Friday, March 27, 2015

Bertha Henson: I cannot be like Lee Kuan Yew...

Over the last few days, my mind has been in overdrive over LKY. I have done very little work and now the pieces are falling into place, coming together. Conundrums are giving way to ideas and solutions. Things are starting to clear up. It is sad that it took his passing away to create the right emotional cauldron to make these thoughts surface. I am learning very rapidly, faster than I can record them. I never consider what I write on this blog as sharing. After all I am blogging for myself (and family).

Going to Parliament House to honor LKY as he lays in state is not my style. Were he able to talk to us from the beyond, I imagine he would say we are wasting our time. We should just get on with the business of tomorrow. On the other hand I understand people feels right, in fact they feel a deep need and desire to send him off. I want him to live with us in the spirit through his words.

Bertha Henson began each line, "I cannot be like Lee Kuan Yew..." She is absolutely right. But each of us can be a bit of LKY in ways we are born and nurtured. Pick your choice from Bertha's list and develop them. Together we can be Lee Kuan Yew and because LKY is Singapore. We cannot just rely on the PAP. In the short to medium term we cannot count on the opposition parties either.

And LKY is also complex enough (read rich enough) to be interpreted and understood in myriad ways. Whatever we do with this just don't do it stupidly like the Chinese worshiping Mao, who to me is a monster however much the Chinese needed him to free them from their past.

But in an earlier post I said LKY is also a conduit from which I could draw in the richness of knowledge, ideas and experience beyond Singapore. What do I mean? I am shamelessly going to borrow it from my Christian faith which allows me to find a way for him to live among us even if he is gone. I am not explaining it here, not yet. Too difficult.

Now what works with LKY will also work for GKS, but LKY is the final piece to bring together all the other pieces from the works of former colleagues. Until he goes away, I simply couldn't get it.

Can you imagine a US President sitting in the room Thomas Jefferson once thought and wrote? He goes in there for inspiration. Actually he goes in there to feel in a certain way to help him think. Let's do the same in our own way with LKY. We desperately need to as the PAP is good but not good enough. Thanks once again to General Prem for his advice to continue working on what LKY could not complete.

The best tribute we could give Lee Kuan Yew is for a part of him to live in each of us and make Singapore a success for a very long time to come. I don't know how we can be successful otherwise.

Update: 11:35 pm

I forgot to add that we must learn not to detain the innocent without trial under our security laws unnecessarily. There must be due process and ways for them to be protected if they have to be locked up for a while.

Update: March 29 8:15 am

I took this from Asiaone article.

Hope this advanced a little toward helping doctors be less money minded too, "affordable healthcare"

Update: March 29: 11:30 am

Read this earlier today

I know I have company whom I do not know. I am glad to be able to name at least one - Tong Ming Chien. Some of us with this perspective would need to guide or lead many of those who showed up at parliament house. Nevertheless I am truly glad those who wanted to bid him good bye for the last time had the opportunity to. We must respect that we are all different people with different ways and needs. Many lived in the present, a few are always casting their eyes ahead.


  1. I fully agree the best tribute we can give to LKY is for a part of him to live in each of us and make Singapore a success for a very long time to come. There are good in bad and bad in good and humans are various shades of grey - at different times too. Only when we can break away from the black-white poles that we can focus on doing as best for all as well as for oneself.
    I also would state that joining the minions for the laying-in-state is not my style. Avoiding the trappings of creating a deity (god or saint) out of another human and in the process, building up a gang of high priests, I will rather look at the person as someone who tried his best in the capacity he was put into to do something right for the populace at large despite whatever inherent human flaws. I personally believe LKY wanted to be remembered for the good efforts he had made so we can all get on the unfinished work and not expecting someone else do it while we bask in the credits

    1. Thank you for your support but I must also point out that I am quite offended with your comment as well. I object in the strongest terms possible that you call those minions who waited incredibly long hours to pay their respect to our late Lee Kuan Yew. They are an inseparable part of us. If they are minions, I am too fully. Each of us express our grief and resolutions differently. I don't do it their way but I empathise with them. They are learning to be stronger. Some will resolve, our father is gone, today we better grow up. We will need it tomorrow because once LKY is gone foreign powers will test us. We are already telling them what we are made of with our show of appreciation for LKY. I salute them! These men, women and children are patriots and not minions.

    2. I truly hope they will be patriots and not just be part of the momental hype. LKY would surely like all of us to grow up - and like you say, we need to stand up to the tests to come

    3. Don't just hope. Demand and challenge that in each other. Make it happen. I don't hope, in fact I believe I am not the only one demanding this from myself and others.

  2. Time will tell. And there's much time given this age where rapid change is the constant. What I pray is we don't land up creating a deity and leave it to the high priests. Church history has seen the need for reformers and martyrs so that the message of the original founder will not be tainted. So you are right, we need to demand and challenge that in each other. We cannot afford to be sheepy followers who expect to be led and fed.

    1. Oops corr: there isn't much time