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Excerpts from The Singapore Story - Memoirs of LEE KUAN YEW
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- Subject: Excerpts from The Singapore Story - Memoirs of LEE KUAN YEW
- From: "Dixie" <Dixie@singnet.com.sg>
- Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 01:23:52 +0800
- Reply-To: <@singnet.com.sg>
On his ancestry:
"My family history in Singapore began with my paternal great-grandfather,
Lee Bok Boon, a Hakka. The Hakkas are Han Chinese from the northern and
central plains of China who migrated to Fujian, Guangdong and other
provinces in the south some 700 to 1000 years ago, and as latecomers were
only able to squeeze themselves into the less fertile and more hilly areas
unoccupied by the local inhabitants. According to the inscription on the
tombstone on his grave behind the house he built in China, Lee Bok Boon was
born in 1846 in the village of Tangxi in the Dabu prefecture of Guangdong.
He had migrated to Singapore on a Chinese junk. Little is known of him
after that until 1870, when he married a Chinese girl, Seow Huan Neo, born
in Singpaore to a Hakka shopkeeper."
On the 1955 Singapore general elections where Lee stood for the first time:
"But the most enthusiastic organisations were the main Hakka Clan
Assoication and its subsidiaries, like the association for my clansmen from
our ancestral prefecture of Dapu in China. Total strangers came to Oxley
Road to offer their services. They were Dapu Hakkas (one of whom called me
'uncle' although he was older than I was), and they expected nothing in
return except to share in my glory. Chong Mong Sang, the president of the
Singapore Hakka Association, mobilised the clan's resources and helped me
with cars. He owned a susccessful chain of pawnshops in Malaya and
Singapore (many pawnshops are run by Hakkas) and was my neighbour in Oxley
Road. I was the association's honorary legal adviser, and as a close-knit
minority, the Hakkas loyally rooted for me. "
"Polling day, 2 April 1955: I collected 6209 votes against 908 and 780
respectively for my two opponents, both of whom lost their deposits. I had
won by the largest number of ballots cast for any candidate."
Lee went on to become the founding prime minister of Singapore in 1959 at
the age of 35.
Hakkas constitute about 6% of Singapore's population, less than the Indians
(7%), Malays (15%) and other Chinese ethnic groups (total 69%).
extracted from The Singapore Story – Memoirs of LEE KUAN YEW