Lee Kuan Yew Was Almost Killed By The Japanese In WWII


LKY had a near miss back in the Japanese Occupation

Have you ever wondered how Singapore would have been had Mr Lee Kuan Yew had never stepped up to take charge? What if our first Prime Minister had died to the hands of the Japanese in World War 2?

Singapore would likely have been different to the prosperous city that we enjoy and love.


What if I told you that we had been scarily close to that alternative reality — in fact, we missed it by a whisker.

Sliver of Luck

In his book From Third World to First, Mr Lee recounted his harrowing experience during the Second World War.

During the war, the Japanese had ruled over Singapore, and were in the midst of Sook Ching, an operation of mass killings of Singaporean Chinese over a fear of rebellion.


A young LKY himself was once rounded up by the Japanese along with other Chinese men. Sensing that something fishy was going on, LKY managed to sweet-talk the soldiers with his knowledge of japanese. He asked them for permission to go home and take his clothes.

Fortunately, the guards agreed to his request but ordered him to return immediately. LKY never came back.


It was only later than LKY discovered that the men who had been rounded up had been taken to Changi Beach and shot as part of the Sook Ching Massacre. 




Mr LKY’s wit and vigilance has been vital in moulding our country into what we see today, and it is rather chilling to think about what would have happened all those years ago if he had been killed.

We remain eternally grateful for his contributions to Singapore and will remember him fondly for the years to come.

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