3.24.2015

Letter to Sons : Remembering Mr Lee Kuan Yew



'I have spent my life, so much of it, building up this country. There's nothing more that I need to do. At the end of the day, what have I got? A successful Singapore. What have I given up? My life.' - See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/pm-lee-grieved-beyond-words-mr-lee-kuan-yews-death-20150#sthash.3zRSfhRq.dpuf
'I have spent my life, so much of it, building up this country. There's nothing more that I need to do. At the end of the day, what have I got? A successful Singapore. What have I given up? My life.' - See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/pm-lee-grieved-beyond-words-mr-lee-kuan-yews-death-20150#sthash.3zRSfhRq.dpuf
'I have spent my life, so much of it, building up this country. There's nothing more that I need to do. At the end of the day, what have I got? A successful Singapore. What have I given up? My life.' - See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/pm-lee-grieved-beyond-words-mr-lee-kuan-yews-death-20150#sthash.3zRSfhRq.dpuf
'I have spent my life, so much of it, building up this country. There's nothing more that I need to do. At the end of the day, what have I got? A successful Singapore. What have I given up? My life.' - See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/pm-lee-grieved-beyond-words-mr-lee-kuan-yews-death-20150#sthash.3zRSfhRq.dpuf
Dearest Sons

This week we bid farewell to the one that once stood head and shoulders above all Singaporeans.
His name is Harry Lee Kuan Yew. Born in Singapore on September 16 1923. He lived till a ripe old age of 91. He took his last breath on March 23rd 3:18am.

Today you would probably not know him as your father did. The only time when you had been in his presence was during the National Day celebration at the floating platform last year. It was my first and only time as well. Though our encounter with him was fleeting, it was met with raucous response that was reserved for one that was revered. This was a moment of nationalistic pride for us as we celebrated the birthday of our nation with the architect that build it.

Building a nation, no matter how small, is no easy feat. I had witnessed the growth since my existence in this tiny red dot. Singapore today had grown from a inconspicuous city with no resources to an envied metropolis of the East. Her popularity spread and today we attract talents from all over the world. Many had reasoned that a man cannot be credited for what we are today. It is a collective team effort, it is the people and it is not about one man.

I do not fully agreed.

People forget that whatever success we had achieved as a nation, we need a strong leader to bring us through the right path. A leader makes the decisions and set the direction the team will take. To our blessings, we found a great one in Mr Lee. Just take a look around you. We have economic, political and most important racial stability. We may have quirks like high property prices and COE that made cars ridiculously expensive, but we cannot deny that most have a roof over our head,roads are uncongested and the existence of an efficient public transportation. Add clean streets, low crime rates, a garden city and you have a truely liveable place. These are elements that we undervalued as basic needs where many countries deemed as luxury. Our infrastructure, our bones that made Singapore is the envy of many aboard. The land we call home is where she is today because of the vision and tenacity of one man.

I am not going to give you a history lesson of what Mr Lee had achieved in his lifetime. You would probably learn that as part of your educational process as you grow older. As a young country celebrating her 50th birthday this year, the future ahead is indeed uncertain. At least we know it has a strong foundation, build on steel by an iron fist. This is a far cry from the wooden stilts that we had when we started as a fishing village as Singapura and more sturdy than the rocks when we took our first step as a young nation as Singapore. Not many gave us a chance, but one man decided that we should give ourselves one. This is the legacy of Mr Lee, he became the cornerstone of Singapore.

As time passes, many views will emerge about the man. Some delightful, some polarizing, some truth, some lies. As history is written by victors, should leadership changes hands in the future, the man whom I known today will not be the same tomorrow. Whom he is to be in the future is not important. What he had done for us in the past is something history cannot erase. This is in our history of Singapore. It is something that you should not forget.

This week we mourn in our own ways the passing of Singapore’s finest, the founding father of the nation. Not all are agreeable to his ways. But one cannot deny that through the passage of time, his ways had been proven to have more rights than wrongs. It is akin to our relationship as Father and sons. You may not agree to all the things I say or even like it when you were scolded; but at the end of the day, we are still family. The actions and deeds I had undertaken are borne out of love and necessity. There are choices to be made and they are not always popular. As our founding father, Mr Lee had to do the same. Divisions will be multifold given the number of 'children' he had to look after.

"If Singapore is a nanny state, then I’m proud to have fostered one." ("From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000″)

Today I am proud to be a Singaporean. No matter where I travel, I always look forward to coming home. More importantly, I feel blessed to share this safe and beautiful home with my family. For these, I am indebted to the man that made it possible. I do hope you will wear the same pride on your sleeve when you become men.

Alas, there is a possibility that you may not share the same sentiments as me. As you grow up, you would probably have your own opinions shape from the numerous sources that might sway your views. I understand that. You have not lived through the formative years of a young Singapore as I had done, thus you may not share the same feelings. Nonetheless, if the 'future you' choose to reflect and are thankful of your roots, remember this man.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
Lovingly yours
Dad


TheWackyDuo.com will be taking a moment of silence as a mark of respect till 28 March.



2 comments:

  1. You got your history wrong. We weren't a fishing village when the late Lee Kuan Yew took office as PM. We were among the most developed at that time in this region. Singapore was an entrepot - which re-exported supplies to other countries - and the British colonial masters had done a pretty good job of developing Singapore as a cross-road for trade and commercial centre. If we had been a fishing village can you explain the many pre-war terrace houses all over the island at that time - Chinatown, Joo Chiat, Katong, Geylang etc. Many of which still stand today and still used as residences or converted into commercial use including as hotels. By all means educated the young, but just make sure you get your facts right.

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    1. 'This is a far cry from the wooden stilts that we had when we started as a fishing village and more sturdy than the rocks when we took our first step as a young nation'

      Dear Gary , thanks for your comments. Modern Singapore/Temasek was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819. At that time Singapore was a mere fishing village. By the time Mr Lee took over in 1965, we are already a young nation build on rocks. I did not get my history wrong, you probably misread the letter. It will be great if you clarify rather than stating I got my history wrong. The British had done a good job in developing Singapore but it will never be what it is today. I believe it is the vision and tenacity of Mr Lee that bought us here. Through him, we progressed as a nation, as free men, as Singaporeans and not as a colonized nation. That will be my message to my children.

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