Lee Kuan Yew’s most memorable quotes

Photographer | Collection | Getty Images

The founding father of modern Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew is credited with turning a "little red dot" on the map into a gleaming global metropolis.

Singapore's first and longest serving prime minister died on Sunday at age 91, at a local hospital.

Read MoreSingapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew dies

A visionary thinker and transformational leader, he was widely regarded as one the most influential political figures in Asia.

Lee was also known as a captivating orator, commanding the attention of those around him. He was not one to mince his words.

Here are some of his most memorable quotes from different points of his career as prime minister, senior minister and finally minister mentor.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew shakes hands with French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac at Matignon in Paris, July 2, 1972.
Photographer | Collection | Getty Images
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew shakes hands with French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac at Matignon in Paris, July 2, 1972.

The eternal statesman:

"Even from my sickbed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel that something is going wrong, I will get up. Those who believe that after I have left the government as prime minister, I will go into a permanent retirement really should have their heads examined."

—National Day Rally of 1988, two years before he stepped down as prime minister.

On micromanagement:

"I am often accused of interfering in the private lives of citizens. Yes, if I did not, had I not done that, we wouldn't be here today. And I say without the slightest remorse, that we wouldn't be here, we would not have made economic progress, if we had not intervened on very personal matters—who your neighbor is, how you live, the noise you make, how you spit, or what language you use. We decide what is right. Never mind what the people think."

—National Day Rally of 1986.

The label of 'nanny state':

"If Singapore is a nanny state, then I'm proud to have fostered one."

—"From Third World to First: The Singapore Story - 1965-2000," written by Lee and published in 2000.

CNBC 25: How Singapore has changed since 1989
How Singapore has changed since 1989   

On fostering relationships:

"At the end of the day, what I cherish most are the human relationships. With the unfailing support of my wife and partner I have lived my life to the fullest. It is the friendships I made and the close family ties I nurtured that have provided me with that sense of satisfaction at a life well lived, and have made me what I am."

—A speech in 2003.

PC? No way:

"I always tried to be correct, not politically correct."

—"'From Third World to First: The Singapore Story."

Marriage advice:

"So when the graduate man does not want to marry a graduate woman, I tell him he's a fool, stupid. You marry a non-graduate, you're going to have problems, some children bright, some not bright. You'll be tearing your hair out. you can't miss."

—"Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going," written by Lee and published in 2011.

A man views a Lee Kuan Yew stainless steel wire mesh installation by South Korean artist Park Seung Mo during Art Stage Singapore 2015.
Photographer | Collection | Getty Images
A man views a Lee Kuan Yew stainless steel wire mesh installation by South Korean artist Park Seung Mo during Art Stage Singapore 2015.

His place in Madame Tussauds:

"When I visited Madame Tussauds as a student in the 1940s … there were two groups of figures: the famous and the notorious, either British kings and famous leaders, or notorious murderers. I hope Madame Tussauds will not put my likeness too close to the notorious."

—"The Wit & Wisdom of Lee Kuan Yew," a collection of his quotes published in 2013.

On his legacy:

"I'm no longer in active politics. It's irrelevant to me what young Singaporeans think of me. What they think of me after I'm dead and gone in one generation will be determined by researchers who do PhDs on me, right? So there will be a lot of revisionism. As people revised Stalin, Brezhnev and one day now Yeltsin, and later on Putin. I've lived long enough to know that you may be idealized in life and reviled after you're dead."

— "Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going."