Most people, when reading a book, would skip the acknowledgments and such, getting right to the first chapter. As book reviewers(albeit self-appointed), we could not be so cavalier. As we read every word religiously, we came upon this startling statement "Collaboration or not, the responsibility for the book's shortcomings lies entirely with the authors". Considering that the book consists primarily of an interview, it is strange that the subject(and he is given top billing on the cover) is, in advance, absolved. It does, however, reflect the state of the Press in Singapore. They grovel and genuflect, ignoring entirely their duty to provide free and fair reporting for their readers.
Mr.Lee starts running down his political opponents right from the outset. Chee Soon Juan and J.B.Jeyaratnam are 'duds'. They are not 'serious men' nor a 'proper alternative'. Nor does he exhibit any particular respect for the dead. They are, after all, only dead 'duds'.
For 'duds', they seem to be rather strong-willed men. Mr.Lee appears to be no believer in the empirical method. He would judge men before they are tested. And we are, of course, expected to assume that he is unbiased.
Yet he was shaken enough by Mr.Jeyaretnam that he took the low road of poltroonery to bankrupt him. That way, he could avoid having to face Mr.Jeyaretnam in elections.
Mr. Lee seems unafraid of defaming public figures. He is, perhaps, secure in the knowledge that no Judge in Singapore would rule against him if he were to be sued for defamation. They will not have forgotten what happened to Senior District Judge Michael Khoo in 1986.
All his relatives in Malaysia, Mr.Lee says, have migrated to Australia. He does not enlighten us on why they didn't choose Singapore. We will have to assume that they wanted to live in a free country.
He appears to accuse Mr.Mahathir of price-gouging for wanting to raise the price of water to RM3 per 1,000 gallons while admitting that Hong Kong paid RM8 per 1,000 gallons to China.
While we cannot pretend to be admirers of Mr.Mahathir; would this comparative price not make it a bargain?
But no, Mr. Lee was only willing to pay the 3 sen he paid in 1957. We forget that it is still 1957 for him, and always will be. Well, perhaps 1965.
As a result of his curious bargaining tactics; though perhaps grandmothers in the fish markets may still practise it; Singaporeans now have to drink recycled urine.
Which, good grief, may have been Mr.Mahathir's dastardly plan all along! He must be laughing, as he totters around Malaysia unleashing racist diatribes.
While Mr.Lee, in his book, boasts about how clever he was.
Actually, Singapreans mostly drink mineral water, for which they pay rather more than RM3 per 1,000 gallons.
Mr. Lee also is at pains to note, when referring to Malaysia, that "we just keep our thoughts to ourselves".
Except, of course, when we are publishing entire books about it. Four hundred and fity-eight page books.
Both the Malaysians and Indonesians, in Mr. Lee's world, built ports to spite him. Not because it is a neccessary infrastructure for growing countries. After all, in 1965, they didn't have ports which competed with Singapore. Why start now?
It must be a cunning conspiracy to undermine him.
"No, I've finished my work. I don't need more achievements for Singapore".
He says this unblushingly, while still staying on as a Senior Minister in the cabinet. We know, we know. Its been Minister Mentor for the past almost seven years. However long do people need to be mentored? They must be awfully slow studys.
On his Ministers and the recession, he says :
"They are getting out of this recession with great skill".
Just like how they got into it? With great skill?
We must stop here. This is after all, a blog, and not a book.
Though, since we barely covered Chapter I, there really may have to be a Part II.
Note : Our intention was to write a book review. A one-post book review. But it may go on a little longer. It is really too merry a tome to be dismissed with one post. You will not find a book with this title in the book shops. But if you do chance upon one with an eerily similar title, don't buy it if you can at all help yourself. You will be enriching a particularly odious cross between a self-delusional megalomaniac and a latter-day Baron Munchausen.