This week has been a life changing week for me. And I believe it is the same for all Singaporeans. Our founding father Mr. Lee Kuan Yew passed away on 23 March 2015, 3:18am.
The media have been broadcasting documentaries about him, his powerful speeches, his tireless work, his decisive actions, his undying passion for Singapore, his vision and leadership, what people say about him, etc. It was like the whole history lesson of Singapore and Mr. Lee presented in high dosage.
It just struck me that this Singapore we have, this stability and peace, the job I have, the roof over my head, the family I build, the education I received, and everything I have blindly taken for granted would not have been possible if not for what Mr. Lee and his team of pioneers did. Here’s an online article which I thought was a good read for our generation might not know: What our generation doesn’t know about Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
Having born and lived in times when Singapore was already on stable tracks of progress, it is easy to overlook what how much Mr. Lee has done and sacrifice to get Singapore to where we are now. A small and new country, with no natural resources, migrants with no sense of belonging, and with only a strategic location has its upper-hand, it wasn’t really much to begin with.
And yet in half a century, Mr. Lee transformed it into an advanced first world country, where people of different races lived together in harmony, where everyone receives education, where they try to give everyone a roof over their head and opportunities to blossom. And a country that other countries envies and applauds.
But what really changed me was learning how selfless Mr. Lee is, in his pursue to make Singapore better. I believe every moment for Mr. Lee has been thinking about how to make Singapore better. And when I learnt how much Mr. Lee has sacrifice to always try to make the Singapore we have now better, I appreciate, treasure and now want to guard and build on what he has given us.
Sadly, it takes this unfortunately event to wake me, and I believe many other Singaporeans of my generation, to really drill in the fact that what we have achieved should never be taken for granted. In fact, we should try our very best to make Singapore even better, just like how Mr. Lee have done. This is really what SG50 should be about, recognising how far we have come and cement why we need to fight whatever difficulties we face to make our country a better place for our children and future generations to come. I feel the unity of Singaporeans this week, and a proud sense of belonging.
One of Mr. Lee’s many famous quotes was “I have spent my life, so much of it, building up this country. Theres 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.”.
Thank you Mr. Lee, for everything. Thank you.