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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  March 25, 2015 12:00am-1:01am PDT

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. >> rose: funding for charlie rose is provided by the following. >> additional funding provided by. >> >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose.
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>> do you care that they say, boy, lee kuan yew has created a miracle in singapore, but he is an authoritarian, he doesn't care about democracy, he cares little about a free press, doesn't care. >> yes. >> rose: believes almost that he knows what is right for singapore, he knows what is right for the people and that he is going to see it the way he believes it ought to be, come hell or high water? >> let's put it in a kinder more objective way. >> no, no not kinder, just more objective. >> i have to govern now 4 million people. 3 million singaporeans, 1 million are foreigners who get job in singapore and i have 1,100,000 are professionals. >> why do they come there? >> because it is a thriving economy that gives them jobs and
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their families are happy and safe. no drugs, no muggings, no rapings, you can walk the streets 3:00 o'clock in the morning, you are okay. how is that achieved? by the manifest? you won't see any policemen there. you won't see soldiers lining the streets. every four years to five years i have to renew, i had to renew my mandate as a, there is a free election and about five, six seven different parties will spring to life one year before the elections and try their luck. and in the last few elections they device add new strategy, they knew that the people wanted a pap government but wanted an opposition, so they say right, on nomination day, we will contest less than half so the pap has already formed the government, and it worked and they won four seats.
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but what was the concession they made? that people wanted a pap government. so why should i be authoritarian when i have the people with me? that is what the people wanted. they wanted a high quality of life, low crime rate, good future for education, of their children and jobs. better homes, better hospitals, and a higher quality of life culturally. >> rose: did you have an internal belief in markets that somehow you had been convinced that markets was the way to go and that competition would produce an economy that would be competitive? >> it is more than that simple. by 1965 i had traveled through theawhole of africa, 17 countries. i went through in 1964 on a special mission. i traveled widely in asia and in
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europe and in the region. i have been to indonesia, and i have seen what didn't work. first they became promise. they promised a word follow me, in fact, in ghana, there was a statue of nakuma and he called it black square black star square and there was a black star and there was his statue and there is a pin that says seek ye the kingdom of politics and all will be unto you. >> i thought, god that is blasphemy. but never mind. that was nakuma, and it was an awful mess, because you could see the thing wasn't working. you had all of the symbols, black square, marching troops. we had to feed 2 million people.
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how? >> agriculture was negligible commerce was coming to an end. i have was in its infancy. so i had been to see hong kong, the that was near to us but hong kong had a british government which assured military defense security, stability. and british capital. i saw taiwan. they had an american alliance, so somehow i had to get this thing going. so we tried many things. brought manufacturers to, from hong kong and taiwan, textile mills, started our own glass
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factory with our own cash, but you didn't have the silica to make good bottles, we sold it off later. trial and error and finally i had spent one term at harvard. >> rose: right. in. >> in the sixties? >> in the fall of 68 and as luck would have it, that was also the height of the cultural revolution in china. i had earlier met a u.n. expert who had come to harvard and he came up to see me one day. and he said why are you looking so -- >> i am in a spot. >> you are in a spot but -- imagine how much more difficult a spot would be if you had 100 million japanese as your neighbor like the indonesians. >> that set me thinking. think what you can do with them.
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so. >> or what they would do to you. >> rose: provide a market? >> no. they will take you over. >> rose: ah. >> so i said look, you have 1 million arabs that refuse to trade with them. they need fruits -- to europe and many other things to manufacture stuff, starting with lettuce and agriculture. >> so in my term at harvard i met many people. economists, people like samuelson who taught me why americans made textiles, although it was low-tech. i also met many businessmen, and i decided, no, we will leapfrog a different way, we will get this big american manufacturers to export to america and the
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world and the luck to have it the cultural revolution made them bypass taiwan, hong kong they came to singapore, texas instruments, hewlett packard they all came seagate and it became the biggest manufacturer of disk drives in 20 years we were the center for disk drives and computer parts and computer peripherals. we never looked back. then as we corroborated that, the other side of the coin i came up with the idea, look, people are going to come here and explore the region, and it is a dangerous region, i mean pestilence, malaria typhoid. here in singapore, we will create a first world oasis out of this 89, it was a third world island, but we will create a
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first world condition. >> rose: third world to first? >> yes. so that they will base their, they will make camp here and then venture out and when they are sick they will come back and -- will be left here. so you had first world standards of infrastructure, roads, airports seaports, communications, health schooling, personal and public security. we added concepts, but the basic was first world. that was easy, the hardware. the difficult part was getting the population as behaving like a third world to start behaving like a first world. >> rose: that's what i want to know. how did you do that? >> well, people used to make fun of us, because the foreign correspondents came and watched us start this campaign on television and ministers saying stop spitting stop littering
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but we had them by the month, you know let's do it differently. you can't do silly things like you did before, because you want to be host to first world guests, so you can't be peeing all over the place as you did in the old squatter villages, but there were a few who were still troublesome, so they would pee just to be a nuisance to their neighbors, so we installed in the lift special sensitive instruments that will stop the lift the moment you do that and you apprehend them. it is funny. >> rose: but it worked. >> but it is real. then they opened the lift door and pee and you caught nothing. see how wicked they are. so we installed a camera that will catch them from the outside. >> rose: yes. >> and so it went on. but it improved. i am not saying we are there,
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but if you want tourism you need to have clean public toilets. >> rose: right. >> and we didn't have that. so we had to go on a campaign that said flush it. you stupid man. you owe it to the next chap or you may be the next chap. it took some doing. we are not there yet but we are getting there. we still have people with mobile phones and -- >> rose: what do you do to stop that? >> catch all of them. >> rose: throw them out? >> rose: you also have one the of the highest rates of capital punishment. yes. that's for drugs. >> rose: that's for drugs. >> yes. >> rose: do you think drugs deserve to be treated with the maximum punishment? >> if we could kill them 100 times we would because you destroy whole families. it is terrifying to see, because you are then drug dependent you steal you cheat you rob, it is
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so destroying and they come in knowing that death will be found but the rewards are so great. it is very unusual people, women from africa, big -- come to sell clothes and inbetween the clothes are kilos of heroin. >> rose: you say you bring heroin in to singapore. >> you hang. >> rose: you hang. >> you hang. anything beyond ten grams you hang. below ten grams -- >> rose: you are convicted of bringing in more than ten grams of heroin you hang. >> yes. >> rose: after a jury trial. >> no jury trial, a judge. >> rose: a judge will listen to the evidence presented. >> yes of course. >> and he said you are guilty you hang. >> you hang. >> rose:. >> and they still come. unbelievable. >> rose: do you believe capital punishment is a deterrent or not?
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>> without capital punishment our rate as a drug center would quadruple or quintuple. >> rose: because you are right on the passageway. >> and our internal consumption would go up by a multiple of ten. >> rose: do you believe in the idea of a free press? >> i believe in truth. >> rose: truth. >> yes. >> rose: that's different isn't it? >> and i don't believe that the press should be crusading and putting a spin on things. i think they should fingerprint story and editorialize or pontificate separately and not skew it with the headlines and the sub headlines, putting it on the inside pages. >> rose: do you believe, if someone said singapore. >> yes. >> rose: this modern state, city-state, that pretty much escaped most of the asian economic crisis. >> yes. >> -- that plagued japan, thailand, indonesia malaysia
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you were relatively compared to them, immune. >> yes. >> rose:. >> not immune, but our damage was collateral. we had to lend them money and lost money. >> rose: yes. >> and when money was pulled out of the region, they pulled it out of singapore too. >> rose: you seem to believe not in the individual but in the state. you seem to be much more of status than someone who is such a fan of free markets. >> there is a profound difference in the philosophy between the american and the chinese and it is a reflection of your history. you came over in the mayflower, you were seeking religious freedom, so much so that you refused to allow it to be taught
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in the schools. you believed in the individual as the creator of all things, and you -- you captured the wild west, i mean on horseback, main street, i am sheriff, you are saloon keeper, we build a gold rush town or cattle or whatever it is. we have been immense, you have been immensely fortunate. >> two world wars left europe in shambles and you emerged as the undamaged technological and industrial power. china has a completely different and checkered history. 4,000 to 5,000 years of ups and downs, long periods of, when there was no government, anarchy, warlords.
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i once had a chinese masseur when i was in beijing working my shoulder and i was talking and i said during the war, japanese died. what currency did you use? he said japanese currency, it was in japanese controlled areas or other currency in other areas. i said how many currencies are there? two, three? >> 14 or 15? >> depending on which warlords area you are in. so why have they survived in spite of anarchy and disaster floods, famines? because there was a social network independent of government that sustained them. the immediate family, the stemmed family, the clan. you owed them an obligation. you cannot turn them away. that is how they survived.
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i would be, i would be loathe to believe in singapore you would never have anarchy there will always be government that will provide for social security, that has been your experience. i am not sure that will be the singapore experience. i think we are safer if we keep those family bonds, those traditional life raft systems not dependent on the state. place the emphasis on family, extended family, and then the government, and not the individual at the expense of the family and the state, which is the american system. so you have bill gates -- of sisco, look up forbes, fortune, whatever, and 50 of the best and the brightest in the world yes, and the wealthiest. that is your experience. that is not china's experience. that is not our experience.
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yes, we also now want to try to get our little bill gates going, but in the context of keeping our society solid, so that we will survive as a people, we have never been occupied, we only had one civil war, quite a traumatic experience. so you will never understand what it is. i have been occupied by the japanese three and a half years they didn't represent me. there was no human rights. the first thing i saw two days after they came in when i went out to try to buy some food, two human heads on a pole outside of the tallest building in singapore, and chinese characters to say if you are not well behaved you will end up
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i wouldn't say exactly with ambitions but i am quite convinced that they can become a very powerful military force and if cornered again the way they were in 1941 with an oil embargo and no exports, rather than curl up and die they will fight. the culture of the people, they are not going to lie down, curl up, face the wall. >> rose: would you fare the japanese more than the chinese? >> with the americans around, i fear neither. >> rose: why? >> because i think there is a balance. >> rose: the united states will -- >> the united states together with japan will be able to balance china. >> rose: and that's the way you see the future? >> i think so. >> rose: the strategic balance between united states and a japan on one side and china on the other. >> absolutely. i don't think the japanese would be wise to go it alone and they
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know it. i don't think the united states alone can take china and japan. >> rose: japan and china, which is culturally unlikely ever to happen. >> coming to, that is for further observation. >> rose: what do you regret most so far? >> it is a parlor game really, so many thing to regret, you could have done something better but i regret just most the years we spent building up the momentum of malaysia and making an investment of years, it never got a chance. if there was a stronger prime minister in malaysia who was prepared to give a more equal balance to the various peoples in malaysia the story might have ended differently and it would have been better for all of us. >> rose: because singapore combined with malaysia and all of the -- all of that would have
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given you a much more powerful point of leverage? >> no not for me. >> rose: not just for you -- >> but for the people. they would have had a better life. >> rose: have you had a moment in which you say, to all of these world leaders, boy if i could, and maybe this is it, if i could have written on a broader canvas think of the things i could have done. >> i know i said once -- >> rose: go ahead. >> i had dinner once in november of 1978 and in a moment of whimsy part of my speech i said i wonder what would happen i ding choo ping was born in philippines and i was born in china and he looked as scholastic scrimmage as scholastic scrimmage and i am sure ding xiaoping would be running singapore. >> and i would have had so many
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conspiratorial groups that would just have knocked me down. as the greasy pole you get there as much by luck as by merit. >> rose: really? >> luck timing? >> well, for the first generation, just sheer -- >> rose: will. >> he imposed his will on the party. for deng xiaoping it was will and a group of people generals and other party stalwarts who preserved him for, from moo tse-tung's rancor. >> for chao ping it was huck. he had -- and he had to make a choice, and he chose cash from shanghai because he kept
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shanghai quiet without using force. but not allowing the students to run the place. it was pure luck. but of course his staying there and staying on top, that is not luck that is real leadership skills within the confines of the 0 communist party elite. >> rose: what do you think your strongest field is? >> >> in my context a capacity to persuade my people to do tough things. >> rose: do you really? >> yes. otherwise they wouldn't have changed. mind you, had i had a chinese base in china not transplants in singapore, i mean -- i may not have succeed. you try making them stop spitting in china. i have done it in singapore.
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>> rose: i think it is probably with the capacity to grow, your capacity to grow. >> well, yes, you have to learn all the time. >> rose: yes. >> it is understood you could not stand still. >> yes. >> and you understood that you had to learn from history. >> yes. >> rose: or be -- or to repeat it? >> yes. i keep on learning all the time. the day you stop learning, the that's the day you are dead. >> rose: we once had a conversation about a whole range of leaders and you said to me the man that you most admired of all the people you ever met was dengue shoo ping. >> yes. he admired you too because he set chinese 30, 40,000 of them to singapore to figure out what you were doing, am i right? >> yes. >> rose: what was it you were doing that he wanted to see? >> .. >> he was astonished when he came for the the issues time in 1978 to tell us to prevent
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vietnam from invading cambodia because they are doing it on behalf of the russians. then he found a singapore which was contrary to what he was given in his brief. >> rose: yes. >> he found a prosperous, orderly society, everybody owning their own homes and with a job. so said, how did you get there? i said, well you educate the people and look at all of this, america, japanese europeans, they bring technology, they train our people, we learn how to do things and because we are cheaper, after a while we become general managers and managing directors and we learn how to do that and we become, we become a surprise to them. so he said, oh, you made was of capitalism to build a more egalitarian society, everybody owns their own home. i will do the same. >> rose: and he did?
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>> he did. >> rose: he did. >> he went back and he created 12 economic zones, shanghai so on all coastal societies and he succeeded. >> rose: so he was the greatest man you ev met because he understood -- because of the results. he changed a nation and therefore -- >> he is a member of the old guard. he fought in the ng march. he chased the kmt out across the stay and he was. >> rose: he was a victim of the cultural revolution? >> yes. but he was realistic. he knew the system was not working. he knew that you were going end up down in a deep hole and he decided against all the industries of his fellow old guards that they would change course. >> rose: and he had the brains
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and power to pull it off? >> yes. and when they tried to stop him in 1992 from going too fast, he went down to sting shun and he said learn from all countries of the world and most of all learn from singapore, the order is good and they are a very prosperous society. >> rose: what is the most important change and most significant change in your way of thinking about the world over the last 20 years? >> >> that the impossible can happen. i never thought -- would implode so ease easily, and i never fought the chinese would abandon communist system and move into the free market so readily. it was unthinkable 20 years ago.
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both have happened. the world has changed. >> rose: and it is not clear exactly how it is all going to -- >> it is not exactly clear when it will happen. >> rose: exactly. >> but that it will happen now in the long-term 50 to 100 years, yes. >> rose: and the center of gravity is shifting to asia? >> it must be, because the population is there. the talent pool of 1.3 billion people plus the japanese, the koreans, the vietnamese and the others, it cannot show up in america, that talent pool is inert, it does not have science and technology, they do not care about science and technology but now everything that you do asia is doing. you are going to -- chinese, singapore has to go to that.
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in order to get into a field where the chinese cannot compete with us. the chinese are in a very big way, they are watching you and whatever you do, say, oh yes, we will do that. they are far behind, of course but give them time they are going to catch up. >> they are enormously curious. >> they are. >> rose: enormously curious. >> not just curious, they are enormous liam wishes to catch up. >> rose: for good reason and for good ends? >> that you must ask them. but i think the reason is they have to -- they have a sense of frustration that they were down for so long. let's make it now. here is our chance. >> rose: and the united states has to encourage them. >> no, you don't have to encourage them. you just have got to understand that -- look they don't want to be an honorary member of the
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west. unlike russia. they are quite happy to be chinese and to remain as such. so when you tell them you ought to do that, you ought to do that, they will say yes thank you and in the back of the mind, we have been, we have survived 5,000 years. have you? >> rose: is there a different chinese attitude about the future than the united states? >> they do not believe that works for them can work for other people. if you want to try my system, go ahead, but i have special circumstances that allow me to adopt the system. i am not interested in changing regimes. i deal with you as you are, whether you are a dictatorship, whether you are a tribal leader or whatever. we maintain good relations. i mean, i need your ore, i need your resources let's do business. there is no evangelistic urge to
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change things. >> rose: is america, you think, a proselytizing country? they want to sell their values and believe in their values? >> all of this has been, and all will be. >> rose: a kind of missionary zeal? >> yes. that the world can be made a better place and every place becomes like america which i don't think it can be, but you want to try? go ahead. >> rose: some people look at china and they say there has been no google formed in china, there has been no facebook developed in china no microsoft developed in china. and that says something about their educational system. >> partly the educational system but partly because there is very tight control at the top. they do not like the established order to be tinkered with. it is working fine leave it and if anybody has any good,
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they will borrow it and test it out. why take the risk? there, let's play it safe. if you let 1.3 billion smart guys start -- you will have chaos, and they are capable of thinking up new things, i will give you an example. i go on a computer for for the chinese and vice versa, and oh, the chinese have done it, it is called nsiku. >> rose: siku. >> siku -- and you can do wonders with it, and there are many such things anything you want to do on the internet, there is no need to go to
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google, you can go to baidu. >> rose: the search engine. a large one, 80 percent of the chinese market. what do you think of what the chinese did to google? >> well they didn't want google to become a vehicle for sub version, so-called sub version. the spreading of ideas to affect the stability of the state. >> rose: do you think it is too paranoid? >> the chinese fear, any government is insecure, it is a huge country, and you cannot control everything. you cannot microcontrol it so you -- >> rose: let's talk about singapore. >> yes. >> so you agreed to sit down with seven or eight journalists from the straight times, a
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well-known newspaper here in singapore and said i will talk an anything, and then they published this book. did you do that because you were worried that the young people did not understand singapore and you wanted to make sure you got to them? >> yes, i think. >> rose:. >> it cannot go on auto pie loot. >> it cannot go on autopilot. >> rose: what are you worried about. >> the base is a very narrow one. it is 700 square kilometers and we have built this 100 story edifice, and you keep that base steady, you might be able to go up to 150 and if you tifnger around, tinker and believing it is forever, it might come tumbling down, please remember this base is narrow and so the
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margin for error are small, so make sure when you reach a decision you have got a fallback. >> rose: some people say that singapore has crystallized the question, what price for prosperity and security? >> yes. >> rose: that is the question that you have -- >> i have answered that i have tackled that question. >> how have you done that. >> first to make sure there is no instability. the different races have lived together peacefully, different religions do not clash. just disparate income groups remain in the same -- so there are no ghettos, you go around singapore i challenge you to find a ghetto.
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because the rich and the poor, other than privately owned homes, they are all living in one milieu, same shops, same playing field same schools so it is a level playing field for everyone, the most important schooling housing that has been achieved and that is to be maintained. we also have had to put restrictions on for people of the same race together. >> rose: -- living together. >> to gather together so malaysia will get together and the chinese will get together, and in separate blocks then you have a problem so every block you have a quarter, it reflects a percentage of the population
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of the various races so your neighbors are chinese, indians, malaysian and your children get to know them go up and down the same lift, go to the go to the same schools, so it is a structural device a social device the social structure that forces you to understand the different races and make you coexist together. >> rose: where did you get these political ideas of yours? >> well, i watch them after one or two riots. >> rose: after two or three riots? >> yes. there were riots, in malays and they were poor and dirty no
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sanitation into this was before 65 or after 65? >> no, no, before 65. >> 1950 -- >> rose: so you began to form an idea you would like to see singapore become before malaysia in 1969? >> oh yes. we hoped we could make malaysia the same but malaysia does not want that, they want a malays dominance from the top down and now they have a serious problem because the chinese and the indians are separate from them, go to separate schools chinese go and learn chinese, indians learn malay, they live in different places, they are in disparate communities. where we have one community one, i am not saying we are one nation yet, but we are one society. >> rose: and you have made speeches. >>including this year -- >> yes. >> rose: -- promoting the idea
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of the kind of social cohesion of multiple parties, multiple ethnic -- >> yes. without that, without that you have no progress. because if you aren't together all the time how can you get progress. >> but do you worry that if, in fact, there is more political discourse among the young that it will lead to racial politics? >> well, they can have all the discourse they like but race language and religion, please tread carefully. >> rose: how can you tread carefully? >> you know that these are sensitive issues, and you don't stir up a hornet's nest. >> i said in that book that i think malay muslims. >> rose: the people of -- >> should relax. and eat together with the others. >> rose: and you created a firestorm and your son said the
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prime minister differed with you. >> that's right. >> rose: were you right or was your son right? >> he has to be right. he's the prime minister. >> rose: but -- but -- >> but you asked a person in the street if what i said is true. >> rose: and they will say? >> you ask them. >> rose: were you born in a well-to-do family? >> we weren't poor. >> rose: you went to cam bridge to law school. >> yes. >> rose: did you then think that you wanted to go into politics? >> yes. because i saw no reason why the british should run the place. i competed with them. i knew them as a society, and i think given a chance we could do better because we know the people better than they do. >> rose: so you wanted to be party of an anti-colonial
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people's party? >> yes. and we have done that, because we mixed-up the people combined -- the british kept us segregated from the time the areas chinese live here, malays live here, indians live here arabs live here. and in 19th century, they were very disparate peoples and there were riots so they segregated them, but i have got to make one society out of this people. i have got to understand, they have got to understand each other even if they don't like each other. >> and that's why you think it is fragile? >> yes, of course, it is not -- it is not in the dna yet, it is
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enforced by sheer living conditions physical living conditions and every day intermingling, same schools same playing fields, same shopping centers, same neighbors. >> rose: when you were at cambridge you met and married your remarkable wife who died in october. she was a political partner of yours in a sense? >> yes. >> rose: she edited and listened and helped you with the speeches and everything else? >> yes. she edited -- and i dictated and she would correct it. >> rose: and she actually raised the family too. >> yes. >> rose:. >> rose: you have described yourself as a kept man? >> which i was, because she was earning more money than i did. >> rose: as a lawyer. >> yes. >> rose: she was with you in 1965. >> yes. >> rose: when you actually cried on television.
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>> yes. >> rose: what were you crying about? >> i cried because an idea an ideal was shattered that you could have a nonracial society in malaysia and singapore, and we had already made moves to mobilize a last part of the population chinese indians and some malays, standing and working for a malaysian malaysia and it didn't work out and that was the end of our enterprise. >> rose: so you were crying over the anguish that what might have been couldn't be. >> yes. and i had to leave behind all the people that mobilized. they were left leader less. .. >> rose: did you dream it could be what it is today?
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>> not in the actual form it is, because the form has been the physical landscape has been the result of technological improvements imported from outside. as the globalized village allowed us to have bali and all the rest of it but we have an intermingled population, one society that was planned. that was the aim, and it is still a work in progress but we will continue that work. >> rose: someone said you built a first-class oasis in a third world region and you have been praised for your efficiency and incorruptibility but you have been accused by human
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rights groups of limiting political freedom and intimidating through libel lawsuits. >> how can you intimidate through libel lawsuits? it is ridiculous. lawyers will tell you there is libel in which i can win the case or it is not lie bebl, libel and a judge will throw it out and i will will have to pay damages. >> rose: but you are prepared to be a litigious fellow? >> yes. rather than have to knock him down politically. i will go to court and say i am here, cross-examine me. as the plaintiff i am saying that what you said is a pack of lies. here i am, now put me to cross-examination. >> rose: you have also said that while you might have done things in retrospect you shouldn't have done you always did them for the honorable reasons. >> well, in looking back, i think i might have done better. >> rose: like?
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>> like not forcing the pace of getting people to change their languages. >> rose: you made english the language? >> yeah. we were speaking in multiple tongues. there were chinese speaking some eight die lets, indonesia multiple die lots and english a smattering, a very bad form of english. >> rose: this is why you were against singlish. >> yes, i still are. >> rose: although the youth sort of still have their own language? >> no. youyou want a language that you can communicate to with the world easily, and if you speak your own patua english, you are
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disadvantaging yourself. i once went to jamaica for a commonwealth conference and i will never forget this. they took over an american holiday house to house us, with all of their cooks and so on were blacks good cooks, but they spoke in an accent, and so i went out to watch the fishermen bring their fish in, so i asked him, what kind of fish he said dan spran. >> i said what is that. >> dan sprats. >> i figured out, oh, yes,, but that was as a result of an
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amalgamation of many african dialects with a slave master's language. we inherited the english language from the british in a multiracial society to make it the working language, chinese, malay the second language. >> rose: are you worried today about the declining birthrate? >> i think nothing can be done about it. >> nothing. >> it is a lifestyle change the women are educated, they are completely independent they don't marry into their late, mid 30s. late childbearing. >> rose: here is my impression. >> yes. >> rose: that you, because you have shown results believe that the prime minister became senior minister became minister mentor knows best and feels strongest
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about what is good for singapore. >> >> rose: and -- the threats against it -- >> what is best to see singapore continue to thrive and to prosper and and don't have migrants harming the local population. that hasn't happened yet, right now they are 30 percent and we shouldn't allow them to the become 50 percent and they would change us. >> rose: what do you do to make sure they don't become 50 percent? >> make sure the numbers are kept down. >> rose: how do you do that? immigration restrictions? >> yes. >> is that what it is going to come to? >> just taking the high quality people, those with education. >> rose: do you for ria bit, though, that singaporeans because of all of this process officer at this are becoming a bit soft?
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>> no, not soft .. they are becoming self centered. >> or taking for granted -- >> no, they are hardworking, hard driving, enjoy life, travel, have a good time. they work hard and they play hard. they are not going soft. >> rose: you have said, with respect, that they don't feel the spur in their hide. >> that is because they don't think it is necessary to strife anymore. we are already here. we have arrived. >> rose: so what is your message to them when they say that? >> this needs more than autopilot, you will run into storms, you run into air pockets, and the pilot and the copilot and the spare pilot that are on board, and passengers
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must stay alive, awake and alert. >> rose: i, what do you worry about? >> i am worried if they, the new leaders and the population as a whole do not realize a small base on which this is built, and they take liberties with it, we could go down quickly. spiral down a visuals circle down. >> rose: quickly? >> yes. >> confidence disappears and investment disappears. >> rose: so your legacy is that you have presided over encouraged, led this prosperity you are developing a legacy is you want to make sure that it is sustainable? >> i want to make sure that this place always commands
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confidence. confidence brings in investments and brings in talent. with investments and talents we will prosper. and that confidence should never be jeopardized by riots civil commotion strife of any kind. >> rose: strife of any kind? >> yes. it is not necessary. >> rose: can singapore will singapore have, and can it under the world you want to see, a true democracy? >> american style? >> rose: yes. >> no. >> rose: what is an american style democracy. >> the first amendment says you can say anything you like. >> rose: yes. you can't have that. >> you cannot say anything you like on religion race, and culture. they are forbidden, they are sensitive, they are issues that would cause a stir and you are
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in big trouble. >> rose: so that's the price you pay for prosperity and security? >> no those are no go areas. they are no go areas. >> rose: no go areas, you can't go there? >> yes. >> rose: do you wish you had a bigger fishbowl to -- to achieve your miracle in? this is a small island. it is 40 minutes from one end to the other. >> it is very difficult to have a piece -- and do it fully. >> rose: what is it that makes you this strategic third that people come to for advice? >> first of all, i do not believe people come to me to seek advice. they come to me to bounce ideas and a to test them out. >> rose: what is it that you
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have? >> experience. i am 88, i have lived long, and i have not forgotten my mistakes. >> >> rose: for more about in program and early episodes visit u s online at pbs.org and charlierose.com. >> captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen sue herera. building a foundation is probably the biggest purchase you'll ever make and a lot of americans bought new homes last month. but there's more to the data meet it is eye. >> payout at risk? mack macklamor dividends, will others follow? don't leave home without it. american express ceo addresses investors tomorrow. and the pressure is on for him to outline a fix. all that and more tonight on "nightly business report," for tuesday, march 23 24. good evening, and welcome. the federal reserve today didn't exactly get the definitive economic signals it might like to have. the fed say it will be

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