At least, that’s what he set out to portray himself as.
With his death though, eulogies about the man reveal a unique softer, frailer side.
A side that he hid from even his closest friends.
Revealed by his children, here’s some little known anecdotes about Lee’s softer side, beyond his “act tough” demeanour.
1. Lee Kuan Yew struggled with dyslexia and Parkinson’s diseas, and Peripheral Neuropathy (weakness to the peripheral nerves, which causes weakness usually in hhands and leg). Still, he lived to 91 and during his later years penned 5 books, which is more than what you’ve done, you lazy Candy Crush addict (Lee penned 7 books in total).
2. Lee Kuan Yew tried using CHICKEN FEATHERS and RABBIT SKIN to get rid of hiccups, that became a persistent problem in his later years. He used those items to induce sneezing, so as to stop the hiccups. Lee had often trumpeted the triumph of logic and science over silly superstitions and old wives’ tales.
3. Lee Kuan Yew was given the name “Harry” from birth by his grand-daddy, but according to his son, Lee Hsien Yang, he didn’t want to be addressed as “Harry” because he thought it was a ‘political liability’.
4. Lee Kuan Yew was a Peranakan and he had a fond liking for his sister, Monica’s cooking. He liked her Gado Gado, Mee Siam, Rojak and Satay. Then again, Singapore’s hard man couldn’t even crack a soft-boiled egg, according to his daugher, Lee Wei Ling.
5. Lee Kuan Yew was so “giam” he couldn’t buy a new pair of shorts if the elastic band wore out. He’d get his wife, the late Kwa Geok Choo, to fix them. He also washed his own underwear when the family went overseas, according to Lee Wei Ling.
8. Lee Kuan Yew cared very much for his children. He would sent security officers to accompany Lee Hsien Yang on trekking trips in Pulau Ubin. He would even ask security officers how long Lee Wei Ling’s swimming session took!
9. Lee Kuan Yew, in his later years, grew weaker and had diffulty getting around. Still, he would refuse wheelchairs, or walking sticks, or help from his security officers, or the lift that daughter-in-law Ho Ching installed for him in his home. Truly, a hard man!