Trial and tribulations set by Mr Lee Kuan Yew

Jes 2 Comments

I have resisted writing about Mr Lee Kuan Yew as there are so many great articles on him and I can't beat this article about the opposition's daughter and this poignant Mr Brown's story. I was touched by the many tributes and eulogies but I can't contribute as I have not had any personal encounters with him.

I can only provide observations - I think this past week was Mr LKY's ultimate tests for all Singaporeans.

Test of strength

A queue of 8 to 10 hours just to pay the last respects to our founder has not deterred Singaporeans from showing up at the Parliament House. These hours are during weekdays and most times, over the night. I have not heard anyone complaining about having to wait, but rather, many were enthusiastic about going to send Mr LKY off and thank him for his life's contribution to improve this city drastically within 50 years.

Test of unity

Queueing a few hours is no joke and it is a long way to get to the toilets. Everyone will get hungry, thirsty and exhausted but thanks to helpful Singaporeans, many contributed from their own pockets and others came to help out to distribute drinks and food and umbrellas. Many companies also donated food and gave time off for employees to pay their tribute. The mood was sombre and serious and sad but yet we were glad that Mr LKY led a long and fulfilling life. He got what we wanted and so did we.
Test of faith

Many came to wrote about how they got to understand Mr LKY's decisions better and why he did what he did in his time. All was impressed by his foresight and relentless pursuit for the good of this little country. Those who have voted the opposition party the last election have come to a better understanding of our governing party and their policies. He could even inspire after his passing and will continue to inspire for many generations to come. The foreigners who talked about oppression and free speech? Shut up and read this. It was the first time the dissent voices are rare and few while the supportive people are speaking out.
"If Singapore is a nanny state, then I am proud to have fostered one." -Lee Kuan Yew
"Anybody who decides to take me on needs to put on knuckle-dusters. If you think you can hurt me more than I can hurt you, try." -Lee Kuan Yew
Test of resilience
Everyone anticipated the Funeral March on Sunday to be crowded and squeezy. What I did not expect was that the heavens poured for Mr LKY and blended with the tears of many. The rain was unexpectedly heavy and the strong winds made waiting an ardous task. Nobody complained about the situation even though Singaporeans are know to be excellent 'complaint kings'. It was just a short 10 seconds glimpse but everyone chose to be wet, cold and miserable and patiently waited to accompany Mr LKY on his final journey.

Test of cohesiveness

People came together and helped out one another. Some shared their umbrellas with the volunteers and military personnel. Some lowered their umbrellas so people standing at the back could see, even though they will be wet from the rain. A grandma insisted on kneeling in the rain to give thanks. Many more smiles than the usual were exchanged as everyone knew we all came together for the same purpose: To honour Mr LKY.

There was a time when people said that Singapore won't make it. But we did. We have defied the odds due to Mr LKY's leadership and we will continue to do so as his legacy lives on. For these last tests set by Mr LKY, I think Singaporeans have really exceeded expectations this time and he would be pleased to know that his passing has garnered such strong emotional response and support.

I have always been proud to be a Singaporean, but this is etched in my memory as my proudest moment. 


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  1. Replies
    1. Hi Jimmy,

      You are very kind... thank you for the compliment and have a nice week ahead!