Eulogy: Lee Kuan Yew
The past week has been an emotional one for the people of Singapore. Much was expressed over social media – both good and bad. For us, we receive the news of the passing Lee Kuan Yew with a heavy heart.
We remember Lee Kuan Yew for his tenacity and courage, his brilliant policies and governance to bring Singapore from the slums of the 50s and 60s to modernity. As a young Singaporean that did not see the hardship of the Japanese occupation and the days of the riots, it would be easy for me to take for granted the peace and security that we have today. Post-war, Lee was one person that recognised that groups within Singapore had to stop fighting in order for the nation to progress, and he did what it took to ensure that happened.
While studying about Singapore governance back in school, we use to joke about how Singapore is not a country – it is a company run by economists. Policies that were birthed by these economists would then favour the economy of Singapore, allowed cash to flow into Singapore, and of course allow businesses to thrive. Lee was worried about jobs, about ensuring our parents had enough in their pockets to live comfortably in Singapore. So, they trained people to be valuable members of the workforce, so that the country would be ready for investments. This line of policy-making over the years have evolved to what we now experience as the policies that benefit small local businesses. Extending beyond just government grants and international diplomacy in action, the administration also had a hand in influencing the local banks and other institutions to favour the survival of entrepreneurs in Singapore. Thanks to the efforts of Lee and his team, today’s local arena has very strong infrastructure in areas like trade, transportations, communications, international recognition, and finance. With these resources and foundations in place, it makes Singapore and singaporeans robust, and more able to overcome trying times, especially for businesses like ours.
Lee’s team was fearless, and so was he. Together, they rallied and built the foundation of Singapore ground up with a strong conviction in his belief that no one owes Singapore a living. This team though, was built during the era where our forefathers faced hardship that allowed people to rally behind one man for the progress of the nation. With the passing of Lee Kuan Yew, we hope for another legacy to be in the making, but we wonder if there ever will be.
Dear Mr Lee Kuan Yew,
Thank you for having the vision and for building the foundation for the people of my generation. We may not agree entirely with how you did it (cue political detainees and hijab restrictions), but the results of what you wanted to achieve are clear. Thank you for having the courage and for fighting tooth and nail for Singapore. With your passing, we will remember the quotes you leave behind.
“Whoever that governs in Singapore must have that iron in him, or give it up. This is not a game of cards, this is your life and mine. I spent my whole life building this. And as long as I’m in charge, no one is going to knock it down.”
– Lee Kuan Yew
With much respect,