Monday, March 23, 2015

The MAN of the moment

Today all Singaporeans mourned the loss of a great leader, our first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. I too am saddened by his passing.

For all the disagreements I have with LKY's iron-fisted rule and putting down his opposition, he was the MAN of that moment to bring Singapore to where she is today. With his pioneering leaders to the likes of Goh Keng Swee, Devan Nair, Rajaratnam, Toh Chin Chye etc, they have transformed Singapore to the modern, blessed and prosperous island nation we love.

I served and contributed with great pride as a full-time National Serviceman (plus all my years of reservists) and I am glad to be part of this nation building towards a safe and peaceful Singapore.

Without his vision and hard stance, nothing would have moved forward. One thing democracy is weak in is seeking the majority vote. In my opinion we would still be stuck in MRT discussions if democracy had its way at that time.

In an era where the Singapore citizens' education level was low and the new independence status with neighbouring threats of war erupting, we needed a leader - a strong, hard-handed leader with a bitter medicine for Singaporeans to swallow. He was that man...

His pioneering team rallied behind him and his leadership put forth strong (sometimes bitter) policies needed for the nation to progress. He was that MAN of the moment to set course in Singapore history.

May that MAN live on in our hearts and may we remember his contributions to what Singapore is today.

You've run the good race.

RIP LKY, 23 March 2015.


Jimmy said...

This argument that his iron fist was necessary for a young nation rather superficial, overly pragmatic and devoid of a valued based approach to Singapore society.

The man was responsible for abortions on a massive scale, the destruction of his opponents and the equation of a political apparatus and the state machinery. Yes, we are a grateful fo the material progress but we cant allow the material progress to scrub the stain and darkness.

His legacy is mixed. We need to keep a sense of proportion and not be beguiled by those who are trying to scrub clean his past.

Kaffein said...

Hi Jimmy,
I do not think it superficial, or overly pragmatic. Whatever said, you still needed that leader for that era.

We have a bunch of citizens who are directionless with low-education and uncertain of the future.

In such situation a very strong leader needs to raise up, someone who is hard-handed to move the people and progress the nation. We have seen such leaders in organistions and countries many times. And we have to credit LKY for his hard stance and contributions.

Would another type of leadership be better? We'll never know.

That aside, I agree that his tactics were not my cup of tea. The execution of some of the policies were questionable, but again we are talking hindsight where things have passed.

I have lived overseas and there are many things I appreciate in Singapore. One of the key success is the infrastructure and the ease of travel though I understand to implement in a small country is so much easier than in a big country. Yet we cannot discount the fact that Singapore is still a well-managed country. Of course this was not attributed to only LKY but more of his team which often were bypassed being credited.

I definitely agree with you when asked about how I felt about his death - mixed feelings.

But what has happened, be it good or bad, I will not take a low swipe at him at this juncture. That said, he wasn't gracious at JBJ's funeral. Those whose eyes were opened to LKY's past deeds will never scrub clean his unethical ways.

However as the nation mourns, I as Singaporean will pay my respect to the first Premier.

The said...

/// His legacy is mixed. We need to keep a sense of proportion and not be beguiled by those who are trying to scrub clean his past. ///

Who is perfect? Yes, granted the legacy is mixed. I would put it at 95% good and 5% bad. This is as good a batting score as it gets. And I have not scrubbed out the 5% bad part of the past.

Kaffein said...

@4:21pm THE,

95% is giving LKY too much credit. You wouldn't call it 95% if your father was placed in detention without trial for a decade.

Don't be silly. LKY screwed up things, but he also did good stuff. Call a spade a spade without putting some statistics, like 'flood once in 50 years'.

Let's not put a figure to what he did right or wrong. It's all hindsight but we can learn from his mistakes.


Cheers, Kaffein