Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister and founder of modern Singapore, passed away last Sunday, 23rd March 2015.

lee kuan yew

In this post, I will draw 3 parallels from anime to Mr LKY, in order to clearly illustrate what it means to be a good leader. This is my way of thanking him for all that he has contributed for Singapore, for us.

1) He never gave up on Singapore. 

Having scarce natural resources and a microscopic land, Singapore was theoretically doomed to fail, or at least, Singapore’s progress was expected to be sluggish. And these were not the only few problems…

– People lived in filthy slums and mudflats.

– Unemployment rate was sky-high.

– Racial riots broke out many a times, resulting in social disorder.

But look at us now: Singapore currently has the 3rd highest GDP per capita in the world, and rated the top 9th country in terms of United Nations – Human Development Index. And not to brag, but Singapore has also been crowned as the best place to live on Earth *flips hair*

All this was possible due to the faith Mr LKY had in this country. He did not give up on us, and continuously put in his best effort to improve the economy, allowing a destitute dump to evolve into an urban utopia, a metropolitan and vibrant city.

This metamorphosis is also reflected in Amagi Brilliant Park, where Kanie Seiya transformed a desolate and run-down amusement park, into a lively and brilliant local attraction. Both Mr LKY and Kanie carried out difficult decisions and sacrifices, that proved to be beneficial for the society in the end. And that act alone is worthy of respect and admiration.

amagi 58

2) He was far-sighted.

In No Game No Life, Sora tend to carry out actions that were seemingly trivial at first, but turned out to be a significant factor of victory later on. For example, in the game of Materialization Shiritori, Sora removed Jibril’s ability to fly, in order to prevent her from flying away when all of them were being sucked towards the inner core of the planet.

ngnl 19

I wouldn’t say Mr LKY was as intelligent or creative as ‘Blank’, but he was a judicious leader and knew what to do in order to lead Singapore to success.

Land pollution is detrimental to the environment, but in terms of the situation then, there were many other problems more pertinent to Singapore. However, Mr LKY decided to prioritise the litter issue and curb it immediately. Furthermore, he instructed for there to be more trees planted throughout the city, and for the Singapore River to be thoroughly cleaned free of waste. All this enabled Singapore to attained the title of ‘Garden City‘, a pristine environment with the harmonious coexistence of human and nature. This also attracted Foreign Direct Investment, greatly boosting Singapore’s economy.

garden city

Aside from being green, Mr LKY also worked on proper housing, bilingualism, multi-racialism, anti-corruption, etc, which are now all prominent features of modern Singapore. This is why foresight and the envisioning of the future are vital skills that all leaders should possess and emulate from Mr LKY.

3) He was widely respected and admired.

In order to be a leader, you need to have followers, and your followers must respect you.

After the death of Mr LKY, an estimated 447,299 Singaporeans & non-Singaporeans went to the Istana to pay their respects to Lee Kuan Yew. The queue stretched over kilometers and were over 8-10 hours long, but Singaporeans queued regardless, reason being that “these few hours of queuing is nothing compared to the entirety of his life Mr Lee Kuan Yew has dedicated and devoted to the development of Singapore”. On 29 March 2015, as the funeral cortege was heading towards the University Cultural Centre, thousands of Singaporeans lined the streets despite the heavy downpour, just to send Mr LKY off.

And it’s not just Singapore. President Obama called Mr LKY a “true giant of history”. On his death, Prime Minister Modi declared a national day of mourning in India. He was twice named one of Time‘s Most Influential people – of the 20th Century in 1999, and of the new decade in 2010. And the list goes on – countless of foreign leaders sent messages of condolences and shared how Mr LKY’s leadership has inspired them one way or another.

In Sengoku Musou, Lord Hideyoshi unified Japan and ended all the ongoing wars between regions. His passing was definitely a sad loss for all, as everyone revered him.

sengoku musou 5

These are not the only traits that a good leader should have. But at the same time, not all leaders are the same, and no leader is perfect.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew gave his whole life to Singapore, and it is because of his actions that many Singaporeans are able to experience this high standard of living we have now.

I, as an individual of the younger generation, may not have experienced the effects of your actions first-hand, but I am very thankful for having this safe and comfortable environment to learn, work, play and live my life.

Thank you Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and may you Rest In Peace. 


8 thoughts on “What Constitutes A Good Leader?

  1. I can’t believe I almost missed this post!! I was actually thinking about how I could draw references about Mr LKY’s legacy and his leadership characteristics, but never thought about the references so specifically. I see a lot of negative instances in anime where I think “this is why we have policies like [insert policy that is in line with LKY’s ideals]” though granted, i can see that iron fist and authoritarian spirit somewhere in certain anime characters and actions ( e.g. “ends justify the means”)

    Great post btw, i wouldn’t be able to pick out specific instances like that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello ^^ To be honest, I became somewhat apathetic after reading so much thanksgiving notes and watching like 10+ tribute videos to him. So, I decided to do my own style and after some brainstorming, I narrowed to these few anime leaders I have come across 🙂 There were a few negative examples but I refrained from using them because it didn’t feel appropriate.

      Hmm, I definitely think that his dictatorship has proved to be very beneficial to Singapore’s development. However, even so, I don’t think Singapore should continue to be a nanny-state. If the government continues to glorify or manipulate us into having a certain kind of lifestyle, it definitely restricts individual freedom and to some extent, one’s personality. Lee Kuan Yew has transformed us from a third-world country to a modern nation. Now, I think it is more important to ameliorate our environment from an unhappy, results-driven factory, to a free and expressive society. Either way, I really hope that Singapore continues to break through and attain international recognition with consistent and good policies, that LKY has achieved in the past decades 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hmm, I agree that it can be quite numbing to scroll through news and posts after another about LKY in the entire mourning week, especially on social media (my FB was practically flooded!!) and on the web – you really very creatively linked it to anime and that probably helps to sustain interest as well. Sometimes I feel that even by using examples in anime, I cannot adequately encapsulate the essence of his gigantic presence in the Singapore legacy and spirit – I feel that I wouldn’t be able to do him justice.
        I do see where you are coming from with the position you are taking. I don’t think the leadership style he adopted then is fully appropriate in present day Singapore, especially when we now have a more informed electorate who view ideals such as freedom of speech and expression and the creation of a more humanitarian, inclusive society as increasingly more important as we compare ourselves to our Western counterparts who accord higher emphasis to ensuring these freedoms are secured and who perhaps, adopt more socialistic policies than our strictly capitalist approach. However, I feel that there are certain core fundamentals that we cannot overlook as we gradually move away from the ‘iron fist’ type of governance – for example, the fact that we have a tiny population whose only resource centers primarily on human capital – hence a need for a more meritocratic focus. Also, I don’t actually believe that unqualified freedom of speech is beneficial at this current state – not when through various incidents, the argument that the current electorate has not yet reached the level where most or all of us are discerning enough to differentiate what is truly good or bad for society, or to basically, make thoroughly informed political choices. However, it is also for this reason that we are now easing into a more ‘soft-handed’ approach – any step wrongly taken has exponential political consequences. Either way, hopefully we are able to strike a proper balance between some of the ideals that LKY has repeatedly stressed, and the need to adapt to a globalising world and changing citizenry. 🙂


  2. *”this is why we have policies like [insert policy that is in line with LKY’s ideals] to avoid these problems!”

    and also, “ends justify the means” is ambiguous – no comment on whether it is morally and/or ethically justified, haha!

    for the clarification of doubt xD


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