Permits & Passes
Mr LEE Kuan Yew is 78 today
Minister LEE Kuan Yew celebrates his 78th birthday today.
the man whom generations of Singaporeans look up to and
count as their idol.
the pillar which generations of Singaporeans have leaned
against in good times and in bad.
live without LEE Kuan Yew, I have oftentimes asked myself
this question. Having been through the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s
and yes, the new millennium - first as a child, then a young
boy, later a young adult and now as a mid-forties baby
boomer - I have always not been able to find the answer.
that so? You may ask. Well, for one thing, in my entire
life, so far, I have lived in the shadow of this great man.
I have become so used to him being around. I have found him
becoming my security blanket and more.
sceptical amongst you who are reading this article now, let
me say this. I am not a lackey of the government. But, I do
admit to being a lackey of the governed - the same people
who have benefited from the works of this man through the
last half century.
of you who for some reason or other have taken a position
against the government, I need say no more for your eyes are
only happy to see only what you want to see and no more.
Whatever I say is drowned in the well of discontent you have
built up within you. If you happen to be a discontented
Singaporean, just look around the region and tell yourself
this - if not for this man, you would have grown up and
lived in surroundings similar to that found in the
ago, when a commercial plane he was travelling in made a
U-turn and returned to Singapore, my heart - along with
countless others' - sank. There was relief all around when
it was found that he was well.
National Day, in the morning, when rumours milled in the wet
market near where I stay that he had died, I wasn't stunned
or anything like that. Why is that so? You may ask. Because
I knew the rumour to be false and told everyone in the
family to wait and see, for the Parade would take place that
evening and we would get a chance to see this man. But, even
then, I was a little jittery as I waited for the Parade.
he appeared and strode down the flight of steps to his seat
in the National Stadium, I heaved a sign of relief. A smile
flashed across my face. "You see, I told you so,"
I said to those gathered around me near the television set.
Even as I
mouthed those words, I found myself a little afraid. What if
there is no LEE Kuan Yew around? But, am I being afraid for
my future? Am I being afraid because I have become
accustomed to him being around to take care of things here
in Singapore? Or am I being afraid because he has become
like a second father to me?
admit. This man has wriggled his way into my heart and found
an emotional cord within me to attach himself to. When the
fear came over me that National Day, it was because I was
afraid to lose a loved one, not because I feared for my
future or the future of Singapore.
Having lived in the
shadow of this man, I find myself being asked this question:
Do I mind living like that? Well, certainly not. On the
contrary, it's been my greatest privilege to have lived in
the era of LEE Kuan Yew. I might certainly also remark: What
more can I ask for? Future generations of Singaporeans, I am
sure, will look back in envy at this privilege of mine and
of yours too, for we are here now in this day and time, in
the looming presence of this man.
Happy Birthday Mr LEE.
Many more good years ahead!
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the next public holiday. It falls on 14 Nov 2001.
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Coffin Is Too Big For The Hole
Directed by Putu
Presented by The
a monologue by Kuo Pao Kun, the play has been transformed
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