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The Giant who transformed Singapore Lee Kuan Yew (换天的巨人李光耀) Quick reflections 2 March 28, 2015

Posted by @Karen_Fu in human quality, Leadership, Singapore.
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Whilst running for time, I jot some random thoughts.

*Frugality and the social makeup of a country*

Just surfed online for the news to learn that India has just announced they will have a national mourning on the 29th, which is a pleasant surprise to all Singaporeans including me. Leaders of many other countries are sending either their diplomats or turning up in person to pay their respects to the late Lee Kuan Yew. I also came across the facebook pages to read about frugality of the late Lee Kuan Yew. In fact in his time and our forefathers’, they were very thrifty people whose savings outweigh their expenditures. Today, frugality is even scorned at. If you do shop and observe, you would agree with me that pondering twice before buying anything is no longer that much seen as a virtue. But spending right on the dot is. That’s one of the social change here, which I see it as a problem. And you know what I’m thinking? We should worry and quickly make amendments in the mistakes that created a society that is no longer as frugal, as safe, as efficient as in the past. The country is wealthy but we have new set of problems that involves a higher crime rate, materialism, selfishness and rising social economic problems such as gambling addiction. Not to forget a rising problem of extramarital affairs and broken marriages. Tomorrow, many will line up along the streets to wave final farewells to the late #LeeKuanYew, where the gun carriage will go before it reaches it final resting place. As of now, people are still streaming in to pay their last respects. No one this far has garnered this kind of influence far and wide, both nationally and internationally. He was an extremely intelligent strategist whose aptness to change was impressive. His humour was natural with the words were concise and sharp to the point. He was highly creative and original in coming up with ideas to survive in a time where no one wanted us. We were poor, a land of ‘coolies’ and a land where poverty and illiteracy plagued the country. It was a different set of problems. He had the best of people’s whose common goal was to survive in any good possible way they can. The plans for public housing, national defence and foreign investments all came into the scene quick. He had the most frugal ministers who were willing to stay in the country to contribute the lives with low pay. The sacrifice of our founding fathers like Ong Pang Boon, Rajaratnam, Goh Keng Swee, Hon Sui Sen, Barker and all were just some of the most motivated leaders around. People were far more modest, and way more thrifty. Fundamentally, people were just plain nice. It wasn’t competitive but social peace was better in the 70s right through the late 90s.

*Our Lost National Treasures-their sacrifice*

Both our national treasures Teresa Hsu Chih and Founding PM of this country Lee Kuan Yew are gone. The fact they both paid their lives to this country in turn makes the people cherish them despite the differences. The kind of personality that shines through in a very positive note when they strive to make lives better for others. Both of them had humour in their own natural wit and original wisdom, which is usually simple in style, deep in thought, but wide in perspective. The former was a silent giant, the latter a roaring one. Either way, both were very unique people who are our national treasures.

The Founding PM of Singapore, the architect of modern Singapore has passed away on the 23rd March and I have been following the remarks and the commentaries online and offline. While in his lifetime, he had made mistakes, I think the contributions outweigh the mistakes by a heap. No one is perfect and to see what kind of people who made the negative remarks, I’d say they have their opinions we too need to respect. However, I doubt we have another leader like him and for that very matter our future isn’t that secured anymore given the current new set of woes. SG50 will somehow become a mourning event and 2015 a black year for all- at least in Singapore it is. Looking at the passing giant, and the current state of affairs. It makes logical sense to say the moment when former founding prime minister Lee left politics, the place was no longer in the kind of order that we were all used to (notably the public transport). So people cannot say he didn’t contribute. Rather, we should say that we are loosing ground that is set by a very disciplined and intelligent leader. No one’s perfect. The contributions of building a nation outweighs his flaws. For this matter alone, I worry the kind of people we have now.

*Comments on Lee Kuan Yew online on Facebook et cetra*
*The people we have today*

When I skim read some comments during the time he was critically ill, there were some negative remarks of the founding Prime Minister. Personally I don’t think we as human beings should judge. But I do believe life has its ways to handle with the deeds of a person. We have only the need to focus upon what is good and keep the partial views aside. I wrote this on Facebook which I will share here:

苍天功罪分明 #life #thought in #chinese #in The heavens differentiate merits and demerits

有恶报恶 Every evil begets evil

有恩报恩 Every merit begets merit

功德回功德 Positive rewards repays positive rewards

善业报幸福 Charity gives happiness

恶业回凶报 Evil deeds pay bad retributions

Whatever the merits or demerits, let the mandate of the heavens decide. I think we have far more problems to handle in a changing world. The social environment has changed. Economics have changed and we need to find that optimal level to sustain our lives. I think that should be the priority now. No one is perfect. Everyone has got their own way of executing tasks. There are times I do not like the autocratic way and at times I do not condone certain policies that appear to be elitist and often I had this sense it was all materialistic and practical. But to reflect back on what he had done to survive, we cannot deny the facts he put in his life into it. He had to do it and he did it. All that load of nation building, to contrary belief was not easy. Imagine you had nothing but only over two million people with a country that is low in international profile. You need people who are more than able to convince others to invest in us and to grow. You need to be creative and innovative when it comes to policies and diplomatic strategies. If he had failed, he would have to perish with our predecessors and the bunch of us offsprings would not have been born here. Everything was slick and span. His astuteness in situations and his sense of speech was incredibly concise. No one is like the late Lee Kuan Yew- a gifted strategist, a unique charismatic downright go-getter. For someone who came from nowhere, to show unusual guts and humour, he was quite actually quite a madman in his days.

I have been thinking a lot since the 23rd. Watching on the news, reading about the founding PM Lee Kuan Yew. The comments made offline and online made me wonder about the people we have today. The actual people I have come to meet and the people whom I have interacted. Times have changed as well as the kind of people we have. I worry. So what kind of nation are we having now? It is so different from the 70s 80s 90s when times were not as sophisticated. But people then were far more real and kind. The very reason why Singapore has bee so blessed is because if the kind of people we had: honest, hardworking, intelligent, far sighted and very very determined. No country this tiny can even survive and be this respected by big countries. The time when we loose able and good people is the very time this country shall perish. And for this very reason alone, I think we need to be constantly on our toes. Perhaps we need to radically change social atmosphere.

*A man of unique character and a staunch Chinese*

I always believe he was more Chinese than me. Though he may come from an English background family, he was very Chinese. There is nothing off being Chinese. In fact going in the opposite direction to be non Chinese would. He sent all his three children to Chinese medium schools, which are current SAP(Special Assistant Plan) schools that practice bilingualism in English and Mandarin Chinese. His strong will to master the Chinese language and his work to foster strong ties with China shows his belief and direction. He was never wrong in crafting his way out of a problem. His views widely sought after. And though he was aggressive and clobber off his enemies, the one thing I’d admire was he actually let the offsprings of his rivals go. -@karen_fu

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