Today, Singapore bid it’s final farewell to its’ first Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Love him or hate him, we all can’t help but respect him and what he has done for our country. After battling with pneumonia for more than a month, Mr Lee passed on early in the morning hours of 23rd March.
Mr Lee was a typical Southeast-Asian leader. He did what he had to do, and he did it well. Yet he did controversial things too. However I’ve come to realise that, while anyone of that day could have achieved what he had done, HE was the one who did it. And that is why I respect him.
He is not just revered by Singaporeans alone, there were several foreign dignitaries who attended the State Funeral today. Former US president Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger, the Indian, Japanese, Australian Prime Ministers, Governor-generals and the Chinese Vice-president were present, among others. Condolences and accolades poured in from all corners of the word. A day of national mourning was also announced in India and New-Zealand as well. This is a testament of how respected he is.
I shan’t go into the details, for I leave it to history to decide the extent of his achievements and mistakes. But I respect the man. There is a chinese saying, which translated says: The first generation builds up wealth, the second generation maintains it, and the third squanders it. I really feel sorry that you had to see this, Mr Lee.
I too stood in line in the wet rain, watching as your procession went past. I saw the many Singaporeans who were kind, handing out ponchos and closing their umbrellas to let those behind see, giving space for the young children to see. I didn’t see anything ugly. I only saw love, love that has been stifled by online dissent, love that hasn’t surfaced in a long time.
Love you or hate you, we all can’t help but respect you.
Rest in peace, Sir.