Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew attended
the 35th National Day celebrations on 9 August 2000. He is
contented as he watches Singapore grow day by day like any
loving father watching his son grow up. Thirty-five years
have passed by so quickly, the Singapore that he took over
back then was weak and abandoned...
"Some countries were meant to be independent while some
successfully fought for independence but Singapore's independence
was forced upon it."
"The place where I live is nice, she is a small island.
She is so small that you can hardly find it on the map but
the whole world knows her name."
These are the lyrics from a Singaporean song "The Place
Where I Live" which expresses Singaporeans' pride. As
Mr Lee Kuan Yew looks out onto Malaysia from an elevated point
on the Johor-Singapore Causeway, he analyses that the ill
effects of not having the Malaysian island on Singapore and
reminisces about the difficulties that Singapore faced 35
The Singapore education system has equipped me well with the
country’s history. And it has made me proud how our
little island has prospered from a little fishing village
to the bustling city of possibilities today. And one person
our countrymen have to thank is one of Lion City’s most
important politicians, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew
the above statement may sound like propaganda to some of my
angst-ridden countrymen, I sincerely think that Singapore
won’t be what it is today without Lee’s leadership.
in 2001 by a Hong Kong channel, this 89-minute two-part documentary
takes a look at how Lee brought Singapore to independence,
and interestingly gives viewers a glimpse into his personal
you had paid attention during your history classes, this documentary
presents you with not much new information, except that you’ll
be hearing interviews from the man himself. You’d be
hearing about how Lee managed the merger with Malaya from
1963 to 1965, and then its separation which led to our country’s
independence. The classic broadcast of Lee’s emotional
announcement of the separation on 9 August 1965 is one of
the high points in the disc. You’d also be hearing about
the controversies between Lee and opposition leaders like
Tang Liang Hong and Chee Soon Juan. For the sake of political
correctness, we shall not further make any standpoints on
more interesting moments of this documentary come during its
last 20 minutes. Did you know that male civil servants were
to keep short hair, and that anyone with unkempt hair was
to be inspected under suspicion? Did you know that Lee hated
the heat in the country and always kept his air conditioning
the documentary’s genre, the production values are high
enough to keep the audiences engaged. The range of interviewees
from academics, other important politicians and the opposition
figures themselves, you will be kept interested throughout
the feature. The attractively-shot cutaways and clean editing
is also a nice presentation on Lee’s success story.
I found most apt was the use of Hans Zimmer’s rousing
score for Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (2000) at the beginning
of the documentary. No music would fit better for this influential
leader that has brought Singapore to what it is today.
This Code 3 may look like a collectible box set, but what
a shame, there are no supplements inside. Even a booklet with
printed pictures of important historical events would be nice.
disc’s visual transfer clear enough to keep you focused
on learning about Singapore’s history, and is presented
in the interviewee’s original audio tracks of English,
Mandarin and Cantonese.
by John Li