Lee Kuan Yew, educated in the UK and called Harry Lee for the first part of his life, led Singapore to independence when it was flung out of Malaysia in the 1960s. At the time, observers wondered how the small country, formerly a British colony, could ever survive.
It did, however, with Lee being in large part responsible for its emergence as a well-housed, well-educated and productive nation, an example of how things can be done.
To be sure, Lee was sometimes heavy-handed. In fact when I first visited I was rather afraid of what I might see in the way of repression. But the cabbies groused to me about the government the way they do most places, and there was a notable absence of uniformed police or military on the streets. Shortly afterwards I made my first trip to Paris and was shocked to see soldiers with machine guns in the Métro. My conclusion was that there are a lot of ways to control a population, and since Singapore worked so well, perhaps Lee had some good solutions to complex problems.