Not only do netizens don’t appreciate this comparison, but I don’t think MM would appreciate the comparison either.
MM is a believer in realpoltik, the art of the possible. He would be comfortable being associated the legalism strand of Chinese philosophy. Mandela is an idealist. He aims for the impossible, and sometimes gets it to the consternation of those who are cynical or skeptical or fans of the All Blacks.
Example: Rugby is a religion to the white Afrikaan tribe. And the greatest rival to the SA Springboks is the NZ All Blacks. In 1994, the rugby world cup was held in South Africa. The black South Africans were planning to cheer on the ABs, because they wanted the Springboks to lose. The Boks were a symbol of everything they hated about the white Afrikaans who had until very recently oppressed them.
But then Mandela wore a Bok jersey and visited the Boks. He said the Boks were South African. The blacks swung behind the Boks and the Boks upset the ABs. The Afrikaans were grateful to Mandela and the black majority for supporting the Boks to victory. And the racial wars that many predicted didn’t happen.
Even his most devoted acolytes would admit that MM could not pull this off.
No, LKY would, I think, like to be compared with the likes of Richard Nixon (the statesman who opened China to the West and initiated détente with the USSR, not the president who resigned in disgrace over Watergate), Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiopeng and Henry Kissinger. Men who were pragmatists, not idealists.
Be afraid, very afraid Cheo. MM does not like dumb flattery. I’ve heard of foreign tycoons being told off when the flattery they lavished on him rubbed him the wrong way.