Saturday, March 28, 2015

Paying Tribute to Lee Kuan Yew

On Monday (23 March 2015), everyone in Singapore woke up with a very very sad news. Our founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, passed away in the early morning at the age 91. We were more or less prepared because for the past 2 weeks, the government gave constant updates of his detoriating health condition as he was warded in SGH. But when it happened, feelings are different. The Monday was gloomy and everyone on the commute were pretty silent. 

So as i sit here by my computer after 9.5hours of waiting to pay my last respect to him in the Parliament house earlier, i try to recall all that i am thankful for. I will try to type as fast and as clear as possible but forgive me if i am not as i have not slept for the past 24hours. 

I am thankful for all the volunteers around the Parliament area keeping everything in order. The sponsors who gave biscuits, breads, drinks, cold apples, wet wipes etc were awesome too. Everything worked hand in hand to make our wait a more memorable one. As i sat in the Padang for almost 6 hours looking around and observing all the people around me, i felt WHOLE. I have never seen a Singapore so united before. No one was complaining and people were nice, really nice. There were non-Singaporeans too. Some seem to be general workers and there was a single Caucasian in the queue as well. Different groups started to make friends with each other and the time passed more quickly than ever.

The queue to enter the Parliament stated on Wednesday morning and it has continuously continued for 3 days... This is definitely a record which i am not sure if it had happened to any country before. This record will go down into our history books or might even be on the Guinness World Record.

This Q made me realise "Wow, Singaporeans can be patient, can be kind, can be gracious.". If you don't know Singaporeans, we are pretty good at complaining. Haha! We will complain when transportations break down, we will complaint when prices increase and we will complain when there is a overcrowding etc. When i experience the 6 hours sitting down waiting at Padang, i felt it was torturous. Then when i had a non-stop walk for 3 hours at a slow speed, stopping here and there, that's when it was the worst. Backache and shoulder ache because I had to stand still and walk in small steps. When i got to the coffin and made my bow, my back and heart lightened up and i felt a sense of relief. Thank you, Mr Lee for everything.

Singapore has grown a lot and we will be celebrating our 50th National Day this year. Without LKY around, this celebration will definitely be different. Because he led us out to independence and he built the foundation of this country, His methods might not have been agreeable by everyone and people might say that we had lost our freedom through PAP, but i don't think so. Our gains definitely outweighed the loss. Without his strict leadership, Singapore would be still a 3rd World country and we would not be so many things. Singapore has a magnificent Garden By The Bay, Parks and green buildings around the sunny island because he believed in a Garden City concept. Singaporeans are able to speak 2 languages and English being the master language to communicate with so many people out there because he knew it was important in the long term. Singapore is a Multi Racial country and we can accept different "skin" people because this is the Singaporean Singapore LKY envisioned to built. Lastly, we can go out late for drinks and supper without looking over our shoulder when it is late at night because he built a safe city for us to live in. He always had a long vision.

I am proud to hold a Singapore passport and give thanks that i have an easy way travelling in and out of overseas countries without hassle. Our red passport with the crest hold so much value for a small country like us.

His contributions are not boosted by Singaporeans on the internet but other countries recognise it too. As a Singaporean, i am thankful for so many ministers and presidents for coming down to our small red dot to pay tribute to LKY. Greater gratitudes are given to India and New Zealand for having a half-mast flag on Sunday too. Singapore citizens will cry this Sunday and it is comforting to know that someone out there is here for us. 

9 hours of wait is nothing. Until the age of 91, he still continued his duties as a mentor to give advise to the politician. He gave his life and as i Queue and wanting to give up, i just have a thought in mind "Keep going. This is nothing as compared to the years that he had given up. This is really the best i can do." So here i am, proud to say that i have teared for him, visited him and wrote my personal thoughts and gratitude towards him. Lastly, i will send him off tomorrow (Sunday) during his State funeral before cremation.

Tomorrow, Singapore will stand as one. More united than ever. And more powerful to move on with life from next Monday onwards.


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