I was born into a Singapore where Mr. Lee Kuan Yew was a man to be reckoned with. His wit, his strength of will, his brilliance – all came together in a man, who is credited to transform Singapore from a small, forgotten, city-state, young and new and abandoned by Malaysia… to the Singapore I have grown to love. Living in Sydney for the past two years has given me fresh perspective on my homeland. There is much to dislike about living in a urban city-state that is packed to its brim with people everywhere, and yet there is also much to love.
The almost magical way things work in Singapore is something I miss dearly. I use the word “magically” loosely – but I’ve had my patience stretched by the endless streams of waiting, waiting, waiting here in Australia, that when I was back in Singapore, I was a bit taken aback by how FAST everyone ELSE walked. Laidback fishing village no more. Just on our last trip, we could see new buildings being constructed, new malls, new extensions to existing malls, new condominiums, fresh coats of paint, smoothly paved roads, well-lit stretches of road even at night, work done on the existing public transport networks… I mean, everything just sparkled brand new and working well. (Okay, so there were more than a few hitches to the MRT and all) but by and large, Singapore works like a well-oiled machine. There are the occasional breakdowns, but maybe it is also because we are so used to things working SO well that we take offense when things don’t.
But no matter, my heart is heavy and with all my fellow Singaporeans, I mourn the passing of a great man. Thank you, Mr. Lee, for pouring your heart, your soul and your life into this tiny little Red Dot. Thank you for giving up and sacrificing so much, to bring us where we are now. You are truly the Father of our nation, and you will be dearly missed and loved and respected.