This Is My Singapore

Along with the week in mourning along with the rest of Singapore (Lee Kuan Yew’s passing) came with an extended blogger’ block/writing hiatus as I did not manage to publish a food review entry as originally intended.

Exactly 1 week plus ago, when I first heard of his eventual passing on Monday 23 March 2015, 0318 Hours, I simply had no time to process all that information and what that means going forward as I had not one, but two appointments on the day itself …… and my main priority at that point in time is to get through them in one piece!

However eventually, the finality of his passing eventually sank in as the week started to go by, with the whole of Singapore in a 7 day period of National Mourning. Work started to get more dreary (as much as you try your best to go on as per normal) …… and office (and even the streets and the trains) started to get more empty once the lying in state began on Wednesday 25 March, where Parliament House was open to the public to pay their last respects. And also with increasing news write-ups and tributes pouring in from all walks of life and from all over the world …… the reality that we have lost our founding father of modern Singapore started to sink in bit by bit.

To borrow a quote from Jim Rohn

All good men and woman must take responsibility to create legacies that will take the next generation to a level we could only imagine.

Many a time, the legacy and achievements of a person is best felt upon a person’s death. Be it a family member, close friend, colleague etc. In the larger context of Lee Kuan Yew, National Mourning aside as we say our final farewells to him, it has resulted in many of us (myself included) reflecting on and contemplating on Singapore’s progress from a fishing village to British colony to being part of Malaysia to being a small independent country (with an uncertain future) …… and to the modern and cosmopolitan Singapore we see today. This is best represented by 1st the sail like landmark that is Marina Bay Sands – the significance that Integrated Resorts (IR) and casinos represent a new economic and societal shift for Singapore …… and 2nd the dome like Gardens By The Bay.

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And the beautiful and clean garden city Singapore has become ……

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Despite our numerous complaints about various things as part of living in Singapore (MRT breakdowns, CPF, Housing policies, FAIR etc.) …… to honour Lee Kuan Yew and his contributions, for myself at least, I had made it a point NOT to complain, and instead give gratitude and thanks to Lee Kuan Yew for his contributions to Singapore. Such as our MRT system which has brought us great inconvenience in getting from one end of Singapore to another in a faster and more comfortable manner (as versus a 1.5 to 2 hour journey via bus) …… the nice, spacious and comfortable HDB apartments that we live in, a safe city with low crime rates (not an issue to take a cab back home alone after 12 midnight), and even hawker centres where we get to enjoy a great variety of food that is inexpensive and more importantly, in a clean environment. And major credit, having the vision to create Marina Barrage so that we are not entirely dependant on Malaysia for our water needs.

As a matter of fact, the slow-ness of the MRT became a lot more bearable since National Mourning period began …… thanks to a change of mindset.

And in my small little way, I managed to make it to Padang on Friday night i.e. 27th March (after 2 unproductive work meetings that were a waste of time) …… only to join in the long wait from 10pm all the way till 630am the next morning to pay my final respects to Lee Kuan Yew. The number of people who wanted to pay their last respects to him at the Parliament House swelled to such a huge number that at one point, the authorities had to suspend the quene (that was around 11pm). And it was at this point that I truly felt a united Singapore as we were all grateful to Lee Kuan Yew for bringing Singapore to what she is today …… irregardless of race, religion, age, political differences (this is important given the rise of many pro-opposition and anti-establishment views in today’s social media age). No complaints despite the Friday night queue being one of the longest and most crowded (since many didn’t have to work on a Saturday) …… only thing is that as with age, its harder to recover from not sleeping the entire night as I subsequently slept heavily through the weekend all the way till Monday.

I suppose the best way to continue to live on Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy will be to live our lives well and continue to do our best with the opportunities we are given. SG50 celebrations will take on a new meaning now.

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