23 March 2015 marked the end of an era for Singapore.
Mr Lee Kuan Yew passed away peacefully at the Singapore General Hospital today at 0318 hours and as I pen down this post, I can’t help but be overwhelmed with sadness when I sang the National Anthem, took the National Pledge, and observed the State Flag flying at half mast this morning.
Image Credits to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
I may not know Mr Lee Kuan Yew personally but what I do know is that he has made a big difference in the lives of every Singaporean. He dared to do what others wouldn’t and he totally transformed Singapore in a short span of time. What is remarkable about Mr Lee Kuan Yew is that he believes in doing what is the right thing to do; even if it is an unfavourable thing to do.
In a matter of decades, Singapore has emerged from a rural backwater island and evolved into a bustling economic powerhouse. Despite Singapore’s lack of natural resources, the country now stands proud as one of Asia’s Tigers and this leap from third world to first can be attributed to one man – Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
Singapore’s Prime Minister Address to the Nation Regarding the Passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew
Truly, we will never forget the great things that Mr Lee Kuan Yew has done for the nation and as all of us mourn over his passing for a week, let us also take a step back and reflect on how far Singapore has come if not for Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
Photo by Tara Sosrowardoyo, National Museum of Singapore Collection
Mr Lee Kuan Yew, you will always be remembered. Thank you for giving up your life to building Singapore. :'(
“As he himself put it, towards the end of his life, and I quote: ‘I have spent my life, so much of it, building up this country. There’s nothing more that I need to do. At the end of the day, what have I got? A successful Singapore. What have I given up? My life.'” – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, during an address to the Nation at 8am this morning
The Discovery Channel [StarHub Channel #422] will be airing a one-hour special on 24 March 2015 at 9pm that celebrates Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s life and chronicles some of his greatest achievements. The tribute, “FATHER OF A NATION: LEE KUAN YEW” will document the story of how one man survived World War 2, took on the British Empire, struggled for independence, and fought for the people and country that he loved.
Some Notable Quotes of Mr Lee Kuan Yew
“This country belongs to all of us. We made this country from nothing, from mud-flats… Over 100 years ago, this was a mud-flat, swamp. Today, this is a modern city. Ten years from now, this will be a metropolis. Never fear!” Mr Lee Kuan Yew at a grassroots event in Sembawang in September 1965.
“If I tell Singaporeans – we are all equal regardless of race, language, religion, culture. Then they will say,”Look, I’m doing poorly. You are responsible.” But I can show that from British times, certain groups have always done poorly, in mathematics and in science. But I’m not God, I can’t change you. But I can encourage you, give you extra help to make you do, say maybe, 20% better.”
– Lee Kuan Yew, Success Stories, 2002
“What I fear is complacency. When things always become better, people tend to want more for less work.” Speech at the 10th Anniversary Celebrations of the Jalan Tenteram Community Centre, 27th June 1970 Lee Kuan Yew in his own words, 1959-1970
On fashion: “I’m not interested in changing either my suit or my car or whatver with every change in fashion. That’s irrelevant. I don’t judge myself or my friends by their fashions. Of course, I don’t approve of people who are sloppy and unnecessarily shabby or dishevelled… But I’m not impressed by a $5,000 or $10,000 Armani suit.” 1995, The Wit & Wisdom of Lee Kuan Yew