When I was young, my dad hardly watched TV. The only time he did was when Mr Lee Kuan Yew was giving his national day speech. My dad turned up the volume and we had to be quiet. I wondered who this man was, who spoke with such power, and whom my dad revered. My parents went through the war and the Japanese occupation and they will forever be staunch supporters of the PAP and Mr Lee.
It was quite different for me. I was born into a generation which took much for granted. Over the years, controversial headlines in the newspapers left me with a different opinion of the government as that of my parents, and it was hard to shake off the fearsome image of Mr Lee.
This past week, as I followed the articles in The Straits Times, I was enlightened by the personal sharings from our ministers and many world leaders. I was ashamed that I knew so little about the history of a man so pivotal to the transformation of our nation.
|Photo: Ministry of Communications and Information
The article by our current Education Minister, Mr Heng Swee Keat on Mr Lee’s ‘red box’ was a real eye-opener. Mr Heng was his principal private secretary from 1997 – 2000. We have heard about the policies he had implemented and how he has taken us from third world to first. But here was finally an account of how he worked.
Such discipline. Even when he was in his 70s and 80s. And here I am, begrudging the fact that I am over-worked and have no time for myself. How self-indulgent. He makes me want to squeeze more life out of my days and to set the bar higher. To be the best that I can be, in my own capacity.
I also liked the tribute written by Mr Bilahari Kausikan, former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He says of Mr Lee:
What legacy do we want to leave for our children, our grandchildren, and for those around us?
If we dare to dream big dreams, have the dedication and determination to see it through, put our hearts and souls into making the world a better place for ourselves and our fellow Singaporeans, I’m sure our nation will not just survive in the next 50 years, but thrive.
Here’s a round-up of tributes from our community of mummy bloggers.