Monday, 23 March 2015


So I somehow managed to wake up at 7 this morning, without the aid of my alarm, to the sound of Vicky and Dawn's voice outside my room. And the first few things I overheard were about the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

I think many Singaporeans woke up this morning to the news of his passing. Social media is flooded with tributes and sentiments, which is not the least bit unusual. I think there is comfort in observing how this seemed to have brought most of Singapore together, despite our many differences. Love him or hate him, most seem to agree that there is no denying his contributions to the nation.

Halfway through our project meeting today, we decided to watch PM Lee's address on Lee Kuan Yew's death. You could see the tears welling up in PM Lee's eyes. I think it requires so much strength to stand there and address everyone, three separate times in three different languages, regarding your father's passing, much less doing so in such a formal manner. He couldn't even address him as "father", but as "Mr Lee Kuan Yew". Him and the rest of the family had to not only deal with the knowledge of the imminent death but also that of the whole nation being on standby for it. Death alone is already difficult to deal with, and I respect PM Lee for his strength.

Like I've mentioned previously, I know nothing about the political scene in Singapore, much less about politics in general. I will admit, I am ashamed to say that I know nothing about the MPs or ministers in Singapore, or what exactly is going on. I feel it is not my place to comment about his contributions, and much has already been said by countless people about it anyway. Yet, even with my shameful apathy and ignorance towards the political progress of Singapore, I am aware of how much dedication he had for Singapore, and his passing made me feel... something. I can't quite pinpoint what it is that I am feeling, but it has definitely impacted me somehow. Perhaps it is the knowledge that our founding father has passed, that soon the pioneer generation would pass, and eventually it would be our turn to step up. Perhaps it is sadness, over the fact that someone great has passed.

But even heroes have to die.

Maybe I'm being cheesy, but this has made me think about death. I do not think that death has to be associated with sadness alone (and I think 'sad' is sufficient and shall not think of a fancier way to describe that feeling). I think that to live to a ripe old age of 91 is an accomplishment worthy of celebration. More importantly, to have achieved so much in a lifetime, to have transformed Singapore and to have made such a mark in all our lives, is an accomplishment worthy of celebration.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew himself said that he wants a quick death. "It is the end of any aches and pains and suffering. So I hope the end will come quickly," he said, and I think it would be foolish to wish that he lives on forever. I think, knowing that he has ended his suffering and hopefully passed away the way he wanted would be good enough. Knowing that he is now reunited with his wife brings about a bittersweet form of comfort. This article in particular was rather heartwarming to read:

"He told us later that they had both discussed death. They had concluded that the one who died first would be the lucky one. The one remaining would suffer loneliness and grief."

This sketch as well, has made me realise that death does not always have to be paired with purely negative emotions.

(Honestly quite proud to say that the sketch was done by an ex-classmate, woah)

I think much has been said today regarding his passing, and I don't think there is much I can contribute. Nonetheless, even for someone as apathetic as me, it is something that has affected me, so where better voice out my sentiments but here?

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