Fast forward four decades, and Russia has not only not achieved world dominance, it has also become a distrusted brand in many parts of the world.
What Mr Lee wrongly anticipated for his son, he did with Singapore as prime minister – repeatedly.
Take, for instance, our population policy. Fretting that the tiny island could not sustain a big population, Mr Lee laid down the law and stopped couples from having more than two children, only to reverse the policy when the government realised that the country needed a higher birthrate.
But unlike his notions about Russia, Mr Lee's draconian family-planning measures had profound consequences for all Singaporeans, consequences felt even today as we struggle with the issue of population growth and foreign workers.
Another miscalculation is the inflation of HDB prices or, as the PAP calls it, asset enhancement. In 2011, Mr Lee visited a family and told the owner who had just paid a princely sum of $380,000 for his flat built under the SERS programme not to sell it.
“Prices will go up,” the then Minister Mentor assured, adding,“I think he loved the view and felt happy about our asset enhancement.” (Don't sell your HDB flat, Mr Lee tells resident, Straits Times, 7 Nov 2011)
But in a stunning U-turn earlier this year, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong reminded that HDB flats would depreciate in value and, eventually, be worth nothing as they have to be returned to the government the end of their 99-year lease.
Mr Wong also discouraged Singaporeans from trying to capitalise on the SERS as redevelopment of blocks were conducted on very stringent criteria – only four percent of flats have come under the scheme since its introduction more than 20 years ago.
His sobering announcement will deter buyers from purchasing older flats at ever higher prices. This leaves those who have paid hefty amounts for their homes in the lurch.
Mr Lee's misplaced exuberance regarding asset enhancement also failed to consider that the policy would make it exceedingly difficult for the younger generation to buy their homes. The problem becomes even more pronounced with a deteriorating economy where lay-offs increase while job vacancies decrease.
Worse, the late minister's penchant to micro-manage every aspect of the people's lives has devolved to his mentees. Education Minister Mr Ong Ye Kung recently reiterated the government's intention to cap the number of university graduates at about 30 to 40 percent.
He provided scant justification for the policy except to say that the education must be aligned with the economy and that the government did not want a surfeit of graduates without jobs.
So here's a question or two: What if, in the years ahead, technology changes our economy and graduates are the vogue again? Is the PAP going to do another policy reversal? What if in future Singapore is handicapped by the dearth of university trained minds?
More importantly, what happens to those (like the couples who were pressurised to have no more than two children and the ones who paid wildly inflated prices for their flats) who could have and should have received their university education but didn't because of the PAP's inclination for short-term – and self-interested – fixes?
No monopoly on talent
Nothing of what I point out above should be construed as a statement against government initiative. A country without direction from its political leadership sinks into mediocrity and eventual irrelevance.
But political purposefulness and clarity must not be confused with arrogance and autocracy. It is crucial as we move into an era of rapid and unpredictable change that we discard Lee Kuan Yew's “we decide what is right, never mind what the people think” type of governance.
No one politician or group of politicians (especially if they are ensconced in their own political dogma) should have their ideas put into effect without being first subjected to intense public examination and debate.
Singaporeans must recognise that the ruling party does not have a monopoly on ideas or, for that matter, talent.
If anything, the PAP has, of late, proven quite inept at dealing with change and the unexpected. From the miscarriage of the Neptune Orient Lines to the blunders in geopolitics, from the failed GIC investment in the UBS to the inability to boost labour productivity, from the interminable train system breakdowns to the series of HDB lift mishaps, from the Little India riot debacle to outbreaks of diseases, PAP's leadership has been tested and found manifestly deficient.
The very last thing that our nation needs is continued one-party rule.