Monday 27 April 2015

Time capsule marking farewell to Lee Kuan Yew to be buried in Tanjong Pagar and opened in 2065

'A united, successful nation in 2065'
That is PM Lee's hope for Singapore when time capsule is unearthed in SG100
By Walter Sim, The Sunday Times, 26 Apr 2015

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will not be around when the time capsule he prepared for burying yesterday is unearthed 50 years from now.

But he hoped that the Singapore it will see the light in is one that has gone from success to success, nurtured and built by a united people.

In a speech that was included in the time capsule, PM Lee also expressed the wish that a tembusu tree he planted yesterday, in honour of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, will be standing "big and strong" when that day in 2065 comes.

The time capsule, which contains items capturing the outpouring of emotions from Singaporeans at Mr Lee's death, will be buried in Tanjong Pagar, where Mr Lee was MP for 60 years.

Mr Lee died on March 23 at age 91.

The tembusu, a sturdy and evergreen hardwood, was a favourite of Mr Lee's, said PM Lee in Tanjong Pagar yesterday.

Addressing 300 grassroots volunteers, he said: "The tembusu tree will be here if you nurture it, protect it, make it grow big and strong, and have it still blossoming and providing shade for you and your grandchildren's grandchildren when you celebrate SG100.

"It is the same for Singapore. If we build our nation, over the next 50 years, as one united people, then Singapore will go from success to success."

In his long political career, Mr Lee never missed his yearly tree-planting date with his Tanjong Pagar ward, noted PM Lee.

"This effort symbolised his vision of a Clean and Green Singapore, and his conviction that it is our duty to plant trees to lay the foundations for the next generation," said PM Lee.

The 30kg stainless steel time capsule, meanwhile, is "an effort to help the next generation understand what the late Mr Lee meant to this generation", said Tanjong Pagar MP Indranee Rajah, who is also Senior Minister of State for Law and Education.

It includes tribute notes, newspaper reports, a copy of Mr Lee's book Hard Truths, and a Group Representation Constituency newsletter with a report of his final community appearance - a tree-planting event at Bukit Merah View in November last year.

PM Lee said yesterday that no one can predict what the next 50 years hold, just as the transformation of Tanjong Pagar over the past 50 years has defied imagination.

When Mr Lee first stood for election in 1955, it was a poor neighbourhood of coolies which he chose to represent over the merchants and landlords of Tanglin.

Today, hosting landmarks such as the Pinnacle@Duxton, Tanjong Pagar offers standards of living that are the highest in the world.

The Tanjong Pagar story is the Singapore story, said PM Lee.

"None of us can imagine what Tanjong Pagar will be like 50 years from now, when the time capsule is opened," he said.

"Certainly, the world will have changed, certainly Singapore will have changed. It may change for the better, it may change for the worse, but it will certainly not be the same as today."

PM Lee urged young Singaporeans in the audience to return for the date of the time capsule's opening - and make the 50 years that will pass in the meantime worthy of celebration.

Insurance agent Tan Ying Jie, 32, said yesterday that she hoped to make the date.

"I envision Singapore to be better than where we are today, and to have the same kind of stability and racial harmony that we have."

At yesterday's ceremony, the Tanjong Pagar grassroots organisation also unveiled a memorial plaque decorated with handmade beads and incorporating petals from the flowers Singaporeans left over the week-long mourning period last month.

In addition, they debuted a fragrant garden which features Mr Lee's favourite scented plants, including gardenia. And in the nearby Orchid Garden, the hybrid orchids named after Mr Lee and his wife, the late Madam Kwa Geok Choo, will be placed.

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Memorial tree planted at Duxton Plain Park in honour of Lee Kuan Yew
By Sara Grosse, Channel NewsAsia, 25 Apr 2015

In honour of Singapore's Founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who died about a month ago, a memorial tree was planted at Duxton Plain Park on Sunday (Apr 25).

The ceremony was witnessed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, along with some 500 residents from the late Mr Lee's Tanjong Pagar constituency. They also filled a time capsule - which will be opened on SG 100 - the centenary of Singapore's independence.

As the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew would plant a tree in Tanjong Pagar every year on Tree Planting Day, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said it was only fitting to plant a tree in his father's constituency in memory of him.

Mr Lee was known as Singapore's Chief Gardener, playing a transformative role in turning Singapore into a garden city. The tembusu tree planted in his honour is a large evergreen tree that is native to Singapore. It was also a favourite of Mr Lee's.

PM Lee said: "The whole tree is covered with small cream-coloured flowers, which give off a distinctive fragrance. Mr Lee liked tembusu trees. This tembusu will provide shade and beauty for residents and their children for years to come."

A memorial plaque has also been placed at Duxton Plain Park for the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Surrounding the plaque are beads which have been made by grassroots leaders and residents from Tanjong Pagar and Tiong Bahru. What is special about these beads is that they incorporate flower petals from the floral tributes that were given by Singaporeans during the national mourning period.

Tanjong Pagar was where Mr Lee Kuan Yew started his political career. He chose it because it was a "working class area".

PM Lee said in the 60 years that the late Mr Lee represented the constituency, it went from one of the poorest areas in the city to being part of a prosperous, modern metropolis.

"The Tanjong Pagar story is the Singapore story," said PM Lee. "60 years ago, there were no HDB flats. Public health and sanitation was poor. You didn't have flush toilets. So no one could imagine in 1955 that Singapore, that Tanjong Pagar, would be like this today.

"No one would have believed that 60 years later, Tanjong Pagar residents would enjoy one of the highest standards of living in Asia, with many well-paying jobs to choose from, attending good schools, receiving good healthcare, and enjoying opportunities to travel and to experience the world."

In order that future generations of Singaporeans can understand what Mr Lee Kuan Yew meant to the nation, a time capsule will be buried in the grounds of Tanjong Pagar Community Club.

The Prime Minister helped to fill the time capsule with several items, ranging from get-well cards to the late Mr Lee, to various newspaper articles published during the National Mourning Period.

The capsule also contains the Time Nor Tide DVD, Mr Lee’s book Hard Truths - which the Tanjong Pagar Community and Pictorial Books published in 1997, as well as the Tanjong Pagar GRC newsletter reporting on Mr Lee’s last community appearance for a tree planting event at Bukit Merah View in November 2014.

The time capsule will only be opened in 2065, when Singapore celebrates SG100.

PM Lee also put in the very speech he delivered at the time capsule ceremony. "I won’t be here to see SG100, I don't think, although some of you will," he said. "But I certainly hope that the tembusu tree will still be here. And it will be here if you nurture and protect it, make it grow big and strong, and have it still blossoming and providing shade for you and for your grandchildrens' children when you celebrate SG100.

"It is the same for Singapore. If we build our nation over the next 50 years as one united people, then Singapore will go from success to success. And 50 years from now, Tanjong Pagar will be a special place, for Singaporeans to enjoy to make the most of and to be proud of."

PM Lee also joined a thank you reception for the grassroots leaders who had helped the late Mr Lee in his constituency over the years as well as those who had helped at the Tanjong Pagar Community Tribute site.

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