Saturday 5 March 2016

Groups plan activities to mark Lee Kuan Yew's legacy

At least 100 events are being held this month, as first anniversary of his death approaches
By Rachel Au-Yong and Pearl Lee, The Straits Times, 4 Mar 2016

As the first anniversary of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's death approaches, groups of Singaporeans are planning activities to commemorate the legacy of the country's founding Prime Minister.

At least 100 events are being organised by individuals and community groups this month, People's Association (PA) deputy chairman Chan Chun Sing said during a visit to Yio Chu Kang Community Club on Wednesday.

These activities include a tree-planting exercise at Jurong Lake Park - a nod to Mr Lee's campaign to green the country - and a brisk walk at Sembawang Park to celebrate his commitment to stay healthy. The late Mr Lee made it a point to exercise daily.

In Tanjong Pagar, the constituency he represented for 60 years, residents and grassroots leaders will host two events, including a remembrance service at Tanjong Pagar Community Club on March 23.

Mr Lee was more than a leader to the residents, said Senior Minister of State Indranee Rajah, an adviser to grassroots organisations in Tanjong Pagar GRC.

"He was also their MP, with whom they had a close bond and a direct relationship," she said. "We thought we should do something to remember Mr Lee... we also wanted to look forward, building on his legacy."

Meanwhile, the National University of Singapore's Harmonica Orchestra is dedicating its annual concert on March 25 to Mr Lee's memory. Short clips on his life will be screened alongside songs like Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, the opening piece at his state funeral.

"For our Singaporean members, the concert is a good time for personal reflection. And for our members who are not Singaporeans, it is an opportunity to remember the man who made it possible for us to receive a good education in a wonderful country," said the orchestra's secretary Le Ngoc Ha Nhu.

Adding to the ordinary folk's efforts are four remembrance events - three by the PA and one by the Silent No More network.

Silent No More, founded in July last year by 25-year-old Jaromel Gee as a private Facebook group, is made up of People's Action Party (PAP) supporters who counter negative comments about the party online.

Mr Gee is getting about 150 of its more than 5,000 members to organise a candlelight rally at the Padang on March 23, the day Mr Lee died. He was 91.

Volunteers will hand out electric candlelights to passers-by who will be asked to fill the Padang, where hundreds of thousands of people had queued for hours a year ago to pay their last respects to Mr Lee at Parliament House.

Lighting Our Way Forward Remembering Lee Kuan Yew
Lighting Our Way Forward in remembrance of our founding father Lee Kuan Yew Date: 23 March 2016Time: From 6.30pmVenue: Old Supreme Court (The Grand Steps)For an enduring Home Truly. Light our way forward by doing our duty and our part and upholding the values that Mr Lee held as fundamental and foundational. Video Credit: Silent No More
Posted by Singapore Matters on Friday, March 18, 2016

Mr Gee, who owns a trading company and is a PAP member, said the effort is neither endorsed nor supported by the party. He said his decision to organise the rally was prompted by the spirit Mr Lee engendered. "He brought Singaporeans together and we queued for hours to pay our last respects. With this event, we hope to tell Singaporeans to move on, carrying his spirit," he said.

The PA events will be held at three sites picked for their association with Mr Lee - Tanjong Pagar, Parliament House along the Singapore River, and the Istana Park in Orchard Road.

Panels of photographs and short write-ups on Mr Lee's contributions will be erected at these sites for people to reflect on his legacy.

The PA is holding the events following queries from several people on whether there would be any events to remember Mr Lee, said Mr Chan, a Cabinet Minister who is also secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress.

"We don't see it as a session for us to grieve or be sad, but a celebration of Mr Lee's life work and values, and what he had given us to build the future," said Mr Chan.

Tanjong Pagar resident Sunny Lim, a retired hawker, plans to attend at least one commemorative event.

Said the 67-year-old: "It's been a year (since his passing) but we still need to remind ourselves of what he had done for us."


WHAT: Three remembrance sites with panels displaying photographs and write-ups on Mr Lee Kuan Yew's contributions

WHERE: Duxton Plain Park, Parliament House and Istana Park

WHEN: March 19 to 27

WHAT: An Orchid Pavilion showcasing a pottery piece depicting Aranda Lee Kuan Yew and Vanda Kwa Geok Choo. There will also be terrarium- making and tree-planting activities.

WHERE: Duxton Plain Park and Orchid Pavilion in Tanjong Pagar Plaza

WHEN: March 19, 4.30pm to 9.30pm

WHAT: A brisk walk and family carnival

WHERE: Sembawang Park

WHEN: March 20, 7.30am to 10.30am

WHAT: Water activities, to signify the lengths to which Mr Lee tried to make Singapore self-sufficient in water and create scenic homefronts.

WHERE: Punggol Waterway Park

WHEN: March 20, 7.30am to 10am

Come join us on 20 March at Punggol Waterway to celebrate Mr Lee's life and the life-giving water he worked so hard to...
Posted by Teo Chee Hean on Thursday, March 3, 2016

WHAT: Tree-planting

WHERE: Jurong Lake Park

WHEN: March 23, 7.45am to 8.45am

WHAT: Silent Candlelight Rally - people will be given electric candles to form a ribbon image on the Padang

WHERE: Padang

WHEN: March 23, 6.30pm to 8pm

WHAT: Remembrance service at which residents, including two young children, will share their thoughts on Mr Lee and light candles.

WHERE: Tanjong Pagar Community Club

WHEN: March 23, 6.30pm to 9.30pm

WHAT: Concert by NUS Harmonica Orchestra. Ticket prices range from $18 to $36.

WHERE: Victoria Concert Hall

WHEN: March 25, 7.30pm

Paintings of late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's Oxley Road house in art show
Two watercolours of house by top Singapore artist Ong Kim Seng to be exhibited soon
By Leong Weng Kam, Senior Writer, The Sunday Times, 13 Mar 2016

Founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's house will be "preserved" - at least in watercolour - by top Singapore artist Ong Kim Seng.

Mr Ong, 70, will be showing paintings of the Oxley Road house during his two-week-long solo exhibition at a local gallery starting next Sunday, just three days ahead of the late Mr Lee's first death anniversary.

Mr Ong, a Cultural Medallion recipient who was commissioned by Mr Lee's younger son, Hsien Yang, to do one of the paintings, said he completed the work last September.

It shows the modestly-furnished pre-war bungalow at 38, Oxley Road in its original condition back in the early 1950s.

He has borrowed it from the family for show at artcommune gallery in Bras Basah Complex, which also features another work of the house he did recently, and 30 other paintings he painted of scenes in Italy, Nepal, China, and Bali, as well as some old Singapore ones.

On his paintings of the old house, Mr Ong said he included them for the show, titled Exotic Sunlight, because they fitted its theme.

"I painted the house in morning sun and since it was where Mr Lee had lived for more than half a century till he passed away a year ago, I'd like to share the work with other Singaporeans as well."

He felt privileged to be given the task to paint the house, which he took two weeks to accomplish.

He said he is very grateful to Mr Lee's younger son for allowing him to show the painting, with the condition that a quote from the last will of his father be attached to it throughout the duration of the exhibition.

It reads: "It is my wish, and the wish of my late wife Kwa Geok Choo, that our house at 38, Oxley Road, Singapore 238629 be demolished immediately after my death or, if my daughter, Wei Ling, would prefer to continue living in the original house, immediately after she moves out of the House."

Mr Ong said Mr Lee Hsien Yang has also agreed to open his exhibition as the guest of honour.

The fate of the house has not been decided by the Government yet.

It was in the news after Mr Lee's death when his daughter, Wei Ling and younger son, Hsien Yang issued a statement as executors of their father's last will in which they outlined their father's wishes.

His eldest son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also told Parliament last April that a decision on the fate of the house was not required yet as his sister would continue to live there.

There was some debate last year on whether the house should be preserved for its historical value or demolished according to the late Mr Lee's wishes.

But a survey by market research firm YouGov last year found that 77 per cent of the 1,000 people polled wanted the house torn down.

On the eventual fate of the house, Mr Ong said: "I am happy I painted it because if it were to be demolished in the end, at least I can say I painted it when it was still around."

New tour sheds light on Mr Lee's private life
Four-hour tour takes visitors to key sites, such as founding PM's childhood estate
By Benjamin Tan, The Straits Times, 17 Mar 2016

For breakfast, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew preferred unsweetened bean curd and plain water. He apparently liked his beer at room temperature. And he kept a photo of his wife, Madam Kwa Geok Choo, in front of his cycling machine when he exercised.

The story of Mr Lee's political life and legacy is well established, but how much is known about the man behind the public persona?

"About Mr Lee", a new guided four-hour tour by local firm Tribe, aims to answer that by exploring the private life of Singapore's founding Prime Minister, which he guarded fiercely.

The tour, launched yesterday, weaves through key locations associated with Mr Lee - such as his offices at Old Parliament House, and lesser-known spots, such as Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant, which was one of his favourite restaurants - as it explores his roles as the eldest son, a lifelong learner, family man and doting husband.

Tribe co-founder and tour curator Jason Loe saw a potential gap in the public's awareness of Mr Lee's life.

"He kept the glare of the media away from his mum and also his children," said the 42-year-old, who hopes that this tour can be his small contribution to Singapore.

"There's so much interesting material about Mr Lee, and more so about his private life."

'About Mr. Lee'
Posted by Tribe on Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The first stop on the tour is the Civilian War Memorial that pays tribute to the lives lost during the Japanese Occupation.

The occupation was key in shaping Mr Lee's political aspirations.

The tour, which proceeds mostly by bus, also visits Mr Lee's childhood neighbourhood in Tembeling Road, an area steeped in the Peranakan heritage that his family is a part of.

Nearby is Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant, from where Mr Lee ordered otak-otak and other dishes for Istana events.

Eventually, the tour reaches Tanjong Pagar, Mr Lee's constituency of almost 60 years, and then his family home in Oxley Road.

Along the way, guides share stories of how Mr Lee spent time with his family and imparted the lessons of frugality and fidelity to his three children.

Tribe co-founder Cheong Yoke Chan, 43, highlighted how Mr Lee diligently nurse his wife back to health after her strokes.

"Mr Lee's father had an explosive temper. But despite all that, he (Mr Lee) could still portray such a fatherly figure to all his kids," she said.

All the money earned from March's tours will go to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, which helps children from low-income families through school. After that, 10 per cent of earnings each month will go to charity.

The tour runs every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Mandarin-speaking tours are available on weekends. Tickets from $30 are available at

Oil paintings of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, scenes of old Singapore collected in new book
By Rachel Chia, The Straits Times, 17 Mar 2016

The 70,000 people who visited an exhibition of oil paintings of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew last year during the SG50 celebrations liked the works so much that about 1,000 of them requested the images to be put into a book.

That is exactly what the paintings' owner, retiree Vincent Chua, did. The Singapore Story, a 48-page book, was launched yesterday at The Arts House by Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, just a week before the first anniversary of Mr Lee's death. The event was attended by 23 diplomats from countries including China and Israel.

Dr Balakrishnan called the book "the effort of a proud Singapore citizen". It features 80 oil paintings - about half of which depict the late Mr Lee and the other half, scenes of old Singapore.

They are from the personal collection of Mr Chua, 72, who was the manager of an insurance company.

"These paintings show Singapore's development from its early days to today... They also present a visual history lesson for young Singaporeans, who did not live through the early tumultuous times," said Mr Chua, who began commissioning these paintings from artists in China from 2008.

The first piece in his collection was a commissioned oil paint rendition of a photograph showing Mr Lee shaking hands with former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1978. Mr Chua bought the photo from a flea market in Chinatown in 2007.

Mr Chua continued commissioning paintings for the next six years, and would spend hours searching for photographs to base the paintings on from flea markets and the National Archives of Singapore.

In 2011, one of Mr Chua's paintings was spotted by Mr Lee during a dinner at Raffles Institution, where the paintings were displayed temporarily. Mr Lee said it was "a very good likeness".

Mr Chua hopes some of the paintings will be included in the upcoming Founders' Memorial. His book, which costs $128 including delivery, can be purchased online at

Guidelines released on proper use of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s name, image
By Pearl Lee, The Straits Times, 17 Mar 2016

As corporations, agencies, community groups and individuals begin to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of Mr Lee Kuan Yew on March 23 last year, the Government yesterday released guidelines on the appropriate use of his name and image.

The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth noted in a statement that since the founding Prime Minister's death, individuals and organisations have commemorated him in different ways.

And in response to feedback, it looked into ways to encourage the appropriate use of his name and image, and yesterday released three broad guidelines:
- Mr Lee's name or image or likeness may be used for the purposes of identifying with the nation, including on works of art or publications, or items for charitable purposes, in accordance with the law.
- Mr Lee's name or image or likeness should be accorded dignity and respect.
- His name or image or likeness should not be used for commercial exploitation or be assumed or taken to indicate any kind of official endorsement of products or services.
The ministry will continue to monitor the use of Mr Lee's name and image.

In May last year, the Government said it was looking to legally protect Mr Lee's name and image to prevent its commercial use and exploitation. The guidelines are timely given the many activities taking place on and around the March 23 anniversary.

Businessman Jaromel Gee, 25, is planning a candlelight rally. The event banner features a black and white silhouette of Mr Lee's face.

He welcomes the guidelines as "there have been instances of organisations exploiting Mr Lee's name and image for their own gains". "But Mr Lee belongs to Singaporeans, and if they want to use his name and image they should be able to do so within reasonable means," he said.

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