Thoughts on economics and liberty

Category: Politics

LKY was extraordinarily influential in changing China – the amazing story in LKY’s understated words

These extracts from LKY’s 2000 book, FROM THIRD WORLD TO FIRST, confirms how deeply Singapore has influenced China.


My meeting with Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping was unforgettable. A dapper, stocky man of 74, not more than five feet tall, in a beige Mao suit came down from a Boeing 707 at Paya Lebar airport in November 1978. … We met that afternoon for formal discussions in the cabinet room.

He invited me to visit China again. I said I would when China had recovered from the Cultural Revolution. That, he said, would take a long time. I countered that they should have no problem getting ahead and doing much better than Singapore because we were the descendants of illiterate, landless peasants from Fujian and Guangdong while they had the progeny of the scholars, mandarins, and literati who had stayed at home. He was silent. [Sanjeev: This was a crucial first in LKY’s influence over China – that he was a “lowly” Chinese, so the Chinese could obviously do much better]

The next day I made my points in one hour-actually half an hour, without the translation. … He was the most impressive leader I had met. He was a five-footer, but a giant among men.

Before his departure I called on him at the lstana Villa to talk for some 20 minutes. He was glad he had come and seen Singapore again after 58 years. It was a dramatic transformation and he congratulated me. I replied that Singapore was a small country with two and a half million people. He sighed and said, “If I had only Shanghai, I too might be able to change Shanghai as quickly. But I have the whole of China!”

He said he had wanted to visit Singapore and America before he joined Karl Marx – Singapore, because he had seen it once when it was a colonial territory, while on his way to Marseilles after the end of the First World War to work and study; America, because China and America must talk to each other.

… At the airport he shook hands with the VIPs and ministers, inspected the guard of honor, walked up the steps to his Boeing 707, then turned around and waved goodbye. As the door closed on him, I said to my colleagues that his staff were going to get a “shellacking.” He had seen a Singapore his brief had not prepared him for. [Sanjeev: Deng’s eyes opened from this visit, which proved crucial in China’s transformation] There had been no tumultuous Chinese crowds, no rapturous hordes of Chinese Singaporeans to welcome him, just thin crowds of curious onlookers.

A few weeks later I was shown articles on Singapore in their People’s Daily. Its line had changed. Singapore was described as a garden city worth studying for its greening, public housing, and tourism. We were no longer “running dogs of the American imperialists.” Their view of Singapore changed further in October the following year, 1979, when Deng said in a speech, “I went to Singapore to study how they utilised foreign capital. Singapore benefited from factories set up by foreigners in Singapore: first, foreign enterprises paid 35 percent of their net profits in truces which went to the state; second, labour income went to the workers; and third, it [foreign investment} generated the service sectors. All these were income [for the state}.” What he saw in Singapore in 1978 had become a point of reference as the minimum the Chinese people should achieve.  [Sanjeev: This was the TRUE start of China’s transformation

At the end of January 1979, Deng visited America and restored diplomatic relations with President Carter without the United States abandoning Taiwan.

On my second visit to China in November 1980, I found many changes. … Premier Zhao Ziyang met me for talks. He was a different character from Hua Guofeng or Deng Xiaoping. Of medium build, he had the complexion of someone with a light suntan over his fine features. I had no difficulty understanding his Mandarin because he had a good, strong voice without any heavy provincial accent.

… The next morning I met Deng Xiaoping for over two hours in a different room in the Great Hall of the People. … Deng argued that China was a huge country with a large population. It did not need the resources of other countries. It was preoccupied with the problem of uplifting its people out of poverty and backwardness, “a great undertaking that might take half a century.” China was too populous.

Premier Zhao Ziyang met me again in Beijing in September 1985. He referred to me as an “old friend of China,” their label for those they want to put at ease. Then he asked for my impressions of the places I had visited on my way to Beijing.

His manner encouraged me to speak up. I said I could give inoffensive observations, leaving out the critical, but that would be of no value to him. I first gave him my positive impressions. … Then I gave the negatives: Bad old practices were unchanged. As prime minister for over 20 years, I had stayed in many guesthouses, and could guess the nature of the administration from their condition. Jinan’s huge guesthouse complex gave an impression of waste; I was told my suite with its giant-size bathtub had been built specially for a visit by Chairman Mao. The labor to keep this complex in good condition could be put to better use running a top-class hotel. Because guests in residence were few and far between, the staff were out of practice.

Next, the poor road system. Parts of the 150-kilometer (approximately 90-mile) road from Jinan to Qufu, the birthplace of Confucius, were just mud tracks. The Romans built roads that lasted 2,000 years. China had labor and stones in abundance and there was no reason why there should be mud tracks linking Jinan, the provincial capital, to Qufu with its tourist potential.

Singapore had little culture or history and a population of two and a half million, but it had three million tourists a year (in the mid-1980s). China’s monuments and ruins resonated with history. Selling scenery, fresh air, fresh food, laundry services, curios, and souvenirs to tourists would give much employment and put money into the pockets of many people. China, with a population of about 1,000 million, had only 1 million tourists a year-800,000 overseas Chinese and 200,000 foreigners. [Sanjeev: This is HUGE – a full-fledged lecture from a minnow to a giant. But China took the painful message and acted to fix the problems]

Hesitantly, I suggested that they might like to send some of their supervisors to Singapore. They would not encounter language and culture differences and could observe our work ethics and attitudes. Zhao welcomed my proposal. He suggested that our managers and experts at top, middle, and grass-roots level visit China to assess their workers in a Chinese context. I said their workers might not respect our supervisors, because they were “descendants of coolies from Fujian province.” Later, they sent several delegations of managers of their state-owned enterprises to Singapore. They saw a different work culture that placed importance on the quality of work. [Sanjeev: Once again, LKY forced China to learn from Singapore]

He said China had three major economic tasks: first, build up infrastructure like roads and railways; second, upgrade as many factories as possible; and third, improve the efficiency of their managers and workers. He described the problem of inflation. (This was to be one of the causes of the trouble in Tiananmen four years later.) He wanted more trade, economic and technical cooperation between China and Singapore. China was ready to sign a three-year agreement with us to process not less than 3 million tons of Chinese crude oil per year, and would import more chemical and petrochemical products from Singapore as long as they were at international prices. Thus began their participation in our oil industry.

Their state oil company set up an office in Singapore to handle this business and also do oil trading.

… I was taken to meet Deng. He bantered about his advanced age of 81 compared to my 62. I assured him that he did not look old. … He repeated that he was already 81, ready to meet Marx, that it was a law of nature and everyone should be aware of it, except Mr. Chiang Ching-kuo.

… When I next met Zhao Ziyang, on 16 September 1988, he had been promoted to general secretary. He saw me at my villa in Diaoyutai, their guesthouse complex, to speak about China’s economic problems. He was disturbed by a wave of panic buying throughout China a few weeks earlier, in late August and early September. They had had to reduce construction, control the growth of money for consumption, and slow down economic growth. If other measures did not work, the government would have to stress party discipline – I took this to mean “punish high officials.” The panic buying must have reminded him of the last days of the Nationalist government in 1947-1949.

Then he took me to the restaurant in the Diaoyutai complex to celebrate my 65th birthday. During dinner, he asked for my views on a recent television series he had sent me, the “Yellow River Elegy,” produced by some younger members of his reform program think tank. It had depicted a China steeped in feudal tradition, tied down by superstitions and bad old habits, a China that would not make a breakthrough and catch up with the modern world unless it abandoned its old conformist attitudes.

I thought it overpessimistic. China need not abandon its basic cultural values and beliefs in order to industrialize and modernize. Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore had all sought to preserve their traditional values of thrift, hard work, emphasis on scholarship, and loyalty to family, clan, and the wider nation, always placing community interest above individual interest. These Confucian values had resulted in social cohesion, high savings, and investments, which led to high productivity and growth. What China needed to change was its overcentralized system of administration and the attitudes and mindset of the people, so that people would be more receptive to new ideas, whether Chinese or foreign, and be willing to test them out and adapt them to China’s circumstances. This the Japanese had done successfully. [Sanjeev: Amazing lecture by LKY – but the good thing is that the Chinese did listen to him and learnt]

Zhao was concerned that China’s economy was not taking off like those of the NIEs without being plagued by high inflation. I explained that this was because, unlike China, the NIEs never had to deregulate planned economies with prices for basic commodities controlled at unrealistically low levels.

He exuded the quiet confidence of a good mind that took in briefs swiftly. Unlike Hua Guofeng, he was a gentleman, not a thug. He had a pleasant manner, neither abrasive nor bossy. But one needed to be tough and ruthless to survive at the top in China, and for the China of that period he was too liberal in his approach to law and order. When we parted, I did not know that within a year he would become a nonperson.

The next day, 17 September 1988, I had my last meeting with Deng. …  I praised China’s economic progress. Yes, there had been “pretty good results” during the last decade, but good economic development had created new problems. China had to curb inflation. It was important to strengthen discipline. The central government had to exercise effective control but not contradict the opening up to the outside world. Good management was more important after opening up, otherwise there would be anarchy and “great chaos under Heaven.” China was a large country but backward in technology and even in culture. In the past decade, they had solved the problem of food and clothing. Now they wanted to reach a xiao kang (comfortably off) stage, quadrupling their 1980 per capita GDP to between US$800 and US$1,000. China had to learn from others, “including you and even South Korea.”  [Sanjeev: This speaks of the MASSIVE LEVEL OF INFLUENCE that LKY had on Deng]

I complimented him on the considerable changes in China, not only in new buildings and roads but, more importantly, in people’s thinking and attitudes. People were more critical and questioning, but optimistic. I said his 1979 visit to the United States, telecast in daily half-hour programs, had shown U.S. conditions, changing Chinese perceptions of America forever.

Deng remarked that the Americans had treated him very thoughtfully. … Deng said he dearly wanted to ensure the reunification of Taiwan with the mainland before he went to meet Karl Marx.


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Who is Avi Dandiya and what is his credibility?

There is one Avi Dandiya who has released an extraordinarily inflammatory video that contains an “audio recording” of an alleged “phone call” between Amit Shah and some unknown woman.

This video purports to show that Amit Shah got Indian soldiers killed in Uri and now in Pulwama, in order to provoke a “retaliation” that would provide political benefit to BJP.

Now, while it is very clear from the facts of the case that Amit Shah and Modi were FULLY complicit in the horrendous events in Gujarat in 2002 (and later with innumerable fake encounters), the idea that someone would claim that even Amit Shah – a man who is evil personified – is capable of such a dastardly act is simply beyond comprehension.

I’m therefore starting an investigative post on Avi Dandiya since this man’s credibility is now at stake. I BELIEVE THAT THE AUDIO IN THIS VIDEO IS DOCTORED AND FAKE. I DO NOT BELIEVE AVI DANDIYA. But I’ll spend a few minutes in initial research, given the magnitude of his claims.


The Post has an article here. And this from another news portal in Pakistan.

The defence forum in Pakistan is ecstatic

And here:

This has also been carried by Teesri Jung (whatever that is).

All I can say is that Avi Dandiya has taken a huge gamble by posting this video. If found to be fake (which it almost certainly is) his reputation will be permanently tainted.

I’m opening up comments on my blog again, so anyone who knows something about him can add info on my blog.

Now, for my initial research on Avi Dandiya:

“The Dallas-based designer Founder of Team Clean Jaipur (TCJ), Founder ScreamsOfSoul.Org and Chief Patron Be In Humanity Foundation.”


What do we know of him? He is apparently the son of an Indian Air Force officer and lives in USA.


See this. and this.- 3304 Coit Rd#425,Plano, TX 75023

USA phone number (214) 299-5032


Front Page


First, he has this Twitter handle

I’m keeping a screenshot here in case he deletes his account.


This is his Facebook page:

Once again a screenshot in case he deletes his account. The website allegedly linked to his FB page is DEFUNCT:

He runs a Youtube channel:


His Twitter account states that is the founder of “Team Clean Jaipur”. That suggests he has some link with Jaipur. Here is a video “interview” of Avi on some unknown media channel. It appears he has a jewellery business in USA. He is mainly resident of Jaipur.


This response on Quora suggests he is an AAP supporter.



I’ll only add identifying information here, if I find any. The more substantive comments are now available here.


Son of airforce pilot:

A fraud report against Avi Dandiya which allegedly was subsequently resolved.



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Anand Prasad’s “Liberal Party of India” is socialism on steroids – and a bunch of loonies, I’m afraid

I attended an event in Gurgaon on 13 February in which Suman Malhotra and Plaban Bhattacharjee of the so-called “Liberal Party of India” attended prior to the main event and provided me with a document containing their views.

I realised later that this is the same obnoxious “Liberal Party” that Anand Prasad is involved with and which I’ve thoroughly critiqued here and here.

It appeared to me for a while that these two were listening carefully and might actually be capable of understanding what I was trying to say, but very soon it became clear that this was not the case. They insisted on making me hear their ridiculous “proposals” that I’ve discussed below. LPI’s new approach is EVEN WORSE to what Anand Prasad had produced – and it is hard to beat that rubbish. Worse, this man Plaban was absolutely unwilling to even listen to my reasons for rejecting ALL his ideas. I’ve outlined these reasons below, but I doubt he will understand them.

LPI’s ideas are entirely illiberal. In fact, these people are socialists on steroids. It is extremely painful exercise for me to spend my time on this rebuttal of LPI’s “proposals”, but I must, so the public record is clear about the gross incompetence of this “liberal party” outfit. Stay away from them if you want to maintain your sanity.



A press conference was held at the party headquarters on 09.01 2019. On the occasion  Ms. Suman Malhotra, National President, declared a brief about the formation and vision of the party covering important aspects of the governance.

Primarily Liberal Party of India has been formed to transform the existing national political character. It will work for restoration of the lost dignity and respect of citizens. [Sanjeev: Respect is hardly the issue. The issue is liberty.]

It was felt imperative because we have n-number of rules and laws but only selective  enforcement and implementation are resorted to. This happens because the political system is not answerable to public as was enshrined in the constitution.

The main cause of this precarious situation is faulty election process being followed till date. [Sanjeev: This might seem promising but look at their solution and you can work out how puerile this party’s ideas are]

Therefore, to conduct corruption-free and fair elections, Liberal Party of India envisages

  1. Casting of vote compulsory for each citizen. [Compulsory voting is the least of India’s problems. This “remedy” displays no understanding of the dysfuntion of the electoral system]

2. Cast vote through mobile phones. [Absurd. When the basic causes are not resolved, why create further complexity and confusion? Even in Australia, people go physically to vote. There is nothing wrong with physically showing your face to vote. At the least no one will be able to vote on behalf of dead people.]

3. The candidate after being elected as an MP, has to relinquish membership of the party. He now becomes the member of the Parliament and has to work for the country and not for the party. [Sanjeev: This is even more crazy. There is such a severe difference between a liberal and socialist party – how can this be glossed over?]

4. The President, PM, CJI, CEC, RBI Governor, CAG, CVC, and candidates for all other statutory positions are to be directly elected by the public. They will be answerable to public, not to politicians. [Sanjeev: This is berserk. There is definitely some role for Parliament in selecting judges, but this approach is inconsistent with the Westminster system. More problematically, it does not address any problem. A puerile proposal.]

5. The priorities will be

a Health

b Education

c .Employment

For Health….all hospitals will be standardized. No Govt. and private hospitals will be there. [What!!?All hospitals will be offering same standard of service. [Sanjeev: This is absurd nonsense What is the meaning of standardisation? And what is the business of government, the servant of the people, in such a matter? Let the government focus on security and justice, that’s all]

For Education……. all schools will be standardised. All schools will be of same standard. [The less said the better about this. Why should government – our servant – get involved in “standards” for schools?]

For Employment…..:all educated people will be employed on the basis of their skill. No rejection will be there. The employers will be directed to engage all educated citizen. [Oh god!! And these are allegedly liberals?]

The political parties after independence, adopted the same work culture which was carried out by the British. They treated the country as military state. We treat the nation as a Welfare state and all our policies will be for the welfare of people. “Divide and Rule” policy will be replaced by “Unite and Enjoy” policy. [Is it even possible to talk more nonsense and yet claim to be “liberal”?]

To change the mind set created by the political parties during the last 71 years will be the most challenging situation for us. The people have been subjected to a ‘Trader’s policy’ in the name of Governance. [Sanjeev: What? Socialism is now called “trader’s policy?” Did these people even get basic education?] The propriety and priority were misplaced. Industrialists were considered most important as they funded the election expenses for the parties. The food producers were kept as slaves by Govt. to take advantage of business houses.

Liberal Party of India is prepared to replace the oppressive priorities. Our policy will be to restructure the society in the following five layers. [Sanjeev: These people will ACTIVELY “STRUCTURE” SOCIETY!! And they are “liberals”???!!! They never heard about freedom and choice, did they?]

a Agriculture

b Teaching

c Security and Health

d Service

e Politics

a Agriculture will be declared as an industry. The Kisan will be named as Agriculture Scientist and all others working with him will be designated as Agriculture Engineers. The agricultural income will come under industry category. Govt. will be the JV partner and will be responsible for providing finance. [Sanjeev: So now anyone and everyone can become a scientist or engineer, and employed/paid by government? Socialism on steroids. I don’t know where to start.]

b Teachers will come next as they will train and skill the youth. They need food so they are placed next to agriculture [What! Are these people in the “liberal party” IDIOTS on steroids!]

c Soldiers and Doctors. These two categories are needed to protect all. They need food and teaching, so come in third place. [What!!!!!]

d Service people, Govt. and Private. This category is dependent on the first three categories, so come in at fourth place

e Politicians come next as they need the support of first four categories and are assigned to serve all of them and themselves.  [Too much to take – let me move on]

This policy is for the welfare of every citizen. Once in place, this policy will revolutionize the thought process of the public and replace the age old mind-set.

By strictly enforcing the existing Service Conduct Rules among the bureaucrats, police and judiciary, the proposed system will be in place. Now they will be answerable to public and not ministers. [Sanjeev: What? So the existing system is fine? Are these guys lunatics? Why do I even bother to write this post? Anand Prasad’s puerile nonsense was bad. This is beyond redemption. Spare me!]

Tax structure reform

The multiple tax liability will be done away with. The revenue will be generated from composite tax structure. [How is “composite” different from “multiple”?] Income tax will be replaced by Security Tax. [Sanjeev: What is this? Never heard of it in my life] Social facilities will be provided against the tax paid. All have to share the financial burdens. All will pay tax. Similarly the Govt. services will be made available to all. [This is the extent of their “tax policy”? Are these people even educated?]

Policies for Social and Cultural perspective.

The social perspective will be based on cultural priorities. The entertainment programmes will connect all irrespective of any other parameter. [What are these people trying to say? Try getting basic education in English, first. And what is the role of government in entertainment?]

Reservation system.

In a country structured on the principles of Cooperation and Coexistence, the concept of reservation will be wiped out. When all will be enjoying the resources through sharing, nothing will need to be reserved. [An extremist communist group, this]

Eligibility criteria of the elected representatives.

It is most important. The education system will be modified.  After +2 stage

all students have to work in Agriculture Sector for one year and then in Defense Sector for another year before joining college.

An aspiring candidate must have a PhD in any subject and an experience of 5 years of professional service. So minimum age for a candidate for elected position will be 35 years. [Sanjeev: Every Indian citizen must have FULL RIGHTS to contest and be a representative. This idea of “qualification is anti-democratic in addition to being puerile. This I know that millions of illiterate farmers are far more competent and sensible than these people.]

Supported by the public it may take about 5 years to set things in order.

We trust the people to come to power…….



NEW DELHI …………110016.

This tweet I put out a couple of days ago applies perfectly to this loonie bin called LPI

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