There’s a Chinese saying about remembering the source of water (our roots) when we drink water.
We had a chance at survival because of Mr Lee. We are alive today, and living, because of him.
This is his eulogy for his beloved wife, a few years ago:
The last two years of her life were the most difficult. She was bed-ridden after small successive strokes; she could not speak but she was still cognisant. Every night she would wait for me to sit by her to tell her of my day’s activities and to read her favourite poems. Then she would sleep.
I have precious memories of our 63 years together. Without her, I would be a different man, with a different life. She devoted herself to me and our children. She was always there when I needed her. She has lived a life full of warmth and meaning.
I should find solace at her 89 years of her life well lived. But at this moment of the final parting, my heart is heavy with sadness.
And our hearts are, too.
Rest in Peace, Mr Lee. You gave us your entire life, and fought for us every step of the way.
When I say we are alive and living because of him, I do mean it. I do think without all his policies, and his putting together a Government that led us to independence and through independence, many of us wouldn’t have been here today. It takes all that strength to put into place and to sustain the sort of stability that we’ve had the last 5 decades. Education; hygiene (yes, clean drinking water); jobs; housing. Without all of these, quite simply, many of our parents would have died long before their time, and we’d be struggling today.
I can only hope that we will survive the next years. We can’t underestimate his role on the global stage; and now we don’t have that, we can only hope. One thing he did do was to establish succession – not like those who hold, and grasp, power to the end of their days, and bleed the coffers dry (see the saying about good Chinese emperors not lasting 3 generations).
Times were hard, and he was a leader who led us to better times. And we won’t easily come by another leader like him again.
We were lucky.
Thank you, Mr Lee.