There was this Japanese variety talkshow shown some time ago that talked about the areas where Lee Kuan Yew learnt from the Japanese during the early years of nation building. Below is an excerpt from the talkshow, with English subtitles:

(Note: By the way, on a personal level, I sort of take certain parts of the talkshow with a slight pinch of salt. Nevertheless, I still find the stories and fact presented fascinating~)

For those who find it tough to go through the nearing 9-minute video, to summarised it, Minister Mentor (MM) Lee considered two (inseparable) factors during nation building:

  • Developing human resources, and
  • Japanese

Developing Human Resources

It is probably widely known that MM Lee calls the air-condition humankind’s greatest invention. The talkshow explains that to motivate the people to work hard in the hot, wet and humid Singapore, he put air-con units into governmental offices, to provide a more conducive environment for people to work in.


The talkshow also shared three qualities which MM Lee learnt from the Japanese, namely, innovation, teamwork, and security. I find the part where they explained how he managed to see innovation in Japanese totally amazing and I’m not going to give out any spoilers here. I’ll leave you to watch the video to find that out for yourself.