Archive for March, 2015



This is my tribute and my words of gratitude for Singapore’s First Prime Minister who passed away peacefully on 23 March 2015, 3:18am.

Through the past 6 days of national mourning (with tomorrow being the last), we have not only seen a more-than-united Singapore as hundreds of thousands of citizens queue in wait at the Parliament House to pay their last respects to the founding father of the place we call home, but also parts of the world who mourn for his passing.

The world and, without a trace of doubt, Singapore have lost a man of honor, of rooted conviction, of steadfastness, of principles, of foresight and of passion. His years of toil towards the country since the independence of Singapore and how this little red dot transformed tremendously in a brief period of 50 years are undeniably remarkable. Of course, he was a man who would credit his pioneering team for being there with him through the thick and thin, the blood and sweat, the tears and joy, the happiness and disappointment, and the successes and failures throughout the years.

Some of his comrades took their leave ahead of him and so did his one most beloved lifelong companion, his wife, the late Madam Kwa Geok Choo. Now Mr Lee takes his leave.

I remember going to sleep with a heavy heart on Monday morning at 5am in the morning after some late night studying, upon learning the news of his demise. I had difficulties falling asleep. Even though I eventually did, I woke up teary and empty hours later.

I had no actual real-life interaction with him. My memories are limited to history books, social studies, internet pictures and texts, etc. But such emptiness was somehow felt by many citizens, young, veteran and old, who, I believe, in the same way have probably never spoken to him in their entire lives. It was profound. I could not find an explanation to the uncontrollable flood of the eyes as thoughts of the impact of his actions and words overwhelmed the mind. Those who grew up together with him through the 50s, 60s and even 70s, I cannot say I know the pain and sorrow your hearts are weeping out. Much less for his family members. I feel only but a fraction of that grief.

Here I would like to quote the Singapore Pledge as a reminder of his vision:

We, the Citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people. regardless of race, language or religion, to build a democratic society, based on justice and equality, so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation.

I have intentionally bold certain words, which I believe was what Mr. Lee built this tiny nation upon.

Recalling an article I read on within the week about George Yeo’s reflections about Mr Lee, I felt the last one was something impressionable. Circumspice (Latin for: Look around)

You can read the article here: Reflections by Ex-Foreign Minister George Yeo that reveals his true feelings about Lee Kuan Yew

His actions were controversial, as many have put it. There are times we may not have agreed at all with his style of leadership and his multitude of decisions. We opposed, we complained and we criticised irresponsibly. But I challenge you today and the days ahead, to put a hold on that impetuous impulse to blame irrationally and look all around you again.

Had he not go ahead and executed/implemented those necessary evils, will we truly have had the basic necessities, which we seemingly take for granted in this 21st century, so easily within our reach? I shudder imagine rolling back time and think about a today of which all our honorable forefathers are not in the social studies textbooks.

We are all humans. We want to succeed, in whatever we set our goals at. But because we are only humans, we can err and we will err. Mr Lee always kept a macro-view of matters in relation to the nation and its global neighbours, but never neglected the micro-issues within the boundaries of this island. And because the nation was disproportionately distributed by the type of immigrants we had in the early days, the only way to forge a root on this new ground was to stay united as one. And he did it. Bonds were formed among the diverse ethnic communities and I imagined the sight of those simple joys to be truly heartwarming.

Of all his traits I honor most, was his belief in values and being deeply entrenched in them. His high regard for moral integrity never wavered. I cannot say the same for today’s leaders. But from one person, who holds zero tolerance for the disregard of ethics, morals and guiding principles, to another, he has my salute and utmost respect. There is no other way for me to emphasise how morals, values and ethics are becoming rare invaluable gems in today’s society. And being able to stand resolute by them, to me, befits the highest honor.

He will go down in history, being a remarkable man, or whichever other light, be it good or bad, others would want to put him in. He would care less about it anyway. His legacy will live on, in the hearts of many Singaporeans and global citizens whom he have touched. I, too, hope that his legacy extends beyond the hearts of these people and into their daily actions.

Don’t be afraid to dream big and go big. But be sure to honor the moral values you have set in place. Or you will face your conscience on your day of reckoning.

Thank you Mr Lee Kuan Yew. May you rest in peace.
God bless and surround you in His abundance of grace.