As you probably know, i am a Singaporean and the past week has been a rather sad week for us Singaporeans. On the 23rd of March at 0318 hrs, we lost one of our founding fathers, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. I know that this is a rather touchy topic but i feel that it is important for me to voice my opinion on the issue.
Since February, Mr Lee Kuan Yew had been hospitalized for (from my knowledge of the situation) pnemonia and since then, the Prime Minister’s Office had been releasing statements regarding Mr Lee’s situation. At some point in March, Mr Lee’s health began to deteriorate and many Singaporeans began to send in their well wishes, hoping that Mr Lee would make a speedy recovery. Some people on the other hand, criticized Mr Lee and the actions he took during his leadership. However, the situation continued to go downhill until Mr Lee sadly passed away on the 23rd.
Since his passing, thousands of Singaporeans have sent in messages to pay tribute to Mr Lee, some of which are posted on the Remembering Lee Kuan Yew website. An orchid species has also been named after Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
I personally feel that it is important for Singaporeans to understand what Mr Lee has done for our country and how significant the changes he made during his leadership are to us today. We are very fortunate to be able to transition from a third world country to a first world country and without Mr Lee and his team, we wouldn’t have been able to do so.
But I’m not here to prove to you that Mr Lee was a great man who did great things. (If you want proof, look out of your window. That’s proof.) I’m here to offer my opinion on how things went during the past few days.
Please note that these are my opinions which may differ from others.
The fact that Singaporeans still remain united during this period of extreme grief is very heartening. I think that the late Mr Lee would have been very pleased to see that Singaporeans, behind our busy, seemingly mindless selves, still remain united as one.
But that is the very thing i find weird.
If Mr Lee did not pass away, would none of this have happened? Thousands of Singaporeans thanking him for his service to the nation. If he hadn’t passed away, how many of those people would have thanked him for his service? Personally i am an atheist, i do not believe in the afterlife. Why do we wait until that person cannot hear us anymore before we give thanks to him/her? Even if you do believe in the afterlife, what if it doesn’t exist? You can only hope it exists. Why do we not thank him while he can still hear our thanks and see our messages? This does not only apply to Mr Lee but practically every single famous person who has passed? The famous suicide of Amanda Todd, why did everyone wait for her to commit suicide before saying she was beautiful? We should thank these great people while they are still alive. All of these people left this world without ever hearing the thousands of people thanking them, cheering them on. I feel that this situation shows us that we need to show our thanks and cherish those who are still alive. Crude as it may sound, there is no point waiting until someone is on their deathbed before telling them how thankful you are for their help or for their mere existence. Cherish the time you have left with these people, if you feel that you haven’t been thanking your grandparents enough, it doesn’t have to be a word of thanks, actions speak louder than words. Make them a cake, a nice meal or do something nice for them on their birthday. Don’t wait any longer, you don’t have the time to wait.
But yes, we must acknowledge that Mr Lee was a great leader who played a HUGE role in Singapore’s development. Several people have been criticizing Mr Lee’s decisions while he was in power. I feel that even if we disagree with anyone’s decisions, we shouldn’t be criticizing them while they are on their deathbed. Several people have also remarked that these people are not grateful for what they have today. I partially agree with that. Singapore has been sort of a miracle. We somehow managed to turn from a third world country to a first world country, not an easy feat especially with all the problems that arose during that period. Several other countries are trying to escape the third world status but Mr Lee managed to actually pull us out of that situation.
Now that Mr Lee has passed, i hope that Singapore will continue to develop further. This is what i believe Mr Lee would want to see.
“Even from my sickbed, even if you are going to lower me to the grave and I feel that something is going wrong, I will get up.”
-Mr Lee Kuan Yew
He will get up for his spirit lives on within all of us.