Kuan Yew: Singapore needs more mavericks

SINGAPORE needs more mavericks, geniuses and independent thinkers, says Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew. 

Lee was quoted yesterday as saying that he made Singapore a “first-world oasis in a third-world region,” but failed to realise the need for both team players and radical thinkers, The Straits Times newspaper reported. 

“I didn't know this when I started. I know this now – you need both,” Lee was quoted as saying in by local media. 

Lee's critics said he had stifled his people's creativity through years of insistence on obedience, co-operation and efficiency. 

Films and television shows are censored in Singapore. Home satellite TV antennae are outlawed. Public speech, assembly and political activities are strictly regulated. Lee and other leaders have successfully sued numerous journalists and opposition politicians for defamation. Protests and strikes are virtually non-existent. 

“Your workforce must have the cohesiveness, but to make the big leap forward you need your mavericks, your geniuses, your people who can think outside the box and say: I can do it better, simpler',” Lee said, according to the report. 

Lee, though widely labelled an authoritarian, is also credited with transforming this former British colony from an impoverished backwater into one of the world's most modern and prosperous countries. 

He made his comments on Monday at the opening of the Global Brand Forum international business conference. – AP  

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