Being Singaporean

The Lee Our Children Don’t Know

Before the Blogfather resumes normal complaining tomorrow, I’d like to add my bit for Lee Kuan Yew’s passing.

When Xander woke up for school yesterday morning, I turned on the television to watch the Channel NewsAsia broadcast announcing MM Lee’s passing and his various tribute clips. When I told him what had happened, he watched the screen for a few quiet seconds and said, “Ye ye will have a new friend going to meet him.”

Later, when the Mother of Xander went to fetch him from school, she asked him if the school explained what the one minute of silence observed during assembly was for. He replied, “No. Maybe Lee Kuan Yew don’t like noise?”


Lee Kuan Yew is as polarising in life as he is in death. I would hesitate to teach our kids what really happened during his time; the man had a steel grip, a stout heart and a stubborn streak, and his words and actions were sometimes not comfortable, most times not easy. But we wouldn’t have been where we were today without him. And we also wouldn’t know if things might have been good/bad/different without him. Such is his legacy that no generation that hasn’t experienced him will understand no matter how hard we explain.

The gravity of his existence took half a century to play out. The legacy he leaves will live on as long as we continue to call ourself a nation.

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