I have read countless books on many historical great men who has strong influence on world politics, but today, in my own country, I am living together with one for nearly 50 years. Remembering Lee Kuan Yew, he will always be in my heart.
The Founding Father of Singapore, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, age 91, has passed away in the early morning of 3.18am, Monday, 23 March 2015.
First and foremost, I must clarify that this is not a post about tourist attractions. As a Singaporean, I have a compelling reason to mourn the death of our Founding Father, for what he has done for Singapore truely won my respect and fascinates me from young. I have no other social media platform to pen it, except this personal site.
A brief history of Lee Kuan Yew
Lee Kuan Yew, was born in 1923, and became Singapore’s first Prime Minister in 1959 after Singapore gained independence from the British. For the next 31 years as PM, he used his exceptional foresight and intellect to transform the slumps and squatters tiny island nation from a Third World to a First World country, setting an economic model for many policy makers from around the world to come learn the dramatic transformation.
That was Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister of a tiny nation- Singapore- yet he managed to win the attention and admiration of many powerful world leaders.
The extraordinary transformation of the island alerted the then Chinese leader Deng Xiao Ping to come personally in the late 1970’s to witness it personally. He went home and soon started the ‘special economic zone’ in the coastal region.
Former US President Bush publicly declared that he had learnt much from Mr Lee. Current US President Obama called Mr Lee a great strategist. Mr Lee even won, not once, but several standing ovations in the US Congress when he gave a speech there in 1985.
At time of writing, India has declared national mourning on March 29 as a mark of respect to Lee Kuan Yew, the national flag will also fly at half-mast throughout the country on March 29.
As Singapore goes into 7 days of national mourning, tens of thousands of people line the streets and brave the searing hot sun and cold night to pay their respects at Parliament House, where Mr Lee’s body is lying. The parliament House is specially opened 24 hours a day for the public till Saturday night.
The queue stretches several kilometres from the famous Padang field, along Singapore River and into the Parliament House. It is an extraordinary scene certainly never seen before in the history of Singapore. Dozens of iconic tourist attractions surrounding the area is left almost empty with only few tourists around the area.
Video Credit: Channel NewsAsia.
How long is the queue? The estimated time to get into the Parliament House is 8 hours in the day and 5 hours even after midnight. A great visionary he is, Mr Lee would never have envisaged the magnitude of the crowd and that the usually reserve Singaporeans has now come out forcefully and openly showing their wholehearted respects and gratitude to him. How many has visited? At time of writing, 290,000 in less than 3 days!
Above picture : The entrance to Parliament House. Beside Parliament House, officially, nearly 2 dozens of community centres island-wide are designated for the public to pay their respects to Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Unofficially, hundreds of streets and walkway are used by the shop owners and residents to show their gratitude.
That was a video done by KiniTV on the Funeral Procession held on Sunday 29 March 2015, when thousands of people braved the cold rain to lined the 15.4 km route, waiting for hours to pay their last respects to Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
I believe Mr Lee would stands tall not just in the history of Singapore, but in world history. Very soon, his profound thoughts, rhetorical skills, intellectual prowess, wisdom and acute vision which had been widely discussed for decades would be documented and put into studies in many classrooms and libraries around the world.
Remembering Lee Kuan Yew, he will always be in the heart of all Singaporeans for the many generations to come.
Today, I am grateful to have grown up in an era with this great man- Mr Lee Kuan Yew, together living in the same country and witnessing personally how he transformed and thrusted Singapore from a Third World country to First! I have read books on many historical great men, but today, unbelievably, in my own country, I am honoured to have lived together with one for nearly 50 years!
Thank you, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, for what you have done for Singapore!
Farewell, Mr Lee!