BY SARACH AND STEFITH
Today, the body of the founding father of our nation, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, was moved to Parliament House to begin four days of lying in state. The headline of The Straits Times this morning read “Mr Lee’s last trip to Parliament today”. Movements such as turning profile pictures into greyscale and wearing black this Sunday pop up, all in respect and honour of the man who gave his life for our country.
Although we’ve never met Mr Lee, we both can agree that he has definitely made a significant impact to our mere 19 years in Singapore. We weren’t born into slums, we were born with roofs above our heads; we weren’t born with our parents fearing the possibility of our deaths from disease or malnutrition, we were born into a place with proper sanitation, hygiene and healthcare.
We were born in a place where every child receives a solid education (and where government officials will track you down if your child’s name does not appear on the enrollment lists for Primary 1), where people can practice their faiths and celebrate their cultures without fear of persecution.
Mr Lee has always been something of a legend to those of our generation- we’re taught about him in social studies class, we learn about Singapore’s road to Merdeka in history lessons. He’s the magical man, the hero, the one who told us that we could be free from our colonial masters and who set us on the road to freedom. His name is synonymous with the birth of independent Singapore. Ask who the founder of modern Singapore is, and the answer is always these three letters of the alphabet- LKY.
People may have complained about his policies, whined about his legislation- but we feel that most people now understand that whatever decisions he made, whatever he did, he did it because it was the right choice at the time, doing it for the greater good, doing what he thought was right for the nation. And is that not same for all of us? We make what seems to be the best decision at that point in time, and we make them with the best intentions.
Neither of us were able to see him at his peak (we were merely pies in the sky at the time), when he was the Prime Minister of a fledgling nation-state that was ablaze with determination and grit, but we now reap the benefits of his hard work, the labour of him and his team, of all who made Singapore into what she is today.
Singapore is in mourning, and her people are feeling the loss keenly. People turn up in droves at the various memorial sites across the island, and they queue for hours to pay their respects to the man who laid the foundations our country lies on. There is an air of solemnity in the streets, and people are in a reflective state on how one man made such a difference to our country, our people, our lives.
Dear Mr Lee Kuan Yew, without you, we would not be here today. There is so much we can say, but they are just words. Thank you for everything you have done for us. You led a great life, and now you leave behind a great legacy. May we, as a nation, keep moving forward, and may we do you proud.
Rest in peace, good sir, and thank you.