Commenting on former Singaporean prime minister Lee Kuan Yew (李光耀), former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said that his belief in democracy is at odds with the founding father of Singapore’s “Asian values,” which Lee Teng-hui described as having its roots in the Chinese dynastic system.
According to Lee Teng-hui, Lee Kuan Yew received great support from former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), who allowed the Singaporean army to be dispatched to Taiwan for training.
However, Lee Teng-hui said that his and Lee Kuan Yew’s philosophies differed greatly, adding that he has faith in democracy and liberty, while Lee Kuan Yew’s “Asian values,” oversaw a political system in which “a whole family meddles in politics.”
“We were great friends and of similar ages, but to be honest, he depended on the Chinese [for support]. I do not feel like reliance on China is necessary, Taiwan should stand on its own two feet,” Lee Teng-hui said.
Taiwan struggled for 400 years to achieve self-governance, Lee Teng-hui said, adding that the hardship the nation edured was his motivation for taking good care of the country.
Many people survived Japanese colonial rule only to be governed by the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) regime, which treated Taiwanese as slaves, Lee Teng-hui said.
The most important attributes Taiwanese possess are freedom and democracy, values which set Taiwan apart from China, and definesa human being, he added.
Asked whether Lee Teng-hui would visit Singapore to pay tribute to his old friend Lee Kuan Yew, his office director Wang Yan-chun (王燕軍) said that the former president had sent his condolences via a telegram to the bereaved, after learning from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that Lee Kuan Yew’s family have declined all offers of flowers.
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