Gifted Characteristics Of Lee Kuan Yew


Singapore has lost our founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, on 23 March 2015 at 3.18am. Much had been mentioned about how our former prime minister had transformed Singapore from a village to a metropolis. While we all know that he was extremely intelligent, even with Dr Henry Kissinger, Former US Secretary of State mentioning that, it was not explicitly stated that Mr Lee was exceptionally gifted. That means his intelligence quotient would put him at 99.99% of the population.


As I went through his achievements, his habits, his thoughts and more through the daily deluge of articles about him, I realised that he must have been exceptionally gifted, or even profoundly gifted. He had high verbal and linguistic intelligence, and always demanded accurate and precise meanings of words. He had an extensive vocabulary, and would use them to great effect, especially when talking to politicians and academics. One such example was, “If they could not turn in a profit, “we should have no compunction in closing a service down“, he warned when talking about setting up of Singapore Airlines.”

When it came to speaking to the common man, he was able speak to the their level. He was able to code-switch easily. Apart from that, he was fluent in other languages, such as Malay, Mandarin and other Chinese dialects. In fact, during one fateful speech in Kuala Lumpur in May 1965, he spoke Malay so well that some of the Alliance members realised that he could speak better than them. He also spent decades in mastering Mandarin, hiring tutors to coach him.

It must be noted that he suffered from mild dyslexia. It affected his learning of Mandarin. It could have turned out to be a blessing in disguise for him, because many dyslexics are good communicators, as they use that to compensate for the reading difficulties. They also see problems differently from others, due to the way their brains process information. This could also have meant that he could tackle our problems from another perspective. Due to him being exceptionally gifted, it had also managed to mask his issues. He would be what we call twice-exceptional.

When he was in secondary school, he would constantly be looking for verbal sparring partners. He enjoyed arguments, according to Robert Kuok, a Malaysian tycoon who was his former classmate. Mr Richard Hu mentioned that despite not being trained in finance and economics, Mr Lee more than made up for that with ‘an acute mind with the ability to calculate implications, as well as by reading widely’. Mrs Jean Marshall, widow of Mr David Marshall, first Chief Minister of Singapore, said that he was ‘an exceptional speaker’, and ‘a master of silence and the pause’.

He also had a sense of humour. Once he asked a lady who was pursuing her PhD whether she had a boyfriend. She replied she did not have. He told her that she would have a more satisfying life if she had a boyfriend. In closing, he encouraged her to have both a marriage and her PhD.

Apart from these, he was obsessed with Singapore. Many gifted people are obsessed with various topics, choosing to learn their pet topics at depth. Mr Lee? He had both breadth and depth.

Economics? Check.
Foreign affairs? Check.
History? Check.
Education? Check.
Environment? Check.
Culture? Check.

Much had been mentioned about his red box, where Mr Heng Swee Keat mentioned how work would arrive in that box and he and the other staff would have to get to work immediately.

It was also revealed that he had high naturalistic intelligence, as he would even be interested in all sorts of tree and plants when he travelled overseas and he would find out whether they would be suitable for Singapore. It was also revealed that he knew the latin names of the trees and plants. He was also quite involved in success of the Singapore zoo.

He could not keep his mind off from thinking. Even when he was doing physiotherapy, he was actually thinking about matters and brought that up during a parliament sitting when he was 85 years old. Another politician, K Shanmugam, mentioned that he would call people up at 3am just to discuss matters.

tribute messages

Perhaps he is what I call a grandmaster in chess, someone who has thought through many moves ahead, and had anticipated the opponent’s possible moves. Check out more characteristics of gifted individuals.


The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse

I had just watched a short video on Eric Carle who had written and illustrated a book titled ‘The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse‘. He talks about how we should not be limited by colours and we should just allow children to use their imagination. He had actually based his drawings on an expressionist artist, Franz Marc, who painted blue horses and yellow cows.

blue horseCheck out his split!

Gar loves the book and he asks me to read it frequently. I do not have this book, so I borrow it from the library a couple of times for a year already.

blue horse

Blue Horse!

purple fox  Purple Fox!

pink rabbit

Pink Rabbit!

orange elephant

Orange Elephant! (Elephant is one of his favourite animals.)

Other books by Eric Carle that he likes include Have you seen my cat, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you hear?, Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you see?, The very busy spider, and recently, Papa please get the moon for me.

I like the books because the lines are quite repetitive. Gar is able to memorise what comes next, so he will shout it out.

There are worksheets available online. Do a simple search and you can find pictures for colouring, mobile hangers, book marks and other lessons.

What books does your child like? Share in the comments!

Garisms – Funny Stuff From A 33-Month Old Boy

Gar is currently 2 years and 9 months old. He is getting funnier. He is speaking a lot, but sometimes incoherently. Sometimes he shows how sly he can get and. He worships his brother, but is prone to jealous rages.


1. Gar loves Hello Panda biscuits and demands them constantly. To prevent him from opening one immediately, I told him to spell ‘panda’ first, thinking I could buy some time. Immediately, he started saying ‘H’, ‘E’, ‘L’, ‘L’ and ‘O’. Sorry kid, wrong password.

hello panda

2. Whenever we go to my parents’ place, he will knock on the door and say, “Arbody home?”

3. Instead of saying what is this, he says, “What der this one?”

4. Gar: I want to play Wild Crab.
Me: Wild Crab? Crabs? (deliberately not understanding him and makes crab movement)
Gar: Crab brothers! (exasperated)
Me: Oh, Wild Kratts.

Previously, he was calling them Wild Wild Wild Kratts. I only realised a few days ago that he was singing the lyrics to their theme song.

5. He also loves to play a Wild Kratts mathematical game. On a few occasions he could add 1 plus 1, up to 2 plus 2, but on most occasions, he could not, so the adults ended up playing the game for him.

wild kratts creature math2

6. In the above mentioned game, he says, “Felican not happy”. What’s a felican? Hint: It’s not a pelican. It’s a … (drum roll, please)…

wild kratts creature math


7. My husband told me that Gar had been doing this slyly over a period of time. I happened to see it for myself finally.
Gar: What der this one? (pointing to a card from El’s Chinese classes on the window, that has the Chinese phrase ‘du shu’ (study))
Hubby: Du shu
Gar: What der this one? (pointing to the card next to it)
Hubby: Dian Nao Shi (computer room)
Gar: Papa computer (requesting to go to the study to use his father’s computer to play Wild Kratts)

chinese cards

8. There is a card from his school that says “Baba” and “Mama”. It is also pasted on the window. He points to it and asks, “Where wo de baba?” I correct him and say, “wo de baba zai na li’ (Where is my papa?). He replies, “Where wo de baba zai na li”.

baba mama

9. Gar usually calls his father as ‘baba’ and El as ‘kor kor’. In the past one week or two, he suddenly started referring to them as ‘my daddy’ and ‘my brother’.

10. The boys had been using blue water bottles, but recently El got a new yellow water bottle. Gar became insanely jealous, because his favourite colour was yellow. He is really obsessed with the colour. He is always using the yellow paint.

He kicked up such a big fuss, including snatching the bottle and drinking from it even though El was germy. I had to buy a yellow water bottle for him the very next day. Since his blue water bottle was still very new, we still let him use it. He insisted on getting using his yellow bottle, despite already in bed, when he spotted El using his yellow one in the dark.

yellow piyo piyo water bottle

11. He is insanely jealous of his brother’s art work (mostly canvas paintings), and keeps asking why his brother’s works are displayed at the entrance of the house. I tell him he could only attend the classes when he turns three.

This morning, when he spotted a new painting done by his brother the day before, he repeatedly said, “Dragon?”, stressing each syllable and pumping them with emotions, “Why Kor Kor has a dragon?”

el art gallery1

I had to assure him that when he turns three, he could go for art classes.


12. He has to win his brother in everything. When we are in the car, he must get his seatbelt buckled first. If he hears the click from his brother’s seat belt first, he will get very upset.

Gar: I winner. Kor kor loser.
El: It’s ok. You win some and you lose some.
Gar: No, I winner.
El: It doesn’t matter. (and it goes on and on)

13. Spotting yellow medicine on my finger, he asks why mummy’s finger ‘tong tong’ (painful). He starts saying Ah Ma’s knees ‘tong tong’, as his grandmother had fallen down recently and applied ointment on her knees.

14. This morning, he woke up and kept shouting about why his brother hit his head on a boat. I had to decipher that. We had just gone to Alive Museum and his brother leaned back without thinking and hit his head on a boat. Does Gar dream of all the events that had taken place?

Sigh, he is influenced by his caregivers who speak broken English. I don’t know how to get him to speak grammatically and articulate well. I also do not know how to get him to be less competitive. I just hope he grows up well.

Read here for more Garisms!

garisms3 Garisms: Funny Quips From Gar

garisms4Garisms: Gar’s Quips


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