Goodbye to the great Mr Lee Kwan Yew

Sunday, March 29, 2015

It's been rather quiet on this space. For a reason -- Death. 

Death. It is feared by many and celebrated as much as life itself by others. Yet, it is a quintessential part of cultural life, not just a personal affair but a communal one. Just over the weekend, Singapore, a little red dot, mourned the death of one of its greatest leaders, the founding father of Singapore -- Mr Lee Kwan Yew,who passed away on 23rd March 2015 at the age of 91. There was much grieving and reflecting as people paid tribute to this great man. A 7-day national mourning was declared. While death is a topic largely avoided by most, Mr lee's death was the topic of the town. Everywhere on social media, his quotes, photos and stories were mushrooming. What really struck me was his tenacity towards life, his love towards his wife and his loyalty towards his people. Low crime rate and general orderliness in Singapore society would appear to bear testimony to the effectiveness of his rule. It was also the first time I read and saw pictures of the interior of his house and was appalled that despite being so wealthy, the decorations were so humble.

Above all, what really drew me to read on was his love and dedication towards his wife. I'm a hopeless romantic. However, the hubs isn't one who will quite reciprocate in the same way as I do. This is completely different in the royal love story where Mr Lee's love for his wife was evident in his daily life. He was a great husband who spent every evening, at least 2 hours, reading her favourite poems during her remaining days. Madam Kwa Geok Choo was more than just the woman behind LKY. She was a woman who silently gave her all to the nation and her family. Back then, she was the only female student in Raffles College in Singapore and crossed path with Mr Lee. They stated off as competitors but ended up as lovers. Classic isn't it? Kindof like how it was like for the hub and I. I hated his guts back then. Moving on, Mdm Kwa was a good Asian wife, walking two steps behind her husband. She was more than a wife, she was also Mr Lee's confidante and adviser. When she suffered her first stroke, Mr Lee took care of her complicated medication regime, measured her blood pressure several times a day, and meticulously picking up the food which she dropped. Mdm Kwa passed on after being bedridden for 2 years. That was Singapore's very own royal love story. While Mr Lee had been courageous and resolute in pursuing his dream and love, much has been credited to Mdm Kwa whose consistent rational and emotional support were his driving force. They are truly a model couple. Mr Lee might had  been critisized for his ways in politics. however, I'm sure it is without any argument that he was and still is a role model for husbands. With his demise, he can now be reunited with her in another realm.

29th March. It was the day the world sent Mr Lee on his last journey. Singaporeans lined the streets in salute as his casket went past the street. A grand funeral which no other man in Singapore ever had. That day, the heavens opened and rain was beating hard on this little red dot which Mr Lee played an instrumental role in building. The throbbing sadness was palpable. From dull, monotonous gray drizzle to fast and furious raindrops, the sky seemed to be making a tonal melody that matched the mood of many Singaporeans. His dedication for his country was evident in the respect garnered by the people who queued for as long as 8 hours just to enter the Parliament house to pay their last respects. Listening to his children deliver their eulogies, I too, shed an uncontrollable tear. I tried explaining to Big K about the passing of this great man. I told her Mr Lee is now watching us from above. And she replied,"He's in heaven?" I told her without this man, Singapore wouldn't be who she is today..We wouldn't have MRT to sit on or schools to go to. Then Big K continued," We wouldn't have playgrounds to go to and no house to stay." Wow! She seemed to understand what i said! A 3.5year old comprehending the impact that LKY made in our lives! I feel very blessed indeed that I'm born in this country I call home and am deeply thankful for this great man who built it. 

Thank you Mr Lee! #rememberingLKY