• Kaneohe, Hawaii

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I usually enjoy Tom Plate’s relativistic ruminations and ramblings, but I have to question his judgment concerning Lee Kuan Yew and the Lincoln Medal in his Nov. 7 article, “Asian leader receives coveted American award.” Ironically this letter, and perhaps even some of Plate’s columns, would probably not have appeared in the Singapore press during Lee’s intimidating tenure as prime minister.

I have, and I am sure Plate has seen or heard, other descriptions of Lee — such as autocratic, arrogant, vicious, vindictive, hypocritical, stubborn and just plain mean and nasty. Plate may wish to recall the young lives and careers that Lee allegedly ruined or severely disrupted because a few had the temerity to express opposing political views. Yes, Lee was brilliant in his perceptions and prognostications. So were many malevolent figures in history.

According to its website, “recipients of Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medals should illuminate or reflect [Abraham] Lincoln’s legacy of leadership, service, humanity, wisdom, eloquence and vision in their body of work, accomplishments or personal attributes.”

One is left wondering just what outstanding aspects of “humanity” Lee has displayed. Frankly I am shocked that Lee was awarded the Lincoln Medal and that Plate seems to accept this at face value. This is a travesty of the worst kind — for Lee’s alleged victims and for those who truly embrace the values and ideals represented by American hero and emancipator Lincoln.

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.

mark valencia

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