The Man who was, and is, and will always be.

A tribute to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

Here’s another post to add to the long list of tributes that are flooding your newsfeeds. I thought long and hard before deciding to post this, since I rarely post anything that I write that is unrelated to food&lifestyle posts that I usually post here. But Mr Lee deserves a post to be dedicated to him. So despite my initial worries about being incoherent in my post, I’m just going to give it a shot. It’s not about me… it’s about paying tribute to the greatest forefather that Singapore has ever known. The man who was, and is, and will always be.

lky-wife The man who was.

I’m not here to tell you of the great works that Mr Lee did, I’m sure you know that for yourself. Today, I’d like to talk about the man himself. I may not ever have met him, but I’m thankful to have been alive under his rule, even if he may have been running the show from the background.

He was a man of excellence. He had a vision for Singapore and he saw it through. The rate at which he managed to bring Singapore to where we are today is impressive, and only Mr Lee could achieve something of this standard.

He was a man with foresight. He saw potential in Singapore, and he raised us to reach and exceed that potential He was a man with resilience. We remember how Mr Lee cried for Singapore. He was betrayed, but he picked himself up, and led us to success. He didn’t let a setback cause him to give up.

He was a man who fought for what he believed in.

He was a father, a husband… he was family. He was not just a father and husband to his immediate family. He was a father to all of us. He raised us from the ground, nurtured us to have a bright future, and was there as our firm unwavering pillar of support from the very beginning. He sacrificed so much for us, and did his utmost to be there and to plan for the future even when his health was failing.

lee-kuan-yew-and-his-supporters-1960s The man who is.

Mr Lee is an inspiration. He showed us to how to live with tenacity and courage. He taught us to hold firm to our beliefs. He taught us to love one another, regardless of race, language or religion. He showed us what it meant to fight for one’s passion. I would like to say more things that Mr Lee is… but it is natural that “The man who was” will have the largest portion, since it wouldn’t be appropriate to refer to him as “The man who is” right after he passed on. But just because he passed away, that doesn’t mean that he is gone from our lives…which brings me to my next point.

lee-kuan-yew-istana The man who will always be.

He may not be around in person, but he will always be part of our lives. Every aspect of our lives reflects Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s foresight. I’ll just name two key areas, Racial Harmony and Education.

He will always be the foundation behind Singapore’s Racial Harmony. There is nowhere in the world that will have a temple and mosque right next to each other, or have such a high level of tolerance for different races and religions. We acknowledge our differences and embrace our common identity as Singaporeans. We see ourselves united as one Singaporean nation, rather than being divided by our diverse races and religions.

He will always be the reason for the increasingly educated generations. Students are so afraid of letting people read our essays because we often think they aren’t good enough. But here we are, coming out of our shells, to post tributes to Mr Lee Kuan Yew. I think this reflects how much he has impacted us. Although some people say my generation didn’t know Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and hence don’t feel as much of a connection with him… I disagree. He inspired us enough for us to put aside our insecurities about our writing standards, and to put up tributes to him on Facebook, twitter and our blogs.

Mr Lee has touched our lives enough for us to realise that it is not about what people think of us that matters, but it’s about writing about what we feel for. It’s about remembering and being thankful for Mr Lee. Given the eloquence of most of the touching posts, I can confidently say we are reflections of Mr Lee’s wisdom in providing education for all. We represent the change Mr Lee had in mind for Singapore. We may not be from Mr Lee’s generation, but we are the generation of Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

We may not always see him, but we feel his presence. Like the wind, he is omnipotent, ever-present but not always visible. We feel him when he moves (a policy). We see the effects of his work. He may not be here, but he lives in each one of us, and he will continue to do so as long as Singapore is around. When we live and thrive as one Singapore, we keep him alive in our hearts!

His works transcend the generations, and his wisdom and foresight is enough to last Singapore for a lifetime. It’s our call now. It’s our time to make him proud. We are the next generation, the generation that Mr Lee worked so hard to nurture, and we will continue his legacy.

So, thank you for your hardwork, your love and your guidance, Mr Lee, and may you Rest In Peace.

We won’t let you down.

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