source

“To those who are still open to reason and argument, I say that if you value fairness and social justice not only to the people of Britain but also to the millions of British subjects in the colonies, return another Labour Government”. – Lee Kuan Yew, “If I Were An Englishman”, Speech at the UK’s Labour Party Rally during the 1950 British Elections.

 

12. He publicly confessed that he liked to drink and smoke.

oasis-cigarettes-and-alcohol

Lee Kuan Yew said: “When I was in my 30s, I was fond of smoking and drinking beer.”

(If you know this single, you’re awesome.)

 

13. And he willed himself to give up smoking and drinking.

cigarette-alcohol-cat

Lee Kuan Yew said: “The drinking gave me a beer belly and it was showing up in pictures appearing in the press.

“I quit smoking because it was causing me to lose my voice at election campaigns.”

 

14. He also thinks golf is a waste of effort.

golf-fail

Lee Kuan Yew said: “I began to play more golf to keep fit, but later on turned to running and swimming, which took me less time to achieve the same amount of aerobic exercise.”

 

15. He is telegenic.

lky-gif-04

 

16. You cannot help but feel Lee Kuan Yew is a great orator.

lky-orator

 

17. You admire his neutral accent.

lky-mic

 

18. He is generous as he pledged millions as donations.

1-million-sing-dollars

Lee Kuan Yew made a personal donation of over $10 million to a fund that will be used for initiatives to help children learn both English and their mother tongue.

 

19. You also want to go overseas to study law and unlock your achievements.

lky-lawyer

Beat all the local students on their own turf — attained double First Class Honours in Law with a star for distinction from Cambridge University.

 

20. You wish you could have also married your first love.

lky-wife

 

21. Who was your equal.

Lee-Kuan-Yew-Kwa-Geok-Choo

 

22. And feel comfortable dating an older woman.

Cougar_Meme

Kwa Geok Choo was three years older than Lee Kuan Yew.

 

23. He was not a hit with his girlfriend/ wife’s parents who did not approve of him at first.

LKY with cigarette

And then he became the prime minister of Singapore.

 

24. You want to be beyond reproach too.

tre

 

25. You always felt having at least one friend from Drew & Napier is convenient.

Davinder-Singh
Source

 

26. You wished you could have kept at least one clean sheet.

lky-tanjong-pagar

Undefeated heavyweight champion, never lost an election.

 

27. You’ve always wanted your photobomb level to be 99,999.
LKY-photobomb

 

28. He became a meme.

LKY meme

 

29. You wished you looked okay naked.
lky-nipple-03

 

30. He made and sold glue for a living during war time. That’s cool.

lky-wedding-picture
Source

Lee Kuan Yew helped to develop a glue based on tapioca, which he sold under the name Stikfas in Japanese-occupied Singapore during World War II. The logo was on his wedding cake.

 

31. He made his own rules.

press-freedom
Source

The Newspaper and Printing Presses Act is a pretty nifty piece of work that understood thoroughly how the press works.

 

32. His well-being became the talk of the town.

tnp-lky-ndp-2012
Source

The crowd cheered when they saw Lee Kuan Yew at the National Day Parade 2012 dispelling rumours that he was either dead or very ill.

 

33. In fact, he’s so famous, online rumours about his well-being gets reported on the Wall Street Journal.

WSJ_article
Source: WSJ Online

 

34. No one thought the role of coincidence will be so strong in his life.

Chin_Peng

His political opponent passed away on Lee Kuan Yew’s 90th birthday, stealing a bit of his birthday thunder in the process.

Source: Amazon

 

35. He speaks English, Mandarin and Bahasa Melayu fluently.

lky-ndr

 

36. You secretly always wanted a family with two sons and one daughter too.

lky-kids
Source

 

37. You would give up an arm and a leg to wear that hat.

lky-hogwarts-01
Source: Lee Hsien Loong Facebook

100 points to Gryffindor!

 

38. You wish you could also provoke someone to sue you and they won’t.

shpeh

 

39. He thinks fiction is stupid.

twilight-is-crap

 

40. But he admits to occasionally reading Tom Clancy books.

TomClancy_AgainstAllEnemies-BookCover

 

41. He has no qualms calling his colleague short and dumpy.

Heng Swee Keat

Heng Swee Keat, now Education Minister, was the best Principal Private Secretary I ever had. The only pity is that he is not of a big bulk, which makes a difference in a mass rally.”

 

42. You want to be a patriarch too.

lky-rally-03
Source

 

43. He got Catherine Lim to write extensively about him.

Catherine-Lim

 

44. He has a small group of friends he can trust personally and professionally.
lky-friends
What’s better than a close group of friends? A close group of friends who are as weird as you.

 

45. You really wouldn’t mind running your own country.

beautiful-sunset-singapore

Imagine you own this. For a couple of years, at least.

 

46. He seared his name and being into the the public consciousness.

marina-barrage-lky
Source

No matter where anyone turns.

 

47. He can still pull chicks one-fifth his age.

Madame Tussauds LKY and girl

Source

 

48. He was a feminist before the feminist movement was cool.

LKY's quote

 

49. He learnt Mandarin when he was 32 years old. And he speaks better than most native speakers.

hanyu-pinyin

 

50. Only he can learn to speak Hokkien at 38 years old. To prove that he is not a potato-eater.

lky-pop-art
Source

The first thing he said in Hokkien to a crowd: “Gin nah mai chio, wah beh oh” in Hokkien it means “kids don’t laugh, I want to learn.”

 

51. He knows how to have a good time.

bourgeoisie-lky

 

52. He has a figurine made in his likeness. 

ChrisTreewizard

Source: Chris Treewizard

The creator hopes that he will be allowed to give nine figurines to Mr Lee on his 90th birthday.

 

53. He is Singapore’s best-selling author — besides Russell Lee.

100-things-in-80s-books-true-singapore-ghost-stories
Source

 

54. He is always prepared because he was a scout in RI.

Boy_Scout

 

55. He supports local industries. 

Tiger_beer

Source: Source

He likes Tiger beer.

 

56. He planted more trees in Singapore than any other Singaporeans.

Tree-Planting

 

57. He rode a Tiger and won.

Tiger_and_the_Trojan_Horse

Source: Amazon UK

The Communist tiger, not a real one.

 

58. He is probably the only person who has attended every single National Day Parade since it began.

NDP

 

59. He helped TIME sell more magazines with his face on the cover. 

Time Magazine

 

60. He demonstrated what it means to be an engaged father.

LHL_BMT

Source: Lee Hsien Loong Facebook

He attended his son’s BMT Passing-Out Parade at 2 SIR, March 1971. Even when he most likely had a lot of things on his prime ministerial plate.

 

61. Because the holy trinity.

The Father, The Son and The Holy Goh

Source: Lee Hsien Loong Facebook

 

62. You wouldn’t mind having a school named after you.

LKYSPP
Source: Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (Official FB Page)

The Dean was tasked to build the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and not the Lee Kuan Yew School of Thought.

 

63. So good-looking that only Tony Leung can play him on screen.

Tony_Leung

Source: Mr Brown

 

64. He can be a pessimist, like many of us.

Pessimist meme
Source: Meme center

On his 90th Birthday: “I am lucky to reach 90”.

On his 80th Birthday: “I did not know that I would make 80 and am grateful to have led a relatively healthy, enjoyable and productive life.

 

65. He can look angrily at a team-mate (Lim Chin Siong) in sunglasses.

LKY_sunglasses
Source: PAP Facebook

Because he has the foresight to know that he will be an opponent in future.

 

66. He could turn into a zombie or vampire, if future leaders mess Singapore up.

LeadershipTransition
Source

Harry_Edward

Team Harry vs Team Edward, anyone?

 

67. You wonder how he cultivates this penchant for funny hats to run in the family.

Hats_LKY_LHL

Source: Lee Hsien Loong Facebook

 

68. He is agnostic.

lky-humanist

 

69. He can wear the same jacket for years and no fashionista ever said it sucks.

lee-kuan-yew

 

70. You admire how his one life helped financed an entire cottage industry of book publishers/ writers/ translators.

LKY-chinese-books

 

71. When people create fake accounts for you.

lky-twitter

It means you’ve arrived in life.

 

72. He can walk around shirtless. And it becomes part of mainstream broadcast.

LKY_Swimming

 

73. He gets turned into a symbol.

Limpeh-by-SKLO

 

74. He introduced a new catchphrase into our lexicon: Hard truths.

hard-truths

 

75. He debated with one of his fiercest critics in an international forum.

William_Safire
Source
Who later said that he is “the world’s most intelligent, and to some most likable, despot.” (William Safire, February 15, 1999, Essay; The Dictator Speaks)

 

76. He was 35 years old when he became Singapore’s Prime Minister.

Kim_Kardashian
Source: Kim Kardashian
33-year old Kim Kardashian has one more year to surpass your record.

 

77. He was environmentally conscious, way before Greenpeace was formed.

Blue Windbreaker

On wearing the same wind-breaker, he once said: “Why should I throw something away which I’m comfortable with? I’m not interested in impressing anybody.”

 

78. He does not watch many films but he can write movie reviews better than most film critics.

My_fair_lady_Poster

“My Fair Lady, one of the best musicals on film, because the speech was perfect and the woman was very good because she could speak like a flower girl and she could speak like a duchess. And she could go back again and it’s code switch switching of a very high order.” (Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going)

 

79. He appreciated the short attention span of the Youtube generation.

And completed his General Election video in under 1 minute.

 

80. He has more FB fans than any other local politicians (except PM Lee). 

LKY FB

Even though he did not lift a finger to post anything on FB.

 

81. He likes plants.

changi-green
Source

 

82. He used to earn $3,500 a month as prime minister in 1970.

old-singapore-dollar

That was pretty normal. Except that some of his colleagues earned more than him, at $4,500.

 

83. Because Frank Sinatra.

lky-sinatra

 

84. Because this.

u-turn

What.

 

85. He likes to drink tea. That’s why he used to organise tea sessions for potential candidates.

tea-with-mr-lee

 

86. He loves to travel. He’s been to half of the world.

nixon-lky

And met more US presidents than we care to remember.

 

87. He doesn’t waver.

two-child

 

88. He admits to reading the obituary regularly. To see who he has outlived.

Obituary

“At 89, I look at the obituary pages and see very few who have outlived me.”

 

89. He thinks Singaporeans are like pandas.

Panda
Source: Lee Hsien Loong Facebook Page

Because we don’t reproduce enough.

Lee Kuan Yew wrote in One Man’s View of the World: “Only the pandas are in a similar situation on the question of reproduction — and they do not have to worry about whether there are enough resources to ensure their seniors will be taken care of.”

 

90. Because there will be those who fancy him not so discreetly.

lky-old-man
Source

Find Mothership.SG on Facebook and Twitter.