A volatile mix
Mr Lee came face to face with the Chinese-educated world when he was approached to represent Chinese middle school students who had rioted against the National Service Ordinance, on 13 May 1954.
The Chinese-educated were shunned by the colonial authorities who favoured the English-educated. They lacked economic opportunity and felt dispossessed. This turned Chinese schools into breeding grounds for the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) and its affiliated open front organisations like the Anti-British League.
Impressed by their dedication and discipline, Mr Lee quickly recognised the potential of Chinese middle school students.