Back in our opening, all we lumped Lee Kuan Yew in with some pretty unsavory characters.
While that was mostly to demonstrate how different he was from other east Asian rulers in this era.
It was also because he at least vaguely belongs in their group.
No one, but no one could stay in power for over 30 years without having at least a mild authoritarian streak.
And Lee's streak was sometimes a shade or two beyond mild.
For starters, is Singapore functioned under some pretty strict limits on free speech and public assembly.
It also featured a judiciary that was less than independent while judges were free from obvious interference.
They still towed the PAP party line on nearly all significant rulings and speaking of PAP.
It wasn't just Lee who became a permanent feature of the landscape.
Despite technically being a multi-party democracy with free and fair elections, Singapore effectively became a one-party state.
Between 1966 and 1981, not a single seat in parliament was held by a non-PAP politician.
When a record 40 of voters backed opposition candidates in 2011, just six of 87 seats went to other parties.
Part of the reason for this was PAP's ability to spot emerging new talents and co-opt them, bringing the best and brightest into the fold.
Another was the party's genuine enduring popularity.
But at least part of it was due to PAP's vice-like grip over society, not just central government but local work brigades, residence, committees and local associations.
They all fell under his spell.
To take part in civil society, almost by default had to get involved with PAP.
This meant a level of identification with the party that pretty much no one in the opposition could muster.
And when they tried it often meant trouble.
Unlike a classic, lock them up or shoot them, authoritarian Lee had a much more humane yet equally effective way of dealing with political opposition.
Thanks to stringent libel laws, critics of the government could easily be hit with devastating lawsuits.
Opposition star J.B.Jeyaretnam was repeatedly bankrupted by politically motivated rulings.
From Lee's point of view, the reason for all of this was clear.
Loosen things up in society just a little and the demons of ethnic strife or communist agitation might come howling out again.
As he confessed in an interview long after his retirement, "I'm not saying that everything I did was right, but everything I did was for an honorable purpose."
"I had to do some nasty things, locking fellows up without trial."
Still sometimes this obsessive micromanaging of society spilled over into cartoonishness.
Under Lee's tightly controlled rule, the specific types of trees that could be planted by roadsides were mandated and the government even set up its own dating agencies to try and get high quality graduates to reproduce.
More seriously, an aggressive drive to stop families having more than two kids was so successful that it badly damaged the birth rate leading to an ongoing demographic crisis.
So yeah, if you're used to Europe or America's focus on individual freedoms life under Lee, it probably would have seemed stifling a democratic hero he certainly was not.
Yet Lee never really claimed to be a democrat.
He was always clear-eyed about what he wanted to achieve via his soft authoritarianism and the results speak for themselves.
In Lee's time in power, Singapore's life expectancy increased by 10 years.
Literacy levels skyrocketed, GDP per capita went from relatively low to among the highest on the planet.
While the nation he constructed would be one many outsiders found oppressive.
William Gibson famously dubbed it Disneyland with the death penalty.
It was also one in which its citizens were both extremely safe and often extremely uncomfortable.
But perhaps Lee's cleverest move would have come at the end of his rule.
Rather than simply staying in power until he died like most authoritarians, he did something that helped prepare this tightly controlled society for life without him.
He willingly stepped down.