Playing ‘softball’ with an autocrat

Regarding Tom Plate’s Sept. 23 article “The good side of Singapore icon Lee Kuan Yew“: Plate seems obsessed with men like Lee, who has been described elsewhere as autocratic, arrogant, vindictive, vicious and just plain mean and nasty.

Plate consistently seems to overlook Lee’s faults and to praise his achievements. Lee was indeed brilliant in his perceptions and prognostications. But so was Mao Zedong and many malevolent figures in history. What have been the human costs of Lee’s shaping of modern Singapore society? It has been alleged that Lee ruined many lives in the process, particularly those who expressed opposing political and philosophical views.

Did Plate ever consider that he may have been granted multiple interviews because he mainly asked “softball” questions, shied away from sensitive topics and served well Lee’s purpose of creating a positive overseas image of Singapore? I certainly hope this is not the journalism methodology Plate teaches his students.

mark j. valencia
kaneohe, hawaii

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.