Haven’t been blogging much lately. For the past week, every time I switched on my computer, all I did was read news articles and watch videos of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew. It’s been a pretty solemn time, and I think I need to write something to close this chapter before I can jumpstart my blogging mood again.
I was one of half a million who queued up at Parliament House to pay our respect to Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Some say people like us were just following the herd mentality. I will not speak for others, but I will speak for myself.
I was initially undecided whether to visit the Parliament House. I was still recovering from my recurrent flu and going also meant bringing my 2 year old along and we all know 2 year olds are not good at queuing. But on more than 1 occasion, as I walked around shopping centres and dined at coffee shops or food courts, I heard the foreigners working there discussing how they either paid their tribute to Mr Lee Kuan Yew, or were trying to figure out how to do so. I overheard a group of foreigners asking their local colleague where the nearest tribute site was, how to get there, where to buy flowers and what an orchid was (when the local suggested they buy white orchids). Even foreigners were putting in such effort to show their gratitude, as a Singaporean who has enjoyed the most of the the fruits of his labour, I felt the least I could do was to drag my half-sick self to Parliament House to pay my last respect and mumble a sincere Thank You.
Before last week, I never would have imagined I would be so affected by the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Sure, I studied his contributions during Social Studies in Primary School and History in Secondary School. Not proud to say, I failed my first History test in Secondary School, though I bucked up later on for the very pragmatic purpose of getting a good grade. Like all ‘good’ students of our time, I memorized, I regurgitated and I threw everything out of of my brain after the exams to make space for other subjects.
But last week, watching the repeating documentaries on TV, the contributions of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and how much it affected my life finally sunk in. I know, you must have read at least 1000 other people say the same thing, but heck, I say it anyway since this is my journal and I want to journal it.
I could go on forever on all the things he has done and how I have benefited from them, but I will summarize it with my favourite part of the 10 eulogies read at Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s state funeral.
St Paul’s Cathedral in London was built by Sir Christopher Wren. He was the architect, and he is buried in the cathedral, which was his masterpiece, his life’s work. The Latin epitaph on his grave reads: si monumentum requiris, circumspice (If you seek his monument, look around you). Mr Lee Kuan Yew built Singapore. To those who seek Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s monument, Singaporeans can reply proudly: “look around you”.
– Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
When I look at myself and all my peers speaking in (at least) two languages, I will remember:
When I come home to my HDB flat, I will remember:
When I switch on the tap and clean, portable water comes gushing out, I will remember:
When I get into the lift of our HDB block with residents of different races, I will remember:
When I look at all the trees lining the roads everywhere in Singapore, I will remember:
When I see the largely litter-free surroundings, I will remember:
As the week of national mourning ends, I close this chapter of my personal mourning for a great man. But everywhere I look, I will be reminded of his greatness and my gratitude towards him.
“si monumentum requiris, circumspice.”
[disclaim]All the images in this post do not belong to me. Those that I have been unable to credit have been floating around my Facebook feed and I just copied them off from there.[/disclaim]