Sunday, 29 March 2015, Singapore bade a tearful farewell to our FIRST Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
Dark clouds gathered, heavy rains poured, but that did not stop many Singaporeans from lining up the streets to send Mr Lee Kuan Yew off. I stayed at home with my parents watching the live telecast on Television. I chose to stay at home to watch it on television for a few reasons. One is to support my friends in the newsroom, they have worked hard to bring you the coverage, especially this live coverage. I was cheering for Augustine and Glenda, especially. Yes, there were live streamings, but a part of me prefers to watch it on a TV, because I can pay attention to the details on a bigger screen, and with less distractions. Two, I don’t know how much I would cry, so I rather stay at home. I’ve cried in public many times, and I am not shy of crying in public. But this time round, I rather be private. Third, I really want to see Mr Lee through the whole journey, aptly put in Chinese, 全程目送. And lastly, I want to catch as much glimpses of Yipeng as I can. I was in the same junior college and university as him, and he was never stingy with his good mornings or hellos to me, and to others. I know he was a darling to his late grandfather, and my heart goes out to him. I lost my grandparents, I was close to them. The feeling was crap. I want to see Yipeng, and make sure he is holding it up. Many times, I wished I could give Yipeng a hug.
10 eulogies were delivered during the State Funeral. Both sons presented the first and the last. Mr Lee Hsien Loong started with his eulogy, and he did his best to keep his emotions in check. Though there were points when he shared more personal anecdotes, and his words choked up. Throughout his speech, he addressed his father as Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Every time he said that, I cringe. But it also gave me the strength and motivation to become stronger.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang closed the session with his eulogy, and we saw a son sharing his fondest memories of his “Papa”. Mr Lee shared how his father didn’t want the children to feel like a privileged group, and the kind of upbringing in the family. I’ve seen this for myself, after being schoolmates with Yipeng.
2 sons, 2 eulogies, we heard and saw the many faces of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Some people have asked why the ceremony at Mandai Crematorium is a private one. We should give Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his family some private moments. Since Mr Lee’s death, the familh has been in the limelight. Mr Lee Hsien Loong gave a final eulogy, and calls his father fondly by “Papa”. We need to give them the time and opportunity to grieve.
Some have said, Singapore will not continue to strive withour Mr Lee Kuan Yew. I beg to differ. He has left behind a legacy, and it’s now for us to build on it, and make Singapore even better. He gave up his life for Singapore, and we shed our tears because of his contributions. The dead will not return to life, but the living can continue the spirt of the dead. Personally having experienced the deaths of many closed ones, including Queena and my brother who died in their prime, I’ve learnt to see farewells in a postive light. Queena and my brother were outstanding young people, with a bright future, but God decided their time with us will be short. However short, they left behind many things to celebrate. They were both fighters, strong-willed, sweet-natured, caring and loving individuals. Similarly, we should also celebrate Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s life. He has lived a fulfilled and meaningful life, and great achievements for us to celebrate.
We cry when in grieve, that is absolutely normal. But there will be a time when we will dry our tears, toughen up, move on, and make lives better. The physical self may have left, but spiritually, emotionally they will always be with us.
As Mr Lee Hsien Loong said today in his speech, what has Mr Lee Kuan Yew left for us. “Look around you.” He wouldn’t want us to destroy the beauty in Singapore with our tears. His policies, his plans, they were all meant to make strong Singaporeans who will shine in our own ways.
Rest in peace, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
Today, I want to celebrate Mr Lee’s well-lived life. #Celebratelife365 #Thrive