Wednesday 23 March 2016

Remembering Lee Kuan Yew: One Year On

Nation to remember Lee Kuan Yew today
Tree-planting, forum among events to commemorate his death one year on
By Charissa Yong and Ng Huiwen, The Straits Times, 23 Mar 2016

Across Singapore, events from tree-planting ceremonies to an academic forum and a morning walk take on special significance today.

They are among the activities planned by various groups to commemorate the death of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at age 91 this day last year.

Organisers said these events are meant to celebrate his life as a reminder to Singaporeans of what it took for modern Singapore to be built, and what it will take to ensure the country's success.

Singapore Polytechnic student Fu Kah Deng, 19, hopes they will be "a call to action for Singaporeans to work hard", in keeping with what Mr Lee stood for.

At a remembrance ceremony that will start at 11am at The Arts House, past and present MPs will pay tribute to Mr Lee by remembering the values he stood for and the principles he upheld in Parliament.

The venue - home to Singapore's Legislative Assembly which Mr Lee entered in 1955, and to its Parliament from 1965 to 1999 - was where Mr Lee delivered many of his fiery speeches as an assemblyman and, later, as Prime Minister.

In Tanjong Pagar, the constituency Mr Lee represented for nearly 60 years until his death last year, residents and grassroots leaders will gather at Tanjong Pagar Community Club this evening to share their thoughts on Mr Lee and their aspirations for Singapore.

Vera Ang, 11, is among those slated to speak and she plans to talk about Mr Lee's "spirit of standing firm".

Pupils at Mr Lee's alma mater, Telok Kurau Primary, will also pay tribute to him. A special assembly will be held in his honour at the school he attended from 1930 to 1935.

At night, a group of volunteers, brought together by People's Action Party supporters, plans to hand out electric candles to passers-by across from the Padang, where over 450,000 people queued for hours last year to pay their last respects to Mr Lee.

There will also be exhibitions at various museums. A new video installation by local film-maker Royston Tan will be screened at National Museum. It showcases photographs of Singaporeans during last year's week of national mourning. Also on display is an artillery shell casing from the 21-gun salute fired during Mr Lee's state funeral procession.

A selection of the more than 1.3 million tributes - including letters, notes, cards and artworks - that poured in after his death will be put up at the National Library.

"It's not common for Singapore to celebrate an individual this way, and it shouldn't be a spectacle," said National University of Singapore (NUS) undergraduate Nhor Sharafina Sarfrazul, 22. "But Mr Lee was someone who did a lot for the country and there is a need to remember him."

Yesterday, unionists held a ceremony to remember Mr Lee's contributions to the labour movement.

As a young lawyer, Mr Lee represented more than 50 unions to fight for better wages for workers.

National Trades Union Congress secretary-general Chan Chun Sing, together with more than 100 union leaders, resolved to build upon Mr Lee's legacy.

Said Mr G. Muthukumarasamy, general secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Public Daily Rated Workers: "Mr Lee may not be with us, but his philosophy never ends."

At a separate event by the non-profit SG100 Foundation, set up to link young local entrepreneurs with experienced older mentors, 600 young Singaporeans and corporate leaders pledged to keep Singapore going beyond SG100.

Its co-founder Vernon Yim, 23, said: "Mr Lee said he didn't want any monuments, but we want to carry on his legacy and continue his vision for Singapore to succeed. This is our way of doing so."

Remembering Mr Lee Kuan Yew
To mark the first year anniversary of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's passing, Singaporeans came together islandwide to remember Mr Lee and the values that he and his team of founding leaders stood for. Let's look back at some of the memories from these remembrance events. #RememberingLKY #RememberingLeeKuanYew #FollowThatRainbow
Posted by The People's Association on Thursday, March 24, 2016

Singapore remembers Mr Lee Kuan Yew and what he stood for
By Tham Yuen-C, Assistant Political Editor, The Straits Times, 24 Mar 2016

Some laid down bouquets outside the Istana and Parliament House, and many, with heads bowed, observed a minute of silence at memorial events across the island yesterday.

However, gone were the red eyes, tear-streaked faces and the grief on display a year ago. Instead, there was gratitude as Singaporeans remembered Mr Lee Kuan Yew on the first anniversary of his death.

They credited the founding Prime Minister for inspiring resilience, fostering harmonious ties among people of different races and dedicating his life to building the nation.

And most of all, for ensuring, along with his pioneer team of leaders, that Singapore would survive and thrive without them.

At a special assembly in her school, which Mr Lee attended as a child, Telok Kurau Primary pupil Tharita Surendran, 11, said: "He really takes Singapore as family."

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Cabinet colleagues pledged to uphold Mr Lee's ethos and values: "These will guide us as we, in turn, follow the rainbow that Mr Lee himself chased all his life - to build an exceptional nation and to improve the lives of all Singaporeans."

In remarks to his ministers before their regular weekly meeting, PM Lee recounted how Cabinet meetings with Mr Lee were open, interactive and dynamic.

Earlier, past and present MPs attended a remembrance ceremony at the former Parliament House where Mr Lee made his mark.

Former Speaker Abdullah Tarmugi recalled how Mr Lee was always "proper", adding that he " made it a point to write a note to the Speaker every time he was unable to come to Parliament for the day".

At locations where Singaporeans came together during the week of national mourning last year - Parliament House, Istana Park and Tanjong Pagar - passers-by stopped to look at panels of photographs and write-ups that were put up by the People's Association.

Some came specially to place flowers, such as retiree Anthony Low, 63, and his wife, Ms Teng Yam Choo, 60, who live in Clementi.

Ms Teng said: "I am most grateful for the racial harmony Mr Lee promoted. A lot of the conflicts in the world now are based on racial issues."

Madam Lina Fatimah, 70, who attended a ceremony in Geylang Serai, said: "Mr Lee Kuan Yew is my role model. He had a clean and good heart."

Some did what Mr Lee would have done: 600 people went on a brisk walk across town, while another group planted 53 mempat trees in Jurong.

Mr Lee, who died at the age of 91 last year, had always made time for exercise. He was also known as "Singapore's chief gardener".

These regular activities show that life goes on, the events' organisers said, just as Mr Lee would have wanted it.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew is one of the most influential political figures in Singapore history. As the first and...
Posted by National Library Singapore on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lee Kuan Yew's Cabinet meetings an 'open, interactive, dynamic process'
Speaking at start of weekly Cabinet session, PM Lee recounts how his father ran things
By Walter Sim, The Straits Times, 24 Mar 2016

It was an unusual start yesterday to the weekly Cabinet meeting.

To mark the first anniversary of the death of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, the first 10 minutes of the usually closed-door meeting was streamed live on the Facebook page of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. It showed him addressing the Cabinet as he gave an insight into the way Mr Lee mentored the younger ministers.

When he was the prime minister, Mr Lee kept an eagle eye on every aspect of Singapore, said PM Lee.

"Yet (he) knew that he could not control everything personally, and that even more so another prime minister would have to govern in a different way.

"He advised us that one could not use 10 fingers to catch 10 fleas, quoting Mao (Zedong). One had to focus on the important things and build a team," PM Lee recounted.

Live from the Cabinet room: PM Lee and Cabinet members remember Mr Lee Kuan Yew on the first anniversary of his passing(PMO Video by Alex Qiu and Chiez How)#RememberingLeeKuanYew#RememberingLKY
Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mr Lee also made an enormous effort to ensure that those who came after him succeeded in the running of the country, he added.

The Prime Minister pledged that his Cabinet ministers would hold firm to the ethos and values Mr Lee had stood and fought for as they face new challenges in a changing world.

PM Lee was wearing a badge with the phrase "follow that rainbow", used by Mr Lee in 1996 to urge Singaporeans to chase their dreams.

The Cabinet then observed a minute of silence.

PM Lee spoke in the very room where the late Mr Lee had chaired or attended meetings for four decades. He said: "This Cabinet room was Mr Lee's command tent, where issues were examined and debated, decisions were taken, instructions given and progress tracked."

He added that Mr Lee's Cabinet meetings were an "open, interactive, dynamic process".

After Mr Lee stepped aside as prime minister in 1990, he continued to attend Cabinet meetings as senior minister until 2004, and then as minister mentor until 2011.

"So for nearly half a century, here in this room, we had a level of discussion and decision-making that would have been exceptional in any Cabinet room in the world."

Mr Lee would recount the history and considerations behind the topics at hand so that the Cabinet was aware of the context when making fresh decisions, PM Lee said.

"He was mindful that before removing a fence, one had to understand why it had been put there in the first place," he added.

But Mr Lee also encouraged ministers holding different views to argue their cases and he was prepared to make hard decisions.

To illustrate this, PM Lee cited the decision to cut Central Provident Fund contribution rates in 1985, when Singapore suffered its first recession since independence.

Mr Lee had systematically raised contributions to 50 per cent of wages during a period of rapid growth, PM Lee recounted.

But the Economic Committee - which PM Lee had chaired at the time when he was minister of state for Trade and Industry - concluded that costs had got out of line and a reverse in policy was needed to jump-start the economy. His ministry proposed cutting the rate from 50 per cent to 40 per cent.

"Then to our surprise, he (Mr Lee) said if you are going to do it, do it properly. Forty per cent is neither here nor there. Make a decisive move and cut it to 35 per cent.

"Furthermore, cut only the employer's contributions. Do not cut employees' contributions to increase take-home pay. That may sweeten the package, but it will do nothing to make us more competitive," PM Lee recounted.

This was a lesson "not just in economic management but in political leadership", PM Lee said.

It was through such lessons that three generations of younger ministers have "benefited from Mr Lee's experience and insights, his views and concerns, and increasingly, his thoughts for Singapore's future".

PM Lee said: "Now we are a new team, dealing with a changed world in new ways, but always inspired by Mr Lee's example and his memory, and holding firm the ethos and the values that he stood and fought for.

"These will guide us as we, in turn, follow the rainbow that Mr Lee himself chased all his life: to build an exceptional nation and to improve the lives of all Singaporeans."

Parliamentarians, Old Guard leaders pay tribute to Mr Lee
By Pearl Lee, The Straits Times, 24 Mar 2016

The Chamber of the Old Parliament House was where the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew delivered some of his most fiery speeches, and where some of the country's landmark laws were passed.

Yesterday, past and present parliamentarians filled the historic hall of the building, now called The Arts House, to pay tribute to Singapore's founding Prime Minister on the first anniversary of his death.

They included Old Guard leaders Ong Pang Boon and Jek Yuen Thong, current Cabinet ministers, Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang, and former MP and presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock.

A spray of yellow hybrid orchids named Aranda Lee Kuan Yew was aptly placed on the seat Mr Lee had occupied - a bittersweet reminder of his long years building up Singapore.

Leader of the House Grace Fu, in her opening address at the remembrance ceremony, said the history of Parliament would be incomplete without a mention of the late Mr Lee, the country's first Prime Minister from 1959 to 1990.

His abiding vision of Singapore as a multiracial nation ensured that the protection of minority rights and representation were enshrined in our Constitution," said Ms Fu, who is the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth.

"Mr Lee's personal leadership helped set the tone and shaped the Parliament that we know today."

Mr Lee was 31 years old when he won the seat of Tanjong Pagar in Singapore's Legislative Assembly election in 1955. He was the constituency'sMP until he died last year at age 91.

Mr Abdullah Tarmugi, former Speaker of Parliament and former Cabinet minister, became emotional as he recounted his memories of Mr Lee.

Mr Abdullah, who entered Parliament after the 1984 General Election, recalled that he was both proud to be speaking in Parliament, and nervous as he worried about what Mr Lee thought of him.

"When I spoke, I was looking at the ceiling, at the Speaker... to avoid (Mr Lee's) gaze."

He said that at an earlier lunch with Mr Lee, the late prime minister could sense he was intimidated by his presence.

"He was extra calm and gentle... He wanted me to be myself, do what was right", he added, and "not pander to what others thought of, or wanted me, to be".

Former deputy prime minister Wong Kan Seng, a former Leader of the House who was first elected to Parliament in 1984, said Mr Lee was always frank and open with his views. Mr Lee also paid attention to things big and small, he added.

"In one of the lunches I had with him as a new minister in the 1980s, he explained that ministers should drive so they could see the road condition for themselves."

When plans were made to build a new Parliament building as the old one was no longer adequate, Mr Lee reminded Mr Wong, who was then the Leader of the House, not to build a grandiose monument.

"Taking this sound advice, we built a new functional Parliament House in proportion to our prudent approach to public spending," said Mr Wong.

Earlier at The Arts House, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong opened a permanent exhibition titled The Parliament In Singapore History.

It traces chronologically the history and milestones of the building, and of Singapore's Parliament.

The exhibition will be opened to the public from today until May 29.

Yesterday, I joined Parliamentarians, Cabinet colleagues and my father’s previous constituents to mark the one-year...
Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

WATCH: Current and former parliamentarians gathered at the Old Parliament House to remember Mr Lee Kuan Yew as PM Lee Hsien Loong and Grace Fu launch a new exhibition on the history of Singapore's Parliament. #RememberingLKY
Posted by 938LIVE on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Dawn to dusk events mark day Mr Lee Kuan Yew died
Morning walk, tree planting and candlelight ceremony among events to remember him
By Sanjay Nair and Rachel Au-Yong, The Straits Times, 24 Mar 2016

Mr Lee Kuan Yew's commitment to exercising daily inspired 600 people to gather at Dhoby Ghaut Green before dawn yesterday to mark the first death anniversary of Singapore's first prime minister.

They went on a 2.8km brisk walk that took them close by Mr Lee's home in Oxley Road.

Education centre owner Jean Ho, 50, who was with her husband, said the event organised by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry was "a meaningful way for us to remember our dear Mr Lee's legacy".

"He embodies the fighting spirit of our forefathers, and he taught us the importance of having a harmonious society," she said.

"Living together in peace with people of other races is something we cannot take for granted, and is one of the things I am grateful to the late Mr Lee for."

Today, my wife and I, together with some of the staff from my office, visited the Lee Kuan Yew Remembrance Site at the...
Posted by Dr Tony Tan on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

From pre-schoolers clutching flowers to retirees holding cherished memories, thousands of Singaporeans turned up at remembrance events across the island.

Organisers said the activities are to celebrate Mr Lee's life and remind Singaporeans of what it took to build a nation, and what it will take to ensure its success.

In the morning, a group of 30 pupils and teachers from Pat's Schoolhouse at Prinsep visited a memorial site in Istana Park, where they placed sunflowers on the ground and had a quick history lesson.

Teacher Mayce Wu took her charges on a tour of the panels, emphasising the values that Mr Lee held dear: social cohesion, racial harmony and resilience.

Part-time bus cleaner Toh Hock Kee, 65, travelled from his home in Jurong East to the park. He said he still keeps newspaper cuttings on Mr Lee and added: "Looking at them brings tears to my eyes."

Retiree Anthony Low, 63, came from Clementi with his wife: "I came to remember him and his contributions. He gave us a safe country and dared to make difficult decisions that helped us to progress."

Telok Kurau Primary, which Mr Lee attended from 1930 to 1935, held a special assembly.

Slides of his famous quotes were shown to pupils, some of whom spoke of how he inspired them.

Said 11-year-old Yee Jia Rong: "He wanted us to be strong and free, and he believed we could do it and never looked down on us."

At Jurong Lake Park, more than 350 residents from the area joined Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and planted 53 mempat trees. These will be part of the new Jurong Lake Gardens.

The campaign to plant trees was started in 1963 by Mr Lee, and led to Singapore's "greening".

Carrying a watering can, Shuqun Primary pupil Cedric Cheng, 12, said: "I'm proud to be able to continue his legacy through this tree-planting activity."

As part of a tribute to the greening movement set out by our Chief Gardener Mr Lee Kuan Yew, friends and family gathered...
Posted by NParks - Let's Make Singapore Our Garden on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

At Holy Tree Sri Balasubramaniar Temple in Yishun, devotees gathered for the Panguni Uthiram festival found it auspicious that it coincided with the anniversary.

Said Mr Kanapathy, 62, who goes by only one name: "If LKY were not here, I don't think we would have this multicultural society where we can all practise our religions and everybody respects one another."

President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, visited Istana Park in the afternoon, and he said he was touched to see Singaporeans from all walks of life honouring the memory of Mr Lee.

He said in a Facebook post: "I am confident that by continuing to remember and live out Mr Lee's values and passion for Singapore, Singaporeans can overcome whatever challenges that may come our way as one people, and keep our beloved nation shining brightly for many more years to come."

As the sun began to set, a group of volunteers turned on electric candles to form a ribbon on the former City Hall steps, and got passers-by to pen messages on the candles.

Madam Tan Sheau Yann, 45, who works in a bank and was with her husband and sister, said: "I wrote 'I miss you and thank you, Mr Lee'. We came here as we wanted to remember him."

At Tanjong Pagar Community Club, 600 residents gathered for an evening ceremony at which six speakers spoke about Mr Lee.

Zhangde Primary School pupil Saleem Haja Mydin, 12, said Mr Lee inspired him to want to use technology to "build on what our forefathers had left us".

Pinnacle@Duxton resident Vera Ang, 11, said she dreams of a day when Singapore would be covered by an invisible net that could "filter out the bad acts of terrorists".

"That way, the country Mr Lee worked so hard to build can be kept safe," she added.

She also said she enjoyed hanging out at her estate's sky garden.

Senior Minister of State Indranee Rajah, a Tanjong Pagar GRC MP, told Vera she would put a telescope there this year so that she and other residents can "reach for the stars".

Additional reporting by Ng Keng Gene, Wong Shiying, Samuel Mak and Rachel Chia

Singaporeans across the island participated in various remembrance events organised by fellow residents and grassroots...
Posted by The People's Association on Sunday, March 20, 2016

New workbook for students on what Lee stood for launched
By Clement Yong, The Straits Times, 24 Mar 2016

Stories of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's courage, tenacity and even his frugality are now told in a new book for secondary school students, titled LKY: Follow That Rainbow, Go Ride It.

The workbook was launched at Bendemeer Secondary School yesterday, on the first anniversary of the founding Prime Minister's death.

The 64-page Straits Times Press publication is developed by The Straits Times Schools team and sponsored by Mapletree Investments and Singapore Power.

A total of 200,000 copies will be distributed to all secondary schools.

Sakethivell Ahrumugam, 14, one of the first to get a copy, found the design of the book appealing.

"The typography really attracted me. The contrast between the colourful cover and the black and white pictures also gives it a really nostalgic feel," said the Secondary 2 student at Bendemeer.

Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo, who launched the book, was struck by the poignant content.

She said the articles, such as one about Mr Lee's simple taste in clothes, made her recall her own interactions with him.

She recounted speaking with Mr Lee on a trip to Australia in 2007, when she had asked him why he was still carrying a briefcase from the 1970s.

Mr Lee replied matter-of-factly: "It still works."

His frugality was but one of many values that the workbook, which covers Mr Lee's life from 1923 to 2015, hopes to inspire in students.

Targeted at teenagers aged 12 to 18, it comprises newspaper articles, historical photographs and motivating activities structured around four values Mr Lee embodied: idealism, courage, resilience and tenacity.

The author, Ms Debra Ann Francisco - a former teacher and a correspondent specialising in news in education at The Straits Times - chose a value-centred approach as she hoped readers would discover these values in their own lives.

"I believe that teenagers have much to learn from how Mr Lee lived his life. The activities I created in the workbook aim to get students to dream big and set realistic goals in order to chase their own rainbows."

She shared the activities with 39 Secondary 2 students at Bendemeer, getting them to set goals they hope to realise in five, 10, or 20 years, an exercise that showed the importance of having a road map.

This is the second book inspired by Mr Lee that ST Press has produced for a young audience. The first book, What's Inside The Red Box, was published in December last year and is for children aged three to seven.

A year ago today, Mr Lee Kuan Yew left us. Tens of thousands queued for hours to pay their last respects at Parliament...
Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Posted by Lianhe Zaobao on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Getting on with it, as Lee Kuan Yew would have it
A year on, the nation that Lee Kuan Yew forged through sheer force of will continues to thrive. To keep doing so, Singapore will have to be bold and adapt to new challenges, just as he always did.
By Chua Mui Hoong, Opinion Editor, The Straits Times, 23 Mar 2016

In the end, Mr Lee Kuan Yew was able to Rest in Peace.

Singapore's founding Prime Minister has not had to make good his pledge that "even from my sickbed, even if you are going to lower me to the grave and I feel that something is going wrong, I will get up".

One year to the day he died - March 23, 2015 - Singapore bustles and hums along.

The Republic is home to the world's second-busiest port and lies at the tip of the world's second-busiest waterway. It was ranked the most-connected country in the world, according to the Connected Index rankings compiled by McKinsey Global Institute.

It remains the second most competitive economy in the world. Last year, it attracted 15.2 million tourists. Its dollar trades strongly. It is the world's third-richest country by gross domestic product per capita on a purchasing power parity basis (US$61,567), a measure of a country's wealth divided by its population, which takes into account inflation and living costs for comparison across countries.

As Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh observes: "One criterion of Lee Kuan Yew's success is that his passing has had no adverse consequences for Singapore.

"The reason is that he has left us with strong institutions and able and honest leaders in all sectors of Singapore's public life. He also left us with certain core values and principles. His legacy has therefore survived him."


Thousands of Singaporeans are setting time aside this week to remember Mr Lee.

Nur Haziqah, 16, was with schoolmates from Yishun Junior College at an open square in front of the Singapore Management University in Stamford Road, part of a throng of 1,500 Singaporeans of all races, young and old, taking part in a simple ceremony to commemorate the first anniversary of Mr Lee's death. On stage, four youths sang a specially composed song, which has an English chorus and stanzas in Malay, Mandarin and Tamil.

Nur Haziqah, hair neatly brushed away from her face, was sweating in her jacket and tie. A year ago, she had queued 10 hours with her mother to pay respects to Mr Lee. This Sunday morning, March 20, she was taking time out from studies, because "I want to thank him for all his contributions. Without him, Singapore would not be what it is today".

Her schoolmate, Mikal Sipanah, 16, nodded. Asked about his hopes for Singapore, he said: "That we will be sustainable and self-reliant, and not have to depend on others."

His reply would have cheered Mr Lee, who espoused self-reliance and resilience of a personal, fiscal and political kind.

At a nondescript building in the Bedok heartlands a few days earlier, an Indian man with a bald pate craned his neck to read what others before him had penned on a board for commemorative messages.

Then, because the next available writing space was at waist height, he knelt on one knee, oblivious to the dirt that might streak his white trousers. He penned in blue ink: "Your legacy, Our Principles to live by."

Cameras flashed, for this was Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. The place was the People's Action Party headquarters, and the occasion was the party's own ceremony to remember Mr Lee. A year after his death, the party Mr Lee founded in 1954 has become stronger. Six months ago, it defied historic trends to strengthen its mandate in the September 2015 General Election.

I asked Mr Tharman when he most misses Mr Lee. He pauses, then says that Mr Lee's legacy is everywhere, and that he thinks of Mr Lee even when he walks around his Jurong GRC estate, and sees people of all races and stations of life mingling and interacting.

Indeed, Mr Lee's legacy is Singapore - the city and its people.

He had promised an uncertain population in September 1965, when Singapore was a messy Third World town, that this would become a metropolis in 10 years - "Never fear!"

Together with an intrepid team of pioneer ministers, he helped secure Singapore's defence and safety; worked to ensure its water sufficiency; and coaxed a bunch of disparate peoples - who spoke different languages, worshipped different deities, and dreamt of going back to different ancestral lands - to put aside the past and become one nation in Singapore. Along the way, he half-coerced, half-cajoled them into improving their social habits.

His legacy is in the institutions that continue to form the bedrock of Singapore's success today: a stable political system that manages to get voters to support a capable, clean government with its eye on the long term; a highly competent and honest civil service; a thriving trade union movement; a grassroots network that reaches into the heartlands.

Mr Lee's legacy lives on, too, in the ease with which people of different races and religions interact in public spaces.

At a ceremony on Sunday organised by the ethnic-based self-help groups, Ms Rhama Sankaran, 58, was delighted to meet someone from the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry. She wanted to tap their network for a project in Little India to match low-income women with jobs.

Exclaiming at the serendipidity of standing next to a relevant contact, she said: "Lee Kuan Yew has brought us together!"

As he had in the emotional week of National Mourning when a nation came together.

Those of us who lived through that week will not forget the spontaneous outpouring of gratitude and grief, the snaking queues of people braving rain and heat to wait their turn to pay their respects to Mr Lee at the Parliament House, the sombre, reflective mood that prevailed throughout the island, the sharing of stories.

As historian Tan Tai Yong put it, "it was a moment, a point in time when we were given the occasion and circumstances to come together to celebrate, mourn and reflect".

Professor Tan, who is executive vice-president at Yale-NUS College, added: "We know that surges of patriotism happen in moments of accomplishments or crisis. Can this be sustained in normal circumstances? The signs are positive, but the maintenance of the bond has to be work-in-progress. It cannot be taken as a given."


A year is a long time in politics, but history has a longer lens. It will take years, even decades, before an objective, critical look at the titan that was Lee Kuan Yew can be attempted by historians and researchers.

But a year provides a sufficiently satisfactory juncture with which to start to assess Singapore after Lee Kuan Yew.

UniSIM senior lecturer Walter Theseira noted that all countries must examine the past critically to reflect and grow.

And given Mr Lee's own streak of unsentimental hard-headedness, "no matter how fondly we remember him, I think Mr Lee would have wanted clear-headed thinking more than fuzzy-minded praise".

A few commentators, asked their views on what aspects of Mr Lee's legacy might prove to be obstacles for the country, zoomed in on the same issue: over-centralised government.

Prof Tan noted that Singapore has a big state that permeates all levels of society. The result is a population that tends to look to the Government for answers.

Prof Tommy Koh added: "One obstacle is that the people have come to look to the Government to solve all their problems. The second obstacle is a certain arrogance in the attitude of the public sector that the Government knows best. It has become more of an issue now because the world has become more complex, the Government no longer has a monopoly on the knowledge or expertise in every field and we have a better-educated and empowered citizenry."

In their different ways, these observers point to the same problem in Singapore, when an over-dominant state defined by a strong-willed individual casts a long shadow over the nation, and other sectors (private, non-profit) and individuals don't thrive as well.

That paternalistic instinct in government remains, as does the habit among citizens of looking to the state, fostering a dependent, complaining culture. In this aspect, Singapore remains firmly under the shadow cast by Lee Kuan Yew.

But in many other areas, Singapore has begun to "grow up", as he once famously exhorted it to, and strike out on its own. It has done so for the last 26 years, after Mr Lee stepped down as Prime Minister in 1990, and especially after he retired from Cabinet in 2011.

Singapore's iconic skyline today - with the towers and sky deck of Marina Bay Sands - is a visual reminder of how the city has changed in a way its founder could not have imagined. He had declared in 1994 that casinos would be allowed here "over my dead body". Never one to fear changing his mind, he eventually came round to the Cabinet's point of view - to allow casinos to set up shop in Singapore as part of "integrated resorts" and to have Singapore host Formula 1 races - to boost the convention business and tourism. Once he had decided, he was vocal in defence of the policy.

In social policy, the country has moved beyond Lee Kuan Yew in many ways. Competitive meritocracy has been tempered by compassion and a broader definition of merit, with policies that recognise non-academic achievement in schools, for example.

In the years since Mr Lee left Cabinet, the Government has loosened its purse strings, with a growing array of subsidies and grants - not just for the very sick, the very old or the very poor who were the only ones permitted to get welfare payments in Mr Lee's Singapore.

Workers get wage top-ups, while their employers get wage subsidies to co-fund pay increases and to supplement wages for the elderly and the low-income. The average middle-income family gets subsidised healthcare, eldercare and childcare.

Last year, Singapore introduced universal health coverage via its MediShield Life plan - decades after Mr Lee shot down his deputy PM and erstwhile Health Minister Toh Chin Chye's appeal for a universal healthcare system.

And last year, the Government decided to give a monthly allowance to low-income elderly folks, in effect a pension payout which would once have been dismissed as unwise and unsound.

Taken together, the changes have softened the "every man for himself" capitalist ethos of Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore, where one works hard to fend for oneself (and one's immediate family), and the risks of financial difficulty brought by illness, old age or unemployment are borne by the individual.

Instead, there is more sharing of risks with the community, and the state. Ironically, in so doing, Singapore can be said to be coming full circle, returning to the socialist roots of its pioneers. Mr Lee after all began political life as a Fabian socialist, but changed his views after a few years in government.

He used to say in his later years that he was no longer in charge, and was a tad out of touch, and directed questions on policies, or Singapore's future, to the current crop of ministers.

In life and after death, Mr Lee casts a very big shadow. A lot of the shade provided is welcome. For example, the institutions built, the values of integrity, incorruptibility, meritocracy, multiracialism, fiscal discipline, provide space within which Singapore can grow deeper roots and thrive.


The question for Singapore in the future is whether it can emerge from the protective shade of Lee Kuan Yew to come into its own, much like a youth having to find his own way in the world.

A few people told me they think the post-LKY period began a few years ago, after he was past his political prime, and that Singapore already feels the impact of this.

In diplomatic circles, the feeling is that access to big powers' leaders is harder. Singapore punched above its weight in part because of the status and personality of Lee Kuan Yew. Robbed of that star appeal, leaders and diplomats will have to work harder to make Singapore relevant.

Within the public sector, a crop of high-profile corruption cases in recent years is cause for concern. It has taken 50 years for intolerance of corruption to be transplanted into Singapore, but it can be uprooted within a generation. Singapore fell from least corrupt nation in the world in 2010, to eighth in 2015, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. Its average rank was 5.24 from 1995 until 2015.

Today, a more assertive citizenry does not hesitate to excoriate the authorities when public services do not measure up to their expectations, such as over-frequent train disruptions or hospital lapses. Then the questions inevitably arise: Is Singapore beginning to slide into performance mediocrity, condoning sloppiness? What would Lee Kuan Yew have done?

Ironically, however, another segment of Singapore society would clearly like the country to go beyond thinking about what Mr Lee would have done.

After all, new circumstances call for fresh thinking and bold answers to both novel challenges and even recurring questions. Just as Mr Lee was never wedded to an idea or ideology, he would surely not want his solutions to the problems of his times codified into a system of thought to be unthinkingly applied to a different era. Singapore, he might continue to assert, should just do what works, and get on with it.

One year on, Singapore stands tall as a testament to the success of Lee Kuan Yew's life's work as the leader of this nation. Future generations will benefit from the shade provided by his values, ideas and institutions.

But to truly become great in the future, the Republic and its people will have to go beyond and do what Mr Lee and his pioneering team did - be bold and blaze a new trail.


Lee Kuan Yew's legacy
What has changed in Singapore one year after Mr Lee Kuan Yew died?And what is his legacy?


He was not a leader who stood apart from the people when that Singapore Story got going.

In the end ,some may have been intimidated by his stature perhaps after more than 50 years of being our leader; others who were political oppositionists found that there wasn't going to be enough space for them and Mr Lee Kuan Yew as he would brook nothing from those he deemed to be communists or communalists.

But we would not have come so far ifhe were simply standing on top of a mountain, ordering people around. People identified with him and his dream for the country and were caught up in the vision to build better lives for themselves because he made it seem so possible, in such practical ways, in ways that were close to home for the ordinary Singaporean.

- DR GILLIAN KOH, Deputy Director (Research), Institute of Policy Studies


His (Mr Lee's) avowed policy to centralise and dominate decision-making in all important aspects -political, social, economic- with a strong and efficient political party and Government is our greatest strength and weakness.

Our resilience as a nation still depends completely on the PAP and the civil service not stumbling or failing. The PAP and Government must have the confidence to embrace contests of ideas, new blood, and new thinking, internally and eventually externally.

Many countries and systems of government have stood the test of time. Few political parties have. Singapore might be the exception, but I don't want to pin our hopes for Singapore on us always being exceptional in every respect.

- DR WALTER THESEIRA, Senior lecturer, UniSIM


I am quite confident that Singapore will continue to do well in the post-Lee Kuan Yew era .He has laid strong foundations that have served us well. The two prime ministers who succeeded him have ensured that Singapore can thrive without Lee Kuan Yew at the helm, although one must acknowledge that his influence was very much felt right throughout.

Singapore will outlive Lee Kuan Yew, and from what I can see, it is business as usual one year after his death although a grateful nation continues to remember him and his contributions.

- PROFESSOR TAN TAI YONG, Executive Vice-President (Academic Affairs), Yale-NUSCollege


If I look at who I am, and my family, it's all due to that generation of leaders who have brought Singapore to this stage. My wife and I were beneficiaries of meritocracy, getting scholarships for further studies. Iama gynaecologist, my wife is a retired principal.

Has any thing changed in the last one year? I think people are more determined to see Singapore succeed according to the vision he spelt out, and I sense this especially in the youngsters-they want Singapore to succeed. There is so much hope for us, when we have young people with that kind of mindset. ''

- DR KEE WEI HEONG, 67, gynaecologist anda People's Action Party activist


I came to Singapore from China in October 1998, at the age of 18, to take up a scholarship to study at the National University of Singapore.

After I graduated, I got a job here. I met my wife on campus and we now have a daughter, who is two years plus, and a boy, nine months old. My parents and our home helper take care of the kids.

I decided to apply for citizenship because of my children. My wife and I weren't sure where to go at first. But then we had kids, and you study and research into the school system, and we decided we want our kids to go to primary school here, we want them to fully settle down here. The school system here encourages the learning of the Mother Tongue, the English standard is high, plus the Mathematics and Science are very good, compared to Europe and the United States.

I decided to take up Singapore citizenship this year. When I dropped my China citizenship, I felt a bit lost, but then I got my new passport, and I felt very happy. Oh, and my birthday is on National Day!

I work for a multinational company in a regional role. It is easier for me to travel with a Singapore passport, it is very convenient. My boss can ask me to travel anywhere without giving me a lot of notice, because I won't need a visa, unlike with a China passport. The first place I am going to with my Singapore passport is Taiwan, for work.

My hope for my daughter? That she can have a happy life as a normal person. My hope for my son is that he can contribute to the nation, to bring Singapore to be come a more innovative and creative place.

I never had a chance to meet Mr Lee Kuan Yew. What would I say to him if I did? I would just say to him: ''Thank you for giving me the opportunity to come from China to Singapore.''

- MR ZHANG WEN JIA,35, information technology project manager, who received his pink NRIC at a citizenship ceremony in Toa Payoh last Saturday

Last year, Singaporeans penned their tributes to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding Prime Minister. With the...
Posted by National Library Board, Singapore on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

ONE YEAR ON: What do Singaporeans think of Mr #LeeKuanYew's legacy? TODAY commissioned a face-to-face survey with 500...
Posted by TODAY on Thursday, March 24, 2016

Remembering Lee Kuan Yew: We've not forgotten, just living his ideals our way
Unsentimental youth are carrying on as usual, just as Mr Lee Kuan Yew might have done so too
By Janice Heng, The Straits Times, 23 Mar 2016

A year ago, we might have queued for hours, stood in the pouring rain, craned our necks for a glimpse of a man who had become a living myth even before we were born.

Yet if not for the media's constant reminders, I wonder how many of the 20-somethings who marked Mr Lee Kuan Yew's passing then would have remembered the anniversary of his death today.

In my social circles, at least - both online and offline - it seems unlikely that many would have noticed.

At most there might be some sombre Facebook statuses today, or a reflective tweet or two.

I suspect that even our Instagram shots of last March's national mourning are now buried too deep to unearth, under layers of novelties and new concerns.

This shouldn't be surprising.

After all, a short attention span is one of the many ills which allegedly plague my generation.

Older and wiser cohorts imagine us living our lives as an endlessly scrolling social media feed, sans patience, dedication and other pre-Internet virtues. Even the label "millennial" conjures up cliches of the fast-moving digital life. In our world, trends surface and die as swiftly as hipster cafes.

So who would expect us to remember the death anniversary of a man whom we knew only from textbooks? The easy accusation to make, in the light of this, is that we are ungrateful and self-absorbed.

But there is a kinder interpretation. Instead of attending tribute events on weekdays, we will be in our offices and workplaces, getting on with work. In our spare time, rather than visiting a memorial wall, you might find us propping up local enterprises with cafe visits and flea market bargaining.

It isn't that we've forgotten Mr Lee. It would be impossible to do so, when the whole island bears his signature.

But whatever we might feel about his legacy - be it respect, admiration, ambivalence or disagreement - those feelings are not tied to a specific date.

Some might call it selfish. But the reality is that in contrast to the image of us being a frivolous generation, we are keeping calm and carrying on.

Isn't this what Mr Lee would have wanted - not least from a generation commonly considered as being too soft?

He was not known for being a sentimental man - at least not for matters outside his immediate family.

And it is unlikely that he would have wanted younger cohorts, who never truly knew him, to venerate him as some distant figure.

As Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in Parliament last April: "Mr Lee was very careful never to allow a personality cult to grow around him, much less to encourage one himself."

Instead, that famously practical man would probably have exhorted us to get back to work and carry on as usual. And the understandable need for remembrance might have seemed unnecessary to him.

The late Mr Lee made it clear that he neither needed nor wanted a monument, said PM Lee.

"It was not monuments but ideals that were his chief concern."

The ideals cited were noble ones: multiracialism, equality, meritocracy, integrity and the rule of law.

But perhaps my generation's unsentimentality, on the anniversary of Mr Lee's death, is another way in which his ideals live on.

As Singapore's architect, he was always ready to make the necessary sacrifice and dispense with whatever was unhelpful to getting on with the business at hand.

In this moment of remembered grief, my generation seems pretty much untroubled by any need to cling on to the past, or allow it to cloud our view of the future. It is precisely in such practicality that we see an echo of Mr Lee's own clear-eyed approach.

One year ago – our nation mourned for the passing of our late forefather, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. One year later, Singapore...
Posted by Toggle on Friday, March 25, 2016

How will we remember Lee Kuan Yew when SG100 comes?
Commemoration must take full measure of the man, not reduce him to a historical cliche
By Chong Zi Liang, The Straits Times, 23 Mar 2016

When SG100 rolls along, I will be in my twilight years, assuming I'm fortunate enough to still be around.

As one of the elderly Singaporeans in 2065 who have a living memory of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, how would I want the founding Prime Minister to be commemorated in the centennial celebrations?

I hope he will not be reduced to a vague notion as Singapore's grandfather, a distant patriarch whose rough edges are smoothed over by a few bullet points summarising his greatest achievements.

Instead, the full measure of the man deserves to be remembered: his triumphs along with his failures, his strengths together with his flaws.

This is not to say Mr Lee should not be rightly celebrated. But in our eagerness to do so, have we inadvertently placed him on the road to becoming a cliche? His quotes routinely appear in the speeches and writings of officials and academics. His benign visage peers out from banners, stickers and all forms of artwork. Within months of his death, there were two portrayals of him, in a movie and a play.

Perhaps it is inevitable for all great individuals to be lionised with the passing of time: George Washington, the patriot who won the American revolution on the battlefield; Mahatma Gandhi, the ascetic who gained Indian independence through non-violence.

And so it will be with Lee Kuan Yew, the anti-colonialist who wept at separation from Malaysia but steered his unlikely nation from Third World to First.

But to be so one-dimensionally perfect was not something Mr Lee sought. He refused to allow any monuments of himself to be built, and invoked the cautionary tale in a 19th-century poem about an Egyptian pharaoh whose broken statue in the desert is all that remains.

When I was a student in the 1990s and 2000s, Mr Lee had already stepped down as Prime Minister. However, he never became a post-partisan figure akin to Mr Nelson Mandela, who in his later years evolved into a genial elder above reproach. Instead, Mr Lee remained in active politics, attracting supporters and critics - as all politicians do - by not mincing his words.

It is not for nothing that one of the books about Mr Lee is titled Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going. He clearly relished a debate and dealt with detractors head on, be they political opponents in Singapore or foreign newspapers.

There were missteps for sure, like his remarks in the 2011 polls that opposition voters in Aljunied would have an electoral cycle to "live and repent", which some analysts say played a part in the People's Action Party's (PAP) first GRC loss.

Recognising these warts does not diminish his legacy. Rather, it adds flavour to the understanding of a life lived for Singapore, an understanding that would beall the poorer if it shies away from controversy, something that he never did.

That is why, in my view, recent government guidelines on the use of Mr Lee's name and image should not be interpreted as an attempt to whitewash his record, as some are insinuating.

Instead, this move seems to be more about preventing the commercialisation of Mr Lee than censoring opinions about him.

When The Straits Times was working on a book on the PAP's history, he told its writers they should take in dissenting voices: "If you're going to tell my side of the story, then you might as well not write the book. This has to be your book."

Here was Mr Lee acknowledging his version of events should not be taken as the final word, and future generations should weigh things up and draw their own conclusions.

Mr Lee died last year just as Singapore was gearing up for the SG50 festivities and many events took on a tone of remembrance and gratitude. I hope the heartfelt sentiments can be sustained and transformed into curiosity to explore and discuss Mr Lee's legacy fully.

And then perhaps the young ones in 2065 would be interested enough to ask an 80-year-old like me what it was like to live during a period when Mr Lee was alive.

Tanjong Pagar residents relive fond memories of their late MP Lee Kuan Yew
They speak of the community spirit and the benefits of his policies. Mr Lee had transformed the squalid area into a showcase of Singapore's public housing achievements.
By Walter Sim and Rachel Au-Yong, The Straits Times, 23 Mar 2016

Three Tanjong Pagar residents, now in their 60s, got to know one another and became fast friends after taking part in activities at their local community club.

From exercising in Duxton Plain Park to attending enrichment classes, such community spirit was fostered over the decades in no small part due to former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who represented Tanjong Pagar from 1955 until his death on March 23 last year at age 91.

And these friends were among his many old constituents who paid tribute to his legacy in recent days.

Said housewife L.S. Sung, 69: "You still feel that he's with us."

Part-time administrative executive Chris Yap, 65, who was at a remembrance event at Tanjong Pagar Plaza last Saturday, said Mr Lee urged residents to lead active lifestyles and upgrade themselves.

His presence can still be felt in policies big and small, whether in housing, healthcare or the Central Provident Fund retirement scheme, said housewife Jane Liew, 60, who completes the trio.

Mr Lee had said he chose Tanjong Pagar as he wanted to represent the common man and worker living in squalid conditions back then.

Now, the Pinnacle@Duxton's seven blocks of 1,848 HDB flats soar 50 storeys over the heart of the city, a showcase of the nation's housing achievements.

Remembering Mr Lee Kuan Yew @ Tanjong Pagar Community Club
A touching rendition of "Home" by Tanjong Pagar resident, Dick Lee as we mark the first anniversary of the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. #RememberingLKY #OneYearOn
Posted by Melvin Yong 杨益财 on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Today, Tanjong Pagar Community Club, situated next to the development, will be awash with lighted candles to mark the first anniversary of Mr Lee's death. Retired calligrapher Seow Cheong Choon, 80, hopes to be there. Mr Seow was photographed in The Straits Times last year, saluting Mr Lee with tears running down his face. Time has helped him cope with his grief, he said. What he misses most about his former MP is his exacting standards. "When 'Lao Li' was around, grassroots events were more punctual and orderly," he said, using an affectionate Mandarin term for Mr Lee. "He had very high standards, even for the smallest things."

Other residents, like Mr Matthias Koh, 44, chief executive of a preschool education group, hope their children will remember Mr Lee too.

"The first year he passed away, everyone thought about his contributions a lot. But as time passes, whether his legacy endures depends on how people remember him each year," he said.

He is taking his three children - aged six, eight and 10 - to one of the remembrance sites. He said: "Seldom do you see people who accomplish a lot and yet live simply. I want my children to learn these values."

Business analyst Savarath Chandran, 45, has no plans to visit a remembrance site just yet, but said that Mr Lee is often on his mind.

A family conversation about his contributions takes place each time he and his two boys walk past the spot where they stood in the rain for Mr Lee's final journey, he added.

"You can remember the man in your own way. My family will have a moment of silence for him today."

Mr Lee began his political career in Tanjong Pagar, winning the seat in the Legislative Assembly election in 1955 - months after the People's Action Party was formed - and continued to hold on to it over successive elections.

But residents remember him for fulfilling his promises each time - clearing slums, building new blocks of flats and upgrading them as they age. Parks and public facilities have also been spruced up.

His enduring legacy saw many who live elsewhere attend events to remember him in Tanjong Pagar.

Toa Payoh resident Steven Wong, 41, said he was very grateful to Mr Lee for ensuring the poor do not get left behind. He recalled how his parents could not afford his university education, but he secured a scholarship. "As long as you work hard, you will not be left behind," he said. Madam Lee Swee Har, 75, lives in Kembangan but volunteers at the Cairnhill Community Club as its Women's Executive Committee chairman and took her six-year-old grandson, Wu Xing Hong, along.

"I want him to know how Mr Lee built the country up, that our prosperity today does not come naturally," she said.

This rubbed off on Xing Hong, who joined others in penning notes on pebbles at Duxton Plain Park over the weekend. His message read simply: "I love Lee Kuan Yew!"

Students pay tribute to Lee Kuan Yew with music, photos, poetry and prose
Schools are raising awareness about the contributions of the founding PM and his team among those too young to have lived through the period when Mr Lee headed the Government
By Pearl Lee, The Straits Times, 23 Mar 2016

When National University of Singapore (NUS) student Tan Ke Han heard Mr Lee Kuan Yew had died in the early hours of March 23 last year, the 22-year-old decided he did not want to read about the momentous event from the sidelines.

Armed with a camera, Mr Tan, a second-year chemical engineering student, headed to the Singapore General Hospital hoping to document the passing of Singapore's first Prime Minister.

"I've never met him," said Mr Tan, part of a generation too young to have lived through the period when Mr Lee headed the Government from 1959 to 1990.

"I've read a few books on him. People have criticised him for his harsh rule, but we cannot ignore that he did them all for Singapore."

Over the following days, Mr Tan went to Parliament House, where Mr Lee lay in state as people went and said their last goodbyes, to take more photos.

His images are on display this week in Tembusu College at NUS, one of a number of educational institutions around the island that are marking the first anniversary of Mr Lee's death in different ways.

Mr Tan recalled: "It was very hot, yet there were many heart-warming moments. People were sharing umbrellas and water even before companies came and offered them for free. I had goosebumps as I took the photos... We all came together just to bid this man goodbye."

But Mr Lee's death made Mr Liow curious about Singapore's turbulent early years, and spurred him to read several articles on Mr Lee.

"I think we need to know what happened in the past to fully appreciate this episode," he said.

Mr Sow added that when Mr Lee died last year, his history teacher described it as a defining moment in the Republic's history. He recalled how on the day of the state funeral, he and his father waited at Dover MRT station to catch a glimpse of the passing cortege. "Suddenly, it was pouring, people were crying, and everyone started chanting 'Lee Kuan Yew, Lee Kuan Yew'. There was a newfound sense of patriotism - something I've never felt before.

"That was when I understood what my history teacher meant, and I felt it for myself."

A commemorative poster of Mr Lee is prominently displayed at the school's atrium. At the RI museum a few steps away, photographs of Mr Lee's visits were on display. The library has also displayed a collection of books by and on Mr Lee to encourage students to read them.

A spokesman for the school said: "Not only was Mr Lee one of our nation's founding fathers, he was also one of our alumni, and serves as a noble example of a Rafflesian for our current students to emulate."

At Telok Kurau Primary, pupils will recite a poem about Mr Lee for morning assembly today. They will also reflect on what they can do to keep Singapore going strong.

Principal Charis Wong said she hopes the activities will "encourage the pupils to think about how they can honour our pioneers by staying true to the ideals that the founding fathers fought for, and continue to overcome challenges and to keep Singapore strong and united".

Lee Kuan Yew: The pride of a tiny village in China
Man-made lake, pavilions and memorial hall showcasing Lee Kuan Yew's life take centre stage at his ancestral home
By Esther Teo, China Correspondent, The Straits Times, 23 Mar 2016

It is hard to miss the Chinese characters "Tangxi jiaozi, shijie weiren" emblazoned in red on a wooden panel in the main hall of the traditional brick-and-wood, Hakka-style residence with its dusty yellow outer walls and sloping grey-tiled roof.

The phrase, which means "the pride of Tangxi, a great man of the world", takes centre stage in the ancestral home of Singapore's founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in the tiny village of Tangxi in southern Guangdong province's Dabu county.

Today, on the first anniversary of his death at age 91 on March 23 last year, villagers keen to pay their respects will be able to do so. A portrait of Mr Lee will be placed in the spacious main hall and there will be the lighting of incense to honour and commemorate him.

"It's our simple way of remembering a great man. The fact that a world-renowned person is from Tangxi is a source of much pride for us. It's also a precious resource," said Mr Li Gang, 53, a Shenzhen-based businessman originally from Tangxi who is involved with various aspects of the village's development.

Many villagers, including retiree Li Wenying, 77, are eager to take part in memorial activities to remember a man who, they say, has put their village on the world map.

"Everyone in Tangxi is proud of him. We follow news of Singapore and know how well it's governed, especially how well Mr Lee had run the country and ensured its clean governance," he said.

Last year, when news of Mr Lee's death reached Tangxi - which falls administratively under a larger village called Dangxi in Meizhou city - more than 1,000 mourners visited the house, also known as Zhonghandi, to pay their last respects with the lighting of incense and offerings of candy and rice wine.

Mr Lee's cousin, Mr Li Fensen, who now lives in Shenzhen, was among them.

Tangxi's villagers, most of whom share the surname Li, also held local funeral rites for Mr Lee, including the burning of paper money at the entrance of Zhonghandi in the belief that this will allow his soul to return home.

It was Mr Lee's Hakka great-grandfather, Li Muwen, who built the ancestral home set against lush green mountains in 1884 with money he had earned working in Singapore. His grave is marked by a tombstone a short climb up the hill behind the home.

But while Mr Lee never set foot in either the 180 sq m house or Tangxi village, both places have inextricably tied their name with his.

Since 2008, the local authorities have turned the eight-room building into an exhibition of Mr Lee's life and accomplishments.

There are pictures and write-ups of his time as a student in Britain, his family and political life, diplomatic accomplishments, and a detailed family genealogy. The house was declared a city-level cultural protection site in 2014.

More recently, the county government splashed more than 30 million yuan (S$6.3 million) in the first phase of plans to develop Tangxi - which has only about 100 residents - into a rural tourist site known as "Lee Kuan Yew's Homeplace".

Not only are there multiple signs throughout the village harking back to Mr Lee's ancestry, but a man- made lake, surrounded by Chinese-style pavilions, has also been built, together with a two-storey memorial hall that opened last October.

Consisting of four multimedia exhibition halls, the memorial hall includes information on Mr Lee's key role in establishing China-Singapore ties and his contribution in the city state's nation-building efforts.

There are, for instance, videos from his parliamentary speeches on bilingualism, and pictures of his meetings with all of China's five leaders, from Mao Zedong to current President Xi Jinping.

There are also life-sized rubber sculptures of Mr Lee and his wife, Madam Kwa Geok Choo, who died in 2010.

Dangxi party secretary He Jia- xing, 58, told The Straits Times that affection for Mr Lee runs deep in the village despite the fact that the late leader never paid a visit.

"Singapore and China only established diplomatic ties in 1986 and so before that, it would have been inconvenient to visit considering the circumstances... He was also running a country and would have been very busy," he said.

"We are still immensely proud that a world leader has come from our village and have a lot of respect for him."

More than 300,000 ethnic Hakka people live in Singapore, and about 70 per cent were originally from Dabu, according to the county's overseas Chinese affairs bureau, said a Xinhua news agency report.

While the site does not charge an entrance fee currently, there are plans to do so in the future - a move that will likely give the village's economy a boost and defray the cost of running the site.

There are also plans for a second development phase, although that will depend on the go-ahead from county and city officials higher up.

Already, more than 20,000 tourists, including foreigners, visit Tangxi every month during peak periods such as national holidays, Mr He said. Many of them are on self-drive holidays.

One such tourist, Mr Guo Zhenzhong, 35, who visited the village with his family last week when The Straits Times was there, said they decided to make a detour to Tangxi while on a trip back to Meizhou to pay respects to their ancestors. They had driven two hours from Chaozhou city, also in Guangdong province.

"We wanted to stop by Tangxi because we feel a sense of affinity with Mr Lee, our ancestors also being from the Meizhou area. It's an honour for us to have some sort of connection with him," he said.

Former President S R Nathan on Lee Kuan Yew: Moved by fight for multiracialism
Former President S R Nathan, who worked closely with the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew as a civil servant and as President from 1999 to 2011, shares his reflections on Mr Lee with Walter Sim.
The Straits Times, 23 Mar 2016

One year after Mr Lee is gone, he is a memory.

But the nature of human beings is that memories are bound to fade over time. Today it is a memory, next year it will be something else.

The outpouring of emotion among Singaporeans at the state funeral last year was a sign of people recognising they are who they are today because of Mr Lee.

Many people did not know what he stood for. Some disliked him. But at his death, he became the symbol of Singapore. The entire country, even his adversaries, came to a stop with his funeral.

But in time to come, this will be just another story, that a great man passed us. The danger is that with time, stories can be forgotten.

Our young have not known failure. They have grown up amidst success, so they think this state of affairs should go on forever. It's very hard for them to imagine failure. All we can do is tell them, but they do not believe you until it happens. And when it happens, it's too late.

Two central elements are key to Singapore: survival and success.

We succeeded in the economy, and we must succeed in the economy tomorrow. All we have are our human resources. World markets are changing, and we must be there at the next success. Continued success is the lifeblood of Singapore.

To young people, all this may seem remote. But to the generations that passed through tough times, this is real.

And so we remember Mr Lee because of the uniqueness of who we are - his deepest belief was in Singapore's continued existence.

This depended on our strength in surviving in a hostile world, and the moral fibre of our leaders.

Mr Lee went into Malaysia, believing he could change the policy of affirmative action for one race.

He tried to change it and told us that at some stage we will be equal - maybe not today, not tomorrow, but in 20 or 30 years.

I had worked in Johor Baru with the civil service, and I knew that whatever you did, no matter how good you were, there was a glass ceiling. People were nice to you, people appreciated you, but because of your race, there's a limit to what you can achieve.

Mr Lee stood for something else - that we are all equal. This struggle for multiracialism and against affirmative action had moved me.

When he cried at Separation, it was not a falsehood. It was the end of a dream, all of us had the dream. We were never Singaporeans, we were Malayans, that dream was shattered. For us, it's a long memory.

To the next generation, this is only a story. It's just retold and retold, and over a period of time, it will be forgotten. Whereas for me, it's life.

It is important for our young today to embrace multiracialism. Don't look at people by race, by language, by religion.

That has been our strength, I respect you and you respect me.

You may not like my colour, and there are prejudices, but at the end of the day, you are your brother's keeper. This is an important value Mr Lee left behind.

Since his death, there are a lot of things that go through my mind - about the time I was with him on his travels, during the struggles. He always had a strong sense of purpose.

When I went with him on his travels, whenever he saw something attractive, he would ask: Why don't we do this for Singapore?

"Maybe we can have a fountain like this in Singapore, it makes Singapore attractive," he would say. Likewise, as you look at Singapore today and see all the trees on the side of the road, you remember him because those were his ideas.

And he always spoke about the survival of Singapore when he met foreign leaders in the early years.

Historically, survival has been the preoccupation of Singapore: There was the struggle against the CPM (Communist Party of Malaya), there was Chinese chauvinism, there were Malay ultra-nationalists trying to exert themselves.

Singapore's people were all that we had. We were uneducated, or poorly educated, so the preoccupation was to strengthen human resources if we were to succeed economically. Education became his preoccupation to uplift the nation.

I also remember his kindness - both he and his wife never indulged in anything. This made an impression on me in later years when I became President.

Don't take advantage of the situation, behave correctly, so that people respect you and you will respect them. These are the memories that he left behind for me.

Now that one year has passed since his death, we can use this as a benchmark and a direction for our journey for the next 50 years.

Over the past 50 years, he set us an example that has affected all our people of all ages and stripes who were at his funeral.

Today, let us - whatever stripes we wear - eulogise him as the man who gave us the courage to stand up against formidable odds.

A year ago today, Singapore came together to mourn its founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who died at age 91....
Posted by The Straits Times on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Mr Lee, my mentor - after my maiden speech, he sent a note: Koo Tsai Kee
One year after the death of Singapore's founding Prime Minister, former MP Koo Tsai Kee shares his memories of Lee Kuan Yew
The Straits Times, 22 Mar 2016

This March 23 marks one year since Mr Lee Kuan Yew left us. The pain of his departure has lessened with the passage of time, but his absence does not make us miss him less. How do we remember him when he does not wish to be immortalised?

There are no portraits, monuments and obelisks for anybody to honour him anywhere in Singapore. The best way to remember him is to carry on where he left off. The work of building Singapore is never done.

Nevertheless, the world remembers LKY as a global statesman. Singaporeans remember LKY as our fearless founding Prime Minister. Residents of Tanjong Pagar remember LKY as our beloved Member of Parliament. Many of us remember Mr Lee as our teacher and mentor. I remember him for all of these roles.


When I was a graduate student in London in the 80s, an erudite English gentleman asked me where I came from. "Singapore," I replied. A curious look came over him. I raised my voice and said: "Lee Kuan Yew." He nodded. Yes, he knew Mr Lee Kuan Yew. For a long time, the world knew Mr Lee Kuan Yew before they knew Singapore. Letters from the United Kingdom often went to China first before they were redirected to Singapore. Like the postal workers, the Englishman thought Singapore was in China. In the 80s, China was a very poor country. The English gentleman was too polite to ask if I was a Chinaman.

How times have changed. Mr Lee's model of political governance has transformed Singapore from Third World to First World in one generation. LKY made a nation and make us proud to be called Singaporeans.

His style of government and governance has become a school of thought. On an official visit to Israel, the then Foreign Minister of Israel, Mr Shimon Peres, remarked that Lee Kuan Yew was not just a name but a "concept of government". LKY has become an "ism" - LKYism has become a serious course of study for political and economic scientists.

In the week of LKY's death, the then Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Tony Abbot, moved a motion in the Australian Parliament to grieve the loss of a great leader and friend of Australia. He said Singapore under Mr Lee had grown richer than a rich country like Australia. In 1965, the gross domestic product per capita of Singapore was about one-third that of Australia's. Today, our GDP per capita is twice that of Australia. When I was a student in Sydney, the Aussie dollar fetched three Singapore dollars. Today, they are almost at parity.

Mr John Howard, the most successful prime minister of Australia post-Sir Robert Menzies, had a ringside view on Singapore's progress. His very first overseas trip as a young man was to Singapore on July 24, 1964 - one year before Independence - to visit a relative. He came in the middle of the race riots. He witnessed Singapore's incredible metamorphosis from chaos to order and from poverty to affluence. Like so many great world leaders, Mr Howard is a fan of LKY.


My father-in-law was a Malaysian, an Ipoh boy. He was a bright student from a poor family. He worked hard and obtained a state scholarship and came to Singapore to study medicine in the 1940s. His study was interrupted by the Japanese invasion, and he finished it only after the war. After completing his housemanship, he went back to Malaysia to practise medicine, until the racial riots of 1969 forced him to make a decision to relocate overseas.

He had two choices: return to Singapore, or leave for Australia, to settle in Melbourne. My mother-in-law was Singaporean. She wanted to come back to Singapore. But my father-in-law had no faith in Singapore. He saw the extreme poverty in Singapore when he was a student and thought Singapore had no future.

He was mistaken. LKY proved him wrong. It was a mistake which my mother-in-law regrets to this day. My father-in-law was in Ipoh so he did not hear Mr Lee's 1965 fiery speech: "Here we make the model multiracial society. This is not a country that belongs to any single community - it belongs to all of us. This was a mudflat, a swamp. Today, it is a modern city. And 10 years from now, it will be a metropolis - never fear!"

When LKY published The Singapore Story, I bought the book and gave it to my father-in-law as a gift in Melbourne. He left it on his desk in his study room and never touched it for the entire week I was there. Two years later, I went down again to visit my in-laws. My mother-in-law asked me on the last day of my visit if I had brought Part 2, From Third World to First, for him. I said "no", because he did not even touch Part 1. She hurried into the studyand brought out the first book. It was filled with footnotes and underlined sentences. She said my father-in-law avidly read the book probably twice over.

He came from a generation which did not reveal its true feelings. He never quite reconciled his ideals with LKY, but he had quietly revered LKY and acknowledged that he was a great leader.


In 1955, Mr Lee stood for election in Tanjong Pagar. At that time, he could have chosen from any of the 25 constituencies. But he picked Tanjong Pagar and he explained why. Tanjong Pagar was a largely working class area with a high proportion of workers. He was adviser to several unions and many of the unionists lived in the area. LKY told them that, if elected, he would improve their lives. Although he couldn't speak Chinese, and his opponents made this a big issue and ridiculed his Straits Chinese background, he won convincingly.

The people of Tanjong Pagar entrusted their lives to him and Singapore's modern history was made. LKY honoured his 1955 promise for 60 years. When Tanjong Pagar became a GRC, it was uncontested for five successive general elections from 1991 to 2011. No other GRC comes close to this record. Even LKY could not believe it. While preparing for the 2011 General Election, LKY asked me: "What results did we get in the 2006 General Election?" I said Tanjong Pagar GRC had never been contested. He was taken by surprise. How was that possible, he asked rhetorically. The reason is LKY.

I knew Tanjong Pagar well before I became an MP. My wife and I bought a resale flat in Spottiswoode Park in the early 80s. It is a very quiet, green and beautiful estate inside Tanjong Pagar. I was then working in the Public Works Department. I walked to work. We walked to the railway station. We walked to Chinatown. We love the place. But when I went to teach in the then Nanyang Technological Institute (NTI), we sold the flat and moved to Jurong.

In the 80s, Jurong was most inaccessible from town. There were no expressways, MRT trains or direct buses. I had early morning lectures and it took forever to get from Spottiswoode Park to NTI. So with great reluctance we moved. Never did I dream that I would return as a member of Mr Lee's GRC team to find an even more beautiful Tanjong Pagar.

Mr Lee the MP, never left Tanjong Pagar because he never forgot that it was the people of Tanjong Pagar who gave him the opportunity to become their MP, which in turn allowed him to become the Prime Minister. He was always thinking of his residents.

At a Chinese New Year dinner gathering, he sat on the stage and saw the huge greying crowd of his residents below. He asked me why there were so few young people. I said there were no new flats in Tanjong Pagar. The children of Tanjong Pagar were forced to move to new towns, and the old were left behind to fend for themselves. He then instructed that we needed a gentrification programme to bring back the young so that they could look after the old. He also wanted more energy in Tanjong Pagar. From this was born Cantonment Towers, and then later the iconic Pinnacle@Duxton.


For me, the saddest part of LKY's departure was the loss of a mentor and teacher. I remember giving the maiden speech in Parliament in 1991. He was not in the House when I delivered the speech. After my speech, a note came to my seat.

He asked to see me. He told me he heard my speech. He advised that I should speak in a direct voice, with more pauses, and that I should slow down my speech. I thought, how awesome. He was not present in the Chambers when I spoke, but yet he was listening. No wonder senior MPs warned me, albeit half in jest, that LKY was omnipotent - he knew everything and he was everywhere! It was an exaggeration, of course. But the message was clear. He was watching over us and Singapore. He was always giving MPs encouragement, advice and guidance.

LKY used to invite small groups of MPs to lunch and discuss matters big and small. We called these lunch sessions "tutorials". Sometimes these sessions finished up with homework. We had to write papers for him to justify our views or positions.

It was a privilege and opportunity to work with and for him. We could not have had a better mentor and teacher. The Chinese have a saying, "Yi ri wei si, zhong shen wei fu". The meaning is lost in translation, but it loosely translates, "To be a teacher is to be like a father".

Singapore lost LKY. But his life's work remains for eternity. He never asked to be remembered. But we will never forget. Singapore remembers. And we remember.

The writer was a Member of Parliament in Mr Lee Kuan Yew's constituency of Tanjong Pagar

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In dealings with the world, Lee Kuan Yew focused on Singapore's interest: Chee Hong Tat
Minister of State Chee Hong Tat was Mr Lee Kuan Yew's principal private secretary from 2008 to 2011. He recollects what he learnt from Mr Lee about global affairs and putting Singapore first.
The Straits Times, 23 Mar 2016

The first and only time I wore a tuxedo was in October 2009, when I attended the United States-Asean Business Council's 25th Anniversary Gala Dinner together with Mr Lee Kuan Yew. I was then his principal private secretary, which was a privileged position that offered excellent learning opportunities, and was also the best job I ever had in my 17 years with the civil service.

The council presented Mr Lee with its first Lifetime Achievement Award to honour his contributions to strengthening US-Asean relations, and for his unwavering support over the years for the US to remain a stabilising force in the Asia-Pacific.

Mr Lee was a firm advocate of having a balance of power to create a conducive global environment and international order for small countries like Singapore to survive and prosper. This was true during the Cold War, when US presence was crucial in preventing the spread of communism in South-east Asia. It remains true today. In his speech at the gala dinner, Mr Lee said that "the size of China makes it impossible for the rest of Asia, including Japan and India, to match it in weight and capacity in about 20 to 30 years. So we need America to strike a balance".

Mr Lee's remarks did not go down well with some commentators in China, who criticised him for not taking China's side despite being an ethnic Chinese. These critics missed the point. Mr Lee was not taking sides with the US or China; he was doing it for Singapore. Top Chinese leaders understood this and did not take exception to his support for the US presence, and valued his advice.

Mr Lee was always looking at ways to advance Singapore's interests and to improve the lives of Singaporeans. He believed that having a balance of power in the region would facilitate China's "peaceful rise" (a term coined by Chinese scholar Zheng Bijian and used by various Chinese leaders), which in turn benefits Singapore and other countries in Asia.

But the reactions of the Chinese commentators to Mr Lee's speech also revealed how many Chinese assume that because Singapore is a Chinese-majority country, we would automatically be sympathetic to China's interests, and that we should support them when they have disagreements with other countries. They are wrong. Singapore is not a Chinese country and we are not a mini-China. We are a multiracial, independent nation. We want to be good friends with China, but also remain friends with the US, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, India, Russia and, indeed, all major countries, in order to safeguard our security, trade and international space.

When Mr Lee met former Chinese president Hu Jintao at the 2009 Apec Summit in Singapore, Mr Lee recounted a story to him. Earlier that year, the Chinese government had invited groups of overseas Chinese to attend the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in Beijing. When the People's Liberation Army marched across the parade square with its equipment and weapons, the overseas Chinese from Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia shed tears of pride and joy. To them, the motherland had finally risen! Mr Lee told Mr Hu that the only group of overseas Chinese who did not cry were the Singaporeans. Although Mr Hu did not react to the comments, I noticed that some of his delegation members shifted uncomfortably in their seats. They understood Mr Lee's point.

To be sure, Mr Lee did not view China's rise as a threat. On the contrary, he saw it as a positive and inevitable development, with tremendous potential to create new opportunities and improve lives for countries and people in Asia. The key factor was whether the rise would be peaceful or disruptive.

He believed that continued US presence in the region would benefit all countries, including China. Unlike US-Soviet relations during the Cold War, the US and China do not have diametrically opposed world views and national objectives. The two countries do compete with each other in certain areas, but there are also many areas where they can cooperate for mutual benefit. Hence, Mr Lee felt that the US and other Western powers should welcome China's rise and encourage it to be a responsible stakeholder in the world order.

Mr Lee was neither a China dove nor a China hawk. He was more like a wise owl who understood the motivations and thinking of both Chinese and Western leaders. He had a pragmatic view of how geopolitical forces and the relationships between global powers would affect small states like Singapore.

A retired French president once told Mr Lee that the Chinese were a peace-loving people. Unlike the Europeans, they did not colonise any country in their history, so the world should not worry about a rising China. In response, Mr Lee said that when the Sultan of Brunei was in Nanjing, the Chinese government took him to visit the grave of his ancestor who died in Nanjing many centuries ago while paying tribute to the Chinese Emperor.

The lesson for me was clear - China is an ancient civilisation which used to dominate the region. It is always unwise for small countries to depend on a larger neighbour's benevolence and goodwill for their survival. If there is no balance of power in the region and we cannot defend ourselves, our interests will likely be undermined and our international space will be curtailed.

To achieve this balance of power, Mr Lee wanted to persuade American leaders to withdraw from Afghanistan and shift their focus to Asia. In his speech at the US-Asean Business Council Gala Dinner, Mr Lee told the audience: "In the end, whatever the challenges, US core interest requires that it remains the superior power on the Pacific. To give up this position would diminish America's role throughout the world."

He conveyed the same message when he met President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. During the meeting with Mrs Clinton, Mr Lee asked me to bring along a copy of Rudyard Kipling's poem "The Young British Soldier". He recited the last few lines to Mrs Clinton to reinforce his point on why the US should pull out of Afghanistan and focus more resources on the Asia-Pacific region.

"When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains And go to your God like a soldier."

In his interactions with world leaders, Mr Lee was always able to navigate the international arena adroitly, advancing Singapore's interest and maximising our political and economic space every step of the way. He was an exceptional leader, with a single-minded focus on doing what was good for Singapore.

It has been a year since Mr Lee's passing on March 23 last year. As we think about what Singapore has gone through over the past 50 years and our challenges ahead, it is important for us to stay the course and build on the foundations which he and other pioneer leaders have put in place.

We are now in a more complex and interdependent world, with many emerging threats, but also many promising opportunities. To succeed, we have to stay connected with the world and continue to be a cosmopolitan city which welcomes talent and ideas. We must remain exceptional as one people, one nation, one Singapore. Together, we can follow the beautiful rainbow and build a bright future for ourselves and our children.

Chee Hong Tat is Minister of State for Health, and for Communications & Information, as well as an MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.

From abroad, tests for a nation as others try their luck
Observers are optimistic that Singapore’s fundamentals in foreign policy — laid down by Mr Lee — have survived the founding Prime Minister
By Sue-Ann Chia and Kenneth Cheng, TODAY, 22 Mar 2016

Founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew put in place a system here that has proven robust and can run effectively without him, and other countries that deal with Singapore have had the opportunity to take a measure of this system for many years after Mr Lee stepped down in 1990. But following Mr Lee’s death in March 2015, some countries have tried their luck at putting Singapore in its place, shared Ambassador-at-Large Bilahari Kausikan.

He did not specify the countries or elaborate on what they did, but the famously frank diplomat said: “There will be some countries that certainly will probe and test us to see if there are things they can get away with now that Mr Lee is no longer with us, and some such probes have already begun.

“Please don’t ask me which countries. All I will say is that if they persist, they will be in for a rude surprise.”

When asked to elaborate, he candidly added: “They think our ability to stand firm only depends on Lee Kuan Yew — that’s rubbish. Or if they think that now he’s not around you can redo things, no, sorry…”

Mr Kausikan was replying to a question on whether a post-Lee Kuan Yew Singapore is regarded differently by other countries, especially those in the region.

It is a valid concern, one that many observers and diplomats interviewed believe is something to reflect on. “Yes, there is some degree of shift in other countries’ perceptions of Singapore,” said Mr Ong Keng Yong, executive deputy chairman of the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS).

“The fact is different leaders have different styles and personal chemistry among leaders works in mysterious ways in international encounters and meetings. Also, the regional and global situations have undergone rapid changes. Technological advancement has compressed the space and time for information exchange between countries and events, resulting in leaders in different parts of the world operating quite differently these days in connecting with their counterparts elsewhere.”

But like Mr Kausikan and Mr Ong, observers are optimistic that Singapore’s fundamentals in foreign policy — laid down by Mr Lee — have survived the founding Prime Minister. He stepped down in 1990 but continued to keep a close watch on global and regional affairs even as his health deteriorated in recent years.

“I think the system can endure. Put it this way, it is for us to screw it up — not that it cannot work without him,” said Mr Kausikan, who was permanent secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

Retired diplomat K Kesavapany noted that Mr Lee was able to bring up a core group of leaders who shared his ideals.

“Mr Lee took pains to make sure that after he’s gone the system will still run, (that) Singapore is still (well) regarded … So long as we remain true to what he has taught us and left behind, then Singapore should be okay,” he said.

Retired diplomat Tan Seng Chye said Mr Lee has set the tone for Singapore’s foreign policy and put in place a system that his successors have further established.

“No country can have just one leader and only that leader can do things, but he must put in place a system, a succession of leaders that can continue to build the country,” said Mr Tan, who stepped down as Singapore’s ambassador to Vietnam in 2005 after a diplomatic career spanning almost four decades, including stints as the Republic’s envoy to four other South-east Asian nations.

Some of Mr Lee’s ideas and values that have lived on in Singapore’s foreign policy include putting Singapore’s interests first, being principled and neutral and making as many friends as possible, said Mr Ho Meng Kit, his former Principal Private Secretary.

“These values are deeply ingrained in the psyche and culture of our leaders and officials,” he added.

Mr Ong noted that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his senior Cabinet ministers have been working with their counterparts in other countries for many years.

“From various international conferences and events, notably the recent climate change negotiations in Paris, the other countries have seen the leadership capability and effective diplomacy of Singapore. In general, they see a Singapore leadership which is worldly and task-oriented. This leadership exudes Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s visionary intellect, practical approach and focus on the future.”

While Mr Lee had bequeathed enduring systems and institutions to the country, his lasting legacy is building up the Singapore brand name, said experts interviewed by TODAY.


As an influential interlocutor on the global stage, Mr Lee had advised every United States President from Mr Richard Nixon to Mr Barack Obama, and across the Pacific, he met and counselled every Chinese leader from Mr Mao Zedong to Mr Xi Jinping.

His insightful and incisive views are also valued by leaders in the region, as one of the founding fathers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) who brought together a disparate regional bloc.

On why his views were sought after, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy Kishore Mahbubani explained that Mr Lee had incredible experience, gave wise advice - including on prickly cross-strait relations between China and Taiwan - and was “remarkably blunt” in offering his views.

Mr Kesavapany added: “He told things as they were and he didn’t try to play games with any of the leaders”. Mr Lee would say things that “they themselves would not say,” he noted.

“It’s his indescribable sense of charismatic personality plus an intelligent mind and he was also a realist who accepted the world as it was and not as he wanted it to be.”

All this made Mr Lee and by extension, Singapore, relevant to the world. This is his legacy that he left behind for Singapore, that observers say current leaders are building on to ensure the little red dot continues its outsized role in the global arena.

Indeed, Mr Lee’s contributions go beyond transforming the country from mudflat to metropolis but also turning vulnerability into invincibility, ensuring that a small island state will not be trampled on or sidelined by bigger powers.

He also elevated the island state’s status to a role model for other developing economies in search of similar success.

“As a small country, we are not a threat. Many regard his advice as neutral and objective. We do not have our own agenda,” said Mr Ho, his former aide and now chief executive officer of Singapore Business Federation.

At the heart of Mr Lee’s overseas overtures was Singapore’s security and survival. To this end, he has been described as a pragmatic realist, hard-nosed and even unsentimental in his approach. Yet he was prepared to change his views as the world changed.

Veteran diplomat and former top civil servant Barry Desker said: “As a realist, he appreciated the need to maintain good links with the West to promote trade and investment at a time when leaders of many newly independent countries believed their own rhetoric and thought that they could adopt autarkic policies.”

In 1967, two years after Singapore gained independence, Mr Lee started making trips to the US to woo American investors.

“Lee did not wait for US investors to serendipitously discover Singapore as a perfect destination for capital. He seized every opportunity to promote Singapore and stressed the efficiency and quality of the labour force in the country,” wrote Dr Daniel Chua, research fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies at RSIS.

Political leaders in US also started to pay attention to this young Asian leader. Mr Francis Galbraith, the first US Ambassador to Singapore, wrote a 16-page report recommending the US government to engage closely with Mr Lee and Singapore in 1967.

As Mr Lee built a firm friendship with the US and Europe, he also expanded networks in Asia, such as with growing giants India and China.

His foresight in engaging China early in the 1970s, despite its communist links and even before its opening up and economic reform, was a game changer. He had astutely recognised its potential to be an economic powerhouse that would rival the US.

“Who else had the foresight to engage China just at the right time when China was amenable to adjustments in an evolving world stage,” said Mr Sajjad Ashraf, Pakistan’s high commissioner to Singapore from 2004 to 2008.

“Mr Lee foresaw changing global power equation. In addition to private advice to the American leadership, he said it publicly that with growing economic and political clout that ‘China will want to sit as an equal at the top table’.”

From his vantage point in the early years of being close to leaders in both US and China, and coming from a “non-threatening” position, he was then able to act as a trusted contact to help both sides understand each other better, noted Dr Lam Peng Er, senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore’s East Asian Institute.

Added Mr Ho: “This role as link between US and China crafted a niche for Singapore and enhanced our own relationship with these two countries.”

This philosophy of being friendly to all countries and not making enemies is critical, said Associate Professor Alan Chong from RSIS, adding that the Republic was flexible in its foreign policy and did not see anyone as a permanent enemy.

“While Mr Lee appreciated the fact that we needed to deter certain unfriendly countries within Asia, he did not close the door to sincere forms of cooperation,” he said.

“I can also bet that Singapore would be the first to invest in North Korea if and when that country opens up - this is the extent of our flexibility. Because why should we make other people’s mortal enemies our mortal enemies?”

Such pragmatism also shaped Singapore’s views on geopolitical shifts and stability.

“Mr Lee Kuan Yew was a master of geo-strategic realism and planning for the future. He believed that some issues in international relations would never be resolved. The best way to deal with these challenges would be to manage them coherently, keeping in mind the big picture and looking for the balance needed to prevent upheaval,” said RSIS’ Mr Ong, who’s also an Ambassador-at-Large at MFA.

“This would require longer-term thinking and decisive leadership at the key levels of government. The problem today is often short-term political expediency and inconsistent management of the complexities involved.”

Mr Ong added that Mr Lee’s mindset was all the more relevant today given the tensions over competing territorial claims in the South China Sea and debate about how to reshape security architecture in the Asia Pacific.

“Recently, I attended a conference in China where a prominent Chinese scholar of international studies openly yearned for Mr Lee’s exceptional principled approach in managing the competition and rivalry of big powers in our region.”


Mr Kesavapany, who stepped down as Singapore’s High Commissioner to Malaysia in 2002 after spending three decades in the Foreign Service, shared an example of how Mr Lee’s belief in continued American presence in Asia has led to stability in this region.

“Twenty years ago, there was a feeling that after the Vietnam War, American presence should go away. The Philippines asked them to leave Subic Bay and Clark Air Base in a fit of nationalism, but it was Mr Lee who saw above the horizon and saw the necessity of US continued presence in the region,” he said.

“He felt that only the US could counterbalance any attempt by an emerging power to dominate the region. It was this reasoning that led Singapore to establish its naval base and made it clear that the US Navy could make use of the base.”

Mr Lee reiterated his position several times. In his keynote address after receiving a lifetime achievement award from the US-ASEAN Business Council in Washington, DC, in 2009, Mr Lee said: “The size of China makes it impossible for the rest of Asia, including Japan and India, to match it in weight and capacity in about 20 to 30 years. So we need America to strike a balance.”

His comments drew the ire of Chinese netizens and media commentators then, but Chinese leaders continued to welcome him as they understood his position of seeking stability in the region which was also in China’s interest.

Mr Lee’s neutrality was also appreciated, said Dr Paul Evans, visiting professor in International and Asian Studies at the Singapore Management University.

“He steadfastly emphasised that Singapore was independent of both China and US. The ability to have a strong economic and political relationship with China…and to do that while also speaking to Americans bluntly about their strengths and limitations, those were defining features of Mr Lee,” said Prof Evans.

For all his deft diplomacy, Mr Lee did not fancy himself as a statesman.

In an interview, when asked how he wished to be remembered, he said: “I do not want to be remembered as a statesman ... I do not classify myself as a statesman. I put myself down as determined, consistent, persistent. I set out to do something, I keep on chasing it until it succeeds. That is all ... Anybody who thinks he is a statesman ought to see a psychiatrist.”

No matter how Mr Lee viewed his contributions, his pragmatic and prescient advice was clearly valued.

Will his legacy and values that have shaped Singapore linger on without him?

“Obviously, there won’t be another Mr Lee...but there is certainly a need for the clinical, cold-blooded analysis that was his style,” said Mr Kausikan.

Will his legacy and values that have shaped Singapore linger on without him?

“Obviously, there won’t be another Mr Lee...but there is certainly a need for the clinical, cold-blooded analysis that was his style,” said Mr Kausikan

“Actually it is one of the things he bequeathed to Singapore that this is the way we look at the world – at least most of us (in government). So it’s not that we need somebody like Mr Lee, but we need the kind of cast of mind that was, I think, his most valuable legacy, at least in the foreign affairs field.”

Mr Kausikan noted that while no system can last forever as every system is prone to error or sheer bad luck, Singapore has an adaptable and resilient system.

“You can still screw it up completely—the factor that can screw it up completely is politics, if the politics goes wrong or if we all becomes soft-headed… But it does not need him (Mr Lee) to work.”

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Faith leaders pray for peace and harmony
Event at Taoist temple held to express gratitude and respect for Mr Lee ahead of his first death anniversary
By Pearl Lee, The Straits Times, 22 Mar 2016

Religious leaders and members of various faiths gathered at a Taoist temple yesterday to pray that Singapore continues to enjoy peace and harmony in the years to come.

The representatives of nine religions in the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) - Baha'i, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism and Taoism - were at the Lorong Koo Chye Sheng Hong temple in Paya Lebar, where they also reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen Singapore's inter-religious harmony.

The IRO has members from 10 faiths, but the Zoroastrian representative was not able to attend.

The event, held ahead of the first death anniversary of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, was a fitting way to remember Singapore's first prime minister who played a crucial role in creating a harmonious multiracial and multi-religious society here.

Its theme was "Forward as One", and it was organised by the Taoist Federation and the temple to express gratitude and respect for Mr Lee.

Mr Foo Check Woo, 60, IRO president and a representative of the Baha'i faith, said members appreciate what the Government had done to ensure religious harmony.

Mr Lee was "instrumental in fostering inter-faith harmony", and it was only natural that the group wanted to get together to pay tribute to him, he added.

Mr Gurmit Singh, 66, who represents the Sikh religion, agreed.

While the IRO has been committed to enhancing religious harmony since it was founded in 1949, "our work was further reaffirmed by the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew", he said.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing, who attended the dinner event, said the multiracial, multi-religious and multi-ethnic harmony Singapore enjoys should not be taken for granted.

He also urged Singaporeans to look out for their fellow citizens, as that is the best way to remember Mr Lee's legacy. "Every ounce of his energy was spent taking care of Singapore and Singaporeans. The most fitting tribute that we can give Mr Lee and the founding leaders is to make sure we continue to take good care of Singapore and fellow Singaporeans," said Mr Chan.

"Make sure that Singapore continues not just to survive, but to thrive as a metropolis... A place all of us are proud to call home."

Also at the event last night were 120 low-income residents from nearby estates. They were treated to song and dance performances over dinner, and each got a red packet as well as a food pack that included rice, Milo powder and biscuits.

Pipit Road resident Chew Son Chun was there with her neighbour Molly Leong. Both are 77. Madam Chew said she agreed to attend when invited by volunteers as it was her way of showing gratitude to Mr Lee. "I was not able to go to Parliament House to say goodbye to Mr Lee last year when he died, because I get dizzy when I stand for too long," she said in Mandarin.

"But I'm here today to remember him. He'd done a lot for Singapore."

Madam Leong said: "This is our way of saying thanks to him."

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Youth pay tribute to Lee Kuan Yew with art
By Pearl Lee, The Straits Times, 21 Mar 2016

He was part of their growing up years in the 1990s and beyond.

Over the past month, some 110 young Singaporeans aged 17 to 35 relived their childhood days by using common stationery - erasers with the Singapore flag - to construct a portrait of first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

A total of 4,877 erasers were used to build the installation which is 2.3m wide and 3.1m tall - titled Our Father, Our Country, Our Flag - ahead of the first anniversary of Mr Lee's death on Wednesday.

Yesterday, Mr Lee's youngest brother, Dr Lee Suan Yew, 82, added an eraser to the art piece at The Red Box in Somerset Road to complete it. Joining him were his son Shaun, daughter Shermay and National Youth Council (NYC) chief executive David Chua.

It will be on display outside the building until Sunday.

AN UNUSUAL TRIBUTE: A portrait of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew made up of 4,877 Singapore flag erasers is on display at the recently launched Red Box in Somerset, which is named after Mr Lee's briefcase.Read more: Ooi Boon Keong/TODAY)
Posted by TODAY on Sunday, March 20, 2016

The art installation is a collaboration by the NYC, Youth Corps Singapore and Munch Munch, a company which produces old-school Singapore paraphernalia and snacks.

Munch Munch owner Raghrib Ken Hamid, who thought of the idea, said: "I thought it would be symbolic to use the Singapore flag erasers as a way to remember and celebrate the achievements of our founding Prime Minister."

Dr Lee said he was touched to know that young people appreciate what his late brother did for the country. And Mr Lee Kuan Yew strongly believed in building up the next generation, he added.

The event was one of several held yesterday to remember the late Mr Lee and the values he stood for.

In Bedok, residents made 25 art pieces with the seven shades of the rainbow, and put them together to form a bigger painting of Mr Lee.

It was a reference to a speech he delivered in 1996, when he urged young Singaporeans to seize opportunities and "find that rainbow, go ride it".

Some 1,500 people also gathered at Stamford Green for a ceremony where young Singaporeans from the four main ethnic groups reflected on Mr Lee's policies and legacy

On March 23, 2015, a strange cauldron of feelings
A vulnerability that will not go away
By Ng Jing Yng, TODAY, 21 Mar 2016

As the head of the organising committee for Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s state funeral, Acting Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng witnessed first-hand Singaporeans’ outpouring of grief as the nation united to mourn the death of its founding Prime Minister.

Looking back, Mr Ng said the experience was personally uplifting, after he was saddened by what he felt was a divided society post-2011 General Election. “This affirmation of Singaporeans’ unity (during the national mourning) ... gave me great optimism about Singapore’s way forward,” he told TODAY during a recent interview.

“When asked (to join politics), I was quite ready to step forward,” said the former Chief of Defence Force, who added that he felt the need to play a part in Singapore politics after the 2011 General Election.

A sense of responsibility and a desire to give back to society, he said, were also factors which motivated him to swop his military uniform for the People’s Action Party’s all-white garb.

One year on since Mr Lee’s death, Mr Ng remembers the exact details — down to the minute: At 3.29am on March 23, the organising committee was alerted and told to wait for doctor’s confirmation before activating Operation White Light — the codename for the state funeral. Mr Lee’s death was certified at 3.54am. At 6am sharp, the state funeral swung into place.

Mr Ng’s eyes reddened as he recalled the many Singaporeans he met during the seven days of national mourning, including an 84-year-old lady who declined to join the priority queue for the elderly, and young students who turned up in the wee hours before heading off to school.

“It was a very strange cauldron of feelings ... you are facing the realities that the founding Prime Minister has passed on, but you’re also happy that Singaporeans are coming out in large numbers (to pay their respects),” he said.

As he begins his own journey as part of the country’s fourth generation leadership, Mr Ng said he would draw inspiration and strength from Mr Lee’s political career, which saw him adapting seamlessly to changing circumstances.

“In this journey, we need to stay the course, but we also need to be able to sense, adapt and move again ... it might not be a straight line. This will not change for any generation of leaders,” Mr Ng said.

He reiterated the need for national leaders to keep in mind the big picture and core governing principles, such as having a clean government and maintaining the trust between the Government and Singaporeans. The leaders would also have to be close to the ground, in order to “develop the judgment and instinct and the wherewithal to understand the direction to go, to get the right things done to getting things done right”.

As the next generation of leaders takes over the mantle of steering the country forward, Mr Ng paid tribute to Mr Lee’s part in the smooth leadership transitions over the decades.

Noting that Mr Lee did not cling on to the prime ministership and instead relinquished it in 1990 — something that “not many people” in his shoes would have done — Mr Ng said: “We had two successful changeovers … (Mr Lee) has prepared for it (new leadership).”

On his education portfolio, Mr Ng said he shared Mr Lee’s emphasis on education. “It is a heavy responsibility. To prepare our children to be future-ready and the future is fast-changing, uncertain and complex,” he said.

During his time in Government, Mr Lee was steadfast in pursuing a bilingualism policy, which has become institutionalised in the educational system - much to the chagrin of some parents. Mr Ng said that by and large, the policy has served Singapore well. He noted that Singaporeans’ proficiency in English has allowed the country to plug into the world economy while the use of mother tongues has helped citizens strengthen their cultural identities.

#RememberingLKY #OneYearOnMy youth volunteers made this heartwarming video, which brings back fond memories of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Remembering Lee Kuan Yew Thank You Mr Lee Kuan Yew
Posted by Melvin Yong 杨益财 on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Values That Shaped Singapore
1,000 residents participated in a briskwalk and family carnival yesterday. Many families played a significant part in piecing together a jigsaw illustrating 60 values imparted by Singapore's Founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his generation of leaders. If you missed the event, catch up on the action here!
Posted by Sembawang Our Home on Monday, March 21, 2016

This morning, Bedok residents painted 25 pieces of colorful art work separately. When we put them together, this is what...
Posted by Lim Swee Say on Saturday, March 19, 2016

Lee Kuan Yew: Gone but forever in their hearts
People across Singapore pay tribute to the late Mr Lee with artworks and events a year after his death
By Pearl Lee, The Straits Times, 21 Mar 2016

In a speech 20 years ago, then Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew urged Singaporeans to seize the opportunities out there and not navel gaze.

"There is a glorious rainbow that beckons those with a spirit of adventure," he said. "To the young and not-too-old, I say, look at the horizon, find that rainbow, go ride it."

As the first anniversary of Mr Lee's death on March 23 last year approaches, a group of Bedok residents of all ages and races gathered yesterday morning to paint several pieces of art - using each of the seven colours of the rainbow.

They then put the pieces together to form a big painting of Mr Lee - to commemorate his urging of citizens to "follow that rainbow" and chart their own future.

Theirs was among the many remembrance events across the island yesterday where hundreds of residents got together to mark his contributions to the country.

Manpower Minister and East Coast GRC MP Lim Swee Say joined the Bedok residents and said in a Facebook post: "We all miss you, Mr Lee. The more we miss you, the more we will stay united, ride the rainbow to create a SG100 that you and all of us will be proud of."

“It was very tough for the family in the first month”: Dr Lee Suan Yew recounts the death of his elder brother, #LeeKuanYew, at the launch of an art installation paying tribute to the late founding Prime Minister.
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Sunday, March 20, 2016

In the afternoon, Mr Lee's younger brother, Dr Lee Suan Yew, 82, put the finishing touches to a unique art installation that formed the silhouette of Mr Lee's face with 4,877 rectangular erasers bearing the Singapore flag, a popular childhood stationery in the 1980s and 1990s.

The work was unveiled at the former National Youth Council building in Somerset Road.

The building was renamed The Red Box about a week ago, after the wine-coloured briefcase Mr Lee used throughout his working life.

The concept for the artwork was mooted by Mr Raghrib Ken Hamid, 34, who owns a business selling old-school local snacks and toys.

He said: "The inspiration to use the Singapore flag erasers to create an art installation of Mr Lee Kuan Yew came from the fond childhood memories of the eraser wrestling game we used to play."

More than 100 volunteers with the Youth Corps Singapore helped put the erasers together to form the image, which took six weeks from start to finish. The public will be able to view the art piece outside the building till Sunday.

Dr Lee, who was at The Red Box with son Shaun and daughter Shermay, said he found it "very touching to know that the youth in Singapore are admiring Lee Kuan Yew for what he has done", even though they did not live through times like the fight for independence and merger with Malaysia.

Republic Polytechnic student Sheila Manokaran, 21, who was among those who helped put up the erasers, said the piece was a fitting way to remember Mr Lee, a year on.

"It is also my way of honouring and remembering him," she said.

Top Singapore artist Ong Kim Seng opened a two-week-long exhibition at artcommune gallery in Bras Basah Complex that has three watercolour paintings of Mr Lee's old house at 38, Oxley Road.

Mr Lee's younger son Hsien Yang had earlier commissioned Mr Ong to make a painting of the pre-war bungalow in its original condition.

Mr Ong then did another similar painting of the house at the time, but from another angle, for his private collection, as well as a third painting of the house as it is now.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Lee Hsien Yang said he had asked Mr Ong to make a painting of the house in its original form as he wanted to preserve his memories of his childhood home.

He said that the past year had been emotionally very difficult, but added: "We are touched that so many people feel strongly about remembering my father, and I think it is a reflection of the respect and affection they held for him."

Yesterday morning, 1,500 people from nine community groups gathered at Stamford Green for a remembrance event.

Deputy Prime Ministers Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam and several Cabinet ministers and MPs joined them.

Four young Singaporeans from the Malay, Indian, Eurasian and Chinese communities each paid tribute to Mr Lee and reflected on his policies.

Nanyang Technological University undergraduate R. Daminisree said Mr Lee's firm belief in equal opportunities for all meant her generation had access to education.

"I am not denied opportunities because of the colour of my skin, the faith I choose or the language that I proudly call my own," she said.

"Mr Lee's foresight in institutionalising multiculturalism has led to a diverse and cohesive social fabric that is uniquely Singapore."

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing also spoke, and urged Singaporeans to keep Mr Lee's legacy of a multicultural, multiracial and multi-ethnic society intact, and not take it for granted.

"If we take a step back and reflect on the current state of affairs in Singapore, I would argue that it is most unnatural," he said.

"It goes against what many people believe to be the human instinct to group together with people of the same skin colour, same religion, and who speak the same tongue."

He noted that Mr Lee set himself the goal of building a diverse society as he wanted a Singapore that gave opportunities to all - and this is a "constant work in progress".

"Today, we are closer than we were yesterday. With your commitment and conviction, tomorrow, we will be even closer," he said.

Singaporeans celebrate life, legacy of LKY
Thousands attend events across island ahead of first anniversary of founding PM's death
By Walter Sim, The Sunday Times, 20 Mar 2016

Singaporeans from all walks of life yesterday gathered at events across the island to celebrate the life and legacy of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, ahead of the first anniversary of his death this week.

Mr Lee died on March 23 last year, at the age of 91.

Some said the show of unity was testament to the enduring impact Mr Lee and his policies had on their lives.

Quality manager Jimmy Lian, 42, who lives in Radin Mas, said Singaporeans "will always remember Mr Lee, whether it is one year or 10 years down the road".

Others said they were thankful to Mr Lee for his vision of a clean and green city, building it up, enforcing a meritocratic system for all people regardless of race, language or religion, and enabling social mobility.

These aspects that define Singapore must continue to be upheld, they said.

Tanjong Pagar resident N. Sudha Nair said it was "poignant" how Singaporeans have come together to mark the occasion.

"A year has gone by very quickly. It was not long ago when we were waving goodbye to him on a rainy day," said the lawyer.

"We will never forget what he's done for us and he will continue to live in our hearts and minds."

Mr Lian and Ms Nair were among 1,500 people who gathered at Tanjong Pagar - which Mr Lee represented from 1955 till his death - to witness the launch of a pottery artwork by members of Tanjong Pagar Community Club's pottery club.

Titled Everlasting Love, it is a tribute to the rich love story of Mr and Mrs Lee Kuan Yew. And for two weeks, orchid hybrids named after the couple will be exhibited at Tanjong Pagar Plaza .

Remembering. And Building on the Legacy.On Saturday 19 March evening, Tanjong Pagar held the first of two remembrance...
Posted by Indranee Rajah on Saturday, March 19, 2016

Tanjong Pagar GRC MPs attended the launch, and also moved on to Duxton Plain Park, where they planted seven Mempat trees, the species of tree that Mr Lee planted in 1963 - the year of Singapore's first tree-planting campaign.

Said Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law Indranee Rajah: "Mr Lee's passing marks the handing over of a baton from one generation to another. It is our duty to take Singapore into the next chapter, to build a future that is bright for everyone. That's what Mr Lee's legacy is."

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and labour chief Chan Chun Sing said: "Mr Lee and his team handed over to us a great country. It is upon our shoulders now to unite and take this country forward and to leave behind a better place for the future generation."

Some 3,000 residents also gathered at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park to remember Mr Lee.

Among them was IT security consultant Kelvan Siew, 35, and his daughter Gwyneth, three, who he also took along to events during the week of national mourning when Mr Lee died last year.

Mr Siew said his daughter is still too young to understand the impact of what Mr Lee has done for Singapore, but added: "I want her to eventually know who Mr Lee Kuan Yew is, and to never forget our roots."

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, an MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, penned a note in which he pledged to be caring by "looking after our residents as best as I can".

At Tanjong Pagar and Bishan, grassroots volunteers distributed badges bearing the now-ubiquitous logo "Follow That Rainbow", a reference to Mr Lee Kuan Yew's call for Singaporeans to chase their dreams.

These were but two of at least a dozen events held yesterday to remember Mr Lee.

In Toa Payoh Central, a remembrance ceremony was held in conjunction with a ceremony to welcome new citizens.

In wards like MP Heng Chee How's in Jalan Besar GRC, banners were laid out at residents' committee centres and community clubs to commemorate Mr Lee and for residents to pen their messages.

Yesterday morning, the Singapore Taxi Academy also hosted a panel discussion at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy moderated by former Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Seng Han Thong.

Engineering firm Koh Brothers chairman Koh Tiat Meng spoke of how difficult life was in the years leading up to independence, and thanked Mr Lee for building a country where hard work is key to success, regardless of background.

He noted that he was poorly educated, but now runs the company behind projects such as Marina Barrage and Punggol Waterway.

Filmmaker Jack Neo did not shy away from pointing out policy missteps under Mr Lee's prime ministership, citing the "Stop at Two" campaign. "Mr Lee is not God. There are areas he got wrong," he said in Mandarin. "But if you look at the big picture, it is undeniable he has left too immense an impact on Singapore."

One of those for whom the impact remains indelible is 97-year-old Ong Teng Huat, a resident of Tanjong Pagar for more than 50 years.

Asked how Mr Lee changed his life, Mr Ong could only manage to say "good, very good" as tears began welling up in his eyes.

The weather was beautiful yesterday evening when I joined residents and community leaders at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park to...
Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday, March 19, 2016

Passing on the spirit of building a garden city and paying forward...
Posted by Chan Chun Sing on Saturday, March 19, 2016

He knew we'd be all right
That the country continues to thrive - and innovate - is the greatest tribute to Mr Lee
By Paul Jacob, Political Editor, The Sunday Times, 20 Mar 2016

This time last year, we were fitful, restless. A part of us braced ourselves for an inevitable announcement. So this is it then.

It would be our "Where were you when Kennedy was shot" moment; when man landed on the moon. when the Twin Towers fell.

Where were you?

Only this time, it wasn't about an event over there, but one of the few significant moments that stay with you. And, when looking back years from now, it would be one of the milestones that you count on the fingers of one hand.

Yes son, it was that big a deal.

Yet also in the back of our minds this time last year, was the hope that this man, with his iron will and determination, would once again prove us all wrong.

And that within a matter of days, he would pull out of it and all our lives would return to normal.

And people would wonder what the fuss was all about.

There'd been false alarms with almost annual regularity.

Rumours would hit the market, there'd be a quiet but frenzied search for information.

Then calm when a picture would emerge of him, frail no doubt but in the company of a visitor, or an appearance at a forum packed with admiring business leaders from here and abroad keen to know from him the secret to the country's success, the impact of China's rise, India's place in the world, the United States, trade, Taiwan, the South China Sea... One more question please... Can we take a picture?

This time it was different.

Not a short routine hospital visit for tests, but a stay that stretched for weeks after the initial disclosure that he had been taken ill.

And over that lengthening period, people started to come together.

Curious, concerned. Drawn to the hospital in the hope and belief that their collective will, energy, thoughts and prayers could be focused, laser-like, to energise and nurse him back.

There was, bar the die-hard detractors, a sense of national unity, togetherness, a new-found understanding and an almost sudden realisation among young and old alike, that we got to be here, and have remained intact as a nation, largely as a result of what he and his pioneering generation of leaders and colleagues managed to achieve despite the odds.

And so there was no better time than that present moment, for an appreciative population, to pay him back by turning up in numbers, at all hours of the day and night, to will him back from the precipice.

But this time last year, it just didn't happen.

He'd decided to move on. Not because he didn't appreciate the gestures and the effort.

But because he knew that we would be all right without him here.

As we had been, in fact, for the many number of years since he stepped away from centrestage.

"Get on with it," he would likely say. "And don't drop the ball."

It is a fitting epitaph.

No frills, no fuss. Move on lads, there's nothing more to see here.

He gave of his time, perhaps more than was necessary. It was a good innings. It was tiring and it was, finally, time to rest. Deservedly. No one should begrudge him that.

Yet, as we know from experience, the failure to express appreciation when we ought to have gnaws away at us.

It's a deep and bitter regret that people addressed by showing up, whether in queues that stretched into the dead of night or in the downpour when the heavens opened up at the funeral, to nod, salute, contemplate, bow, clasp hands in prayer - any final gesture to say that I do appreciate, and wish I had said and done something sooner.

One year on, and the sky hasn't fallen in. The country remains intact. No one raided the reserves, investors didn't flee.

And the grumbling, a sure-fire sign of a return to normalcy, has resurfaced.

So now, on the cusp of the first anniversary of his death, there are no fewer than 100 events lined up - although not all may be public-access.

A connection, real or symbolic, can be found or, in some cases, will somehow be made, between events and something that he stood for and accomplished.

There is, in truth, little on this island nation that didn't escape his attention. Hence events at which trees are planted are a nod to his drive to green Singapore.

Outdoor activities like a planned brisk walk are billed as a reminder of his commitment to healthy living. Throw in the backdrop of the new city skyline and the narrative will include how Singapore had been dramatically transformed.

Hold anything on water, in a reservoir or cleaned-up river, and it reflects an appreciation of how he pushed for waterways to be cleaned up and transformed for leisure and recreational use.

There is no faulting the intent of what is being done to commemorate his passing.

And it is right, in this first year, that the appreciation of his contributions and the impact this had on the lives of everyone here continues to be acknowledged, and that the scale be kept modest.

No over-the-top mega event displays, like in the old Soviet era, or present-day North Korea. No need for a group or organisation to overstretch the imagination and slap an LKY label on to something, if only to show that, yes, we too have not forgotten that it's one year on.

It would not be too far off the mark to suggest that if he were somehow able to shape events this coming week, he would prefer that nothing be done.

A private remembrance among family, perhaps. Or a quiet coming together of longtime friends to reflect on his life and times.

What then for the rest of us?

By all means attend, take part and enjoy the events that will be out there this weekend and the week ahead because I think it would be discourteous to ignore the moment.

But the grandest tribute to him and his generation of leaders is that the country continues to exist and thrive; is not a failed state devoid of leadership, direction, energy, opportunity, and is not weighed down in mourning and moaning about the passing of a man, and men, of a particular generation.

That we have been able to move on, one year after, and that we remain intact, forward-looking, and continue to innovate, and nimbly and imaginatively navigate challenges, is not just a tribute to that league of extraordinary gentlemen and what they enabled for the country, but to everyone else in between - from as far back as you care to go.

Because, lest we forget, in commemorating and reflecting on the man that is LKY, we celebrate the Everyman too, and what we and our predecessors were able to also bring to the table because of what he did.

Kudos to the team for taking the time and effort to build this magnificent sculpture.
Posted by Stomp Straits Times on Monday, March 21, 2016

It was a lovely evening at The Pinnacle@Duxton as we attended the first of two events commemorating the passing of our...
Posted by Chia Shi-Lu on Saturday, March 19, 2016

In an exclusive interview, Mr Lee Kuan Yew's longest-serving security officer revealed what Mr Lee did when he saw a single dried branch by the side of the road. #RememberingLeeKuanYew
Posted by People's Action Party on Monday, March 21, 2016

President plants tembusu tree in Istana and pays tribute to Mr Lee
By Ng Huiwen, The Sunday Times, 20 Mar 2016

The sprawling grounds of the Istana were of particular interest and affection for founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, and where his vision of a City in a Garden first took root.

Yesterday, President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, planted a young tembusu tree on those grounds to mark the first anniversary of Mr Lee's death on March 23 last year.

Dr Tan paid tribute to Mr Lee's contribution to the Istana gardens and beyond, saying: "Making Singapore a City in a Garden was his great vision and foresight.

"And Mr Lee pursued this initiative with his usual tenacity, meticulousness and persistence."

The tembusu was one of Mr Lee's favourite trees as it is known for its strength and robustness, said senior curator Wong Tuan Wah, who worked closely with Mr Lee on various garden projects for 19 years.

Mr Lee took a liking to a particularly majestic 150-year-old tembusu tree on the Istana grounds and noted how it lived through many important events in Singapore, said Mr Wong.

Next Wednesday, it will be one year since Mr Lee Kuan Yew passed on. Earlier this afternoon, I joined NParks staff and...
Posted by Dr Tony Tan on Saturday, March 19, 2016

Remembered by many as the Istana's chief gardener, Mr Lee would also use the grounds as a testing bed for new flora and fauna that he encountered around the world.

If successful, he would later introduce them in the Botanic Gardens and parks throughout Singapore.

An example is the foxtail palm, a name inspired by bushy fronds that look like the tail of a fox. Mr Lee had come across the palm while on a visit to Australia and asked for it to be planted in the Istana. "Now, they have become a very attractive feature of the Istana gardens, beside the swan pond," said Dr Tan.

Constructed in July 1968, the swan pond is the largest of five ponds on the Istana's 40ha grounds.

It is also home to a pair of mute swans, which both Mr and Mrs Lee would visit and feed during their evening walks. Over the years, other birds such as whistling ducks and magpie robins were also introduced.

Mr Wong said at Mr Lee's request, chemical fogging of the grounds was not carried out as he feared it would kill the insects the birds feed on.

Mr Lee would also often display a glimpse of his romantic nature during the evening walks, he added.

He would sometimes pick a cluster of fragrant white flowers, more commonly known as the breadflower. A favourite of Mrs Lee's, the flowers have a sweet pandan fragrance.

He also started the country's tree-planting initiative, first in his Tanjong Pagar constituency.

"It was a symbolic reminder to Singaporeans of the importance of making sure that Singapore is not a concrete jungle, but a liveable city.

"The best way to remember him is to keep Singapore going for the next 50, 100 years," said Dr Tan.

It was in April 2003, when SARS had reached our shores.'Madam Kwa had to be quarantined and her temperature checked...
Posted by AsiaOne on Monday, March 14, 2016

IN PICTURES: At a remembrance event to mark the first anniversary of Mr #LeeKuanYew’s passing, Marine Parade residents...
Posted by TODAY on Friday, March 18, 2016

Activities to remember the late Lee Kuan Yew kick off in Singapore

Remembering Mr Lee and his values
Host of events include exhibition at three sites that have special meaning to him and Singaporeans
By Tham Yuen-C, Assistant Political Editor The Straits Times, 19 Mar 2016

Long queues snaked around Parliament House and large crowds gathered outside the Istana and in Tanjong Pagar in March last year, as Singaporeans came together to bid Mr Lee Kuan Yew farewell.

From today, the three locations will be host to display panels, photographs and write-ups about the late founding Prime Minister, who died on March 23 last year, aged 91.

The exhibition is among a host of events starting this weekend, to commemorate the first anniversary of his death.

Visiting the sites yesterday, People's Association deputy chairman Chan Chun Sing said they were chosen for their special meaning to Mr Lee and Singaporeans alike.

It was outside Parliament House that hundreds of thousands queued for hours to pay their last respects to Mr Lee when his body was lying in state. And it was in the Istana that Mr Lee spent the bulk of his life working for Singapore, he said.

Tanjong Pagar was Mr Lee's "home base" and the constituency he represented for 60 years. "It's not a moment of grief. Instead, we see it as a moment of celebration for us to remember the values he has imparted to us, and to take these values and build upon them to take the country forward," said Mr Chan, who is Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and labour chief.

Hyperlapse: Tanjong Pagar residents gather to remember Mr Lee ...
Watch our hyperlapse video of Tanjong Pagar residents gathering to remember Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy. Read more: Jason Quah/TODAY
Posted by TODAY on Saturday, March 19, 2016

Individuals and community groups have planned about 100 events to mark the anniversary.

Said Mr Chan: "Mr Lee has touched the lives of many Singaporeans in many different ways and it's only right that Singaporeans from all walks of life remember him in their own special way."

At one remembrance event yesterday, organised by Muslim welfare organisation Jamiyah, several children referred to him as a "superhero" during a skit they performed.

He is like Ironman, because he once said "whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him", said six-year-old Theodore Fun.

And he had bionic eyes because he saw 51 years ago that Singapore would be a successful, multiracial society, said Choo Shaoning, eight.

Jamiyah vice-president H.M. Saleem said Mr Lee was "the architect of policies that ensured freedom to practise and profess the preferred belief system and cultural individuality of our people". His view was shared by the Taoist Federation's Master Chung Kwang Tong, who was among the 150 people at Jamiyah's event.

Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, who was the guest of honour, recalled how Mr Lee understood the needs of the Malay-Muslim community as Singapore urbanised and supported the setting up of the Mosque Building Fund in 1974.

She said it was Mr Lee's genuine concern for the community that led him to suggest setting up self-help group Mendaki to help tackle the problem of academic underachievement among some in the community. Its success prompted the Government to set up similar self-help groups for other communities.

"When Mr Lee passed on last year, the entire nation, including the Malay-Muslim community, went to Parliament House to pay their respects to the man who truly made a difference to the lives of people in Singapore," she said.

"It is up to us, the present generation, to pass on this legacy to our children and grandchildren so that they too can live and progress harmoniously in Singapore."

A legacy of constancy and change
Editorial, The Straits Times, 23 Mar 2016

One man symbolises in many ways modern Singapore's past and present success: Mr Lee Kuan Yew. What the past 12 months have reaffirmed is that his ideas and values will undergird the nation's future achievements as well, going by the broad-based responses to his death and legacy.

After he had handed over the reins, as planned meticulously in advance, there were moments when bouts of ill health afflicting him would spark talk of market jitters and political uncertainty. Would investors take flight and would his political foes be emboldened? On the contrary, the nation stood firm despite the enormity of its sense of loss a year ago today, which was also felt in places like New Zealand and India where flags flew at half-mast at government and public buildings to mark his passing. Investment commitments last year met the Economic Development Board's forecast; and the Republic was tested by a general election which saw the People's Action Party, which he co-founded, gaining a popular vote share of 69.9 per cent - almost 10 percentage points more than what it got in the 2011 election.

Progressively over half a century, the edifice that is modern Singapore has become larger than the man who had embodied it since its creation. This is as it should be and Mr Lee, of all people, would take the greatest pleasure from it, as Singapore was his obsession. That is a hallmark of inspirational leaders who sit at the apex of a leadership pyramid that gurus, like Good To Great author Jim Collins, frame to distinguish them from just effective leaders. Ideals and their realisation mattered more to Mr Lee than recognition. He decried the cult of personality; not for him the self-aggrandising monuments that one sees elsewhere. Singaporeans will doubtless bear this in mind as they decide on the scale and design of the Founders' Memorial to honour him and his colleagues.

We were privileged to have filmed some of Mr Lee's most significant soundbites. Here is one of them from "The Making of The Hard Truths" video. #lky #leekuanyew #singapore"I did some sharp things to get things right. Maybe they disapprove of it. Too harsh. But a lot was at stake. At the end of the day, what have I got? Just a successful Singapore. What have I given up? My life."Full video:
Posted by RazorTV on Monday, March 23, 2015

What had to stand the test of time, in Mr Lee's eyes, were the principles and institutions - many of which he had helped to shape - that would hold the nation in good stead whatever the vicissitudes of fortune. Contemplating the future through Mr Lee's lenses, Singaporeans would accept that while his legacy ought to be preserved, today's and tomorrow's leaders will have to adapt to the ever-changing contours of politics, society, economics and technology. They will have to view these with a twin perspective - bifocal, if you will - at once global and local, long-term and immediate. While striving to emulate Mr Lee's visionary approach, theirs is an important ministry of mediating change or transformation across diverse fields in perhaps quite different ways from his. Mr Lee was pragmatic enough to adapt with the times. He would surely want Singaporeans not just to cast his ideas in stone, but to keep adapting them to face the realities of the world.


Lee Kuan Yew, the general who plotted victory for Singapore
Marking the one-year anniversary of the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew: PM Lee’s remarks at Cabinet meeting on 23 March 2016, remarks by PM Lee Hsien Loong


One year ago today, Mr Lee Kuan Yew passed away. The week of national mourning that followed was a landmark in our nation building, and in developing a Singapore identity.

Time passes quickly, and we're now at the first anniversary.

We are marking this day by celebrating Mr Lee's life and looking forward. Many groups all over Singapore are holding events to commemorate his values and his life work. We are all rededicating ourselves to Mr Lee's lifelong passion - Singapore.

As we begin our Cabinet meeting today, let us take a moment to remember Mr Lee and what he stood for and did over the years, especially in this very room.

The PAP came into power in 1959. At first, the Prime Minister's Office was at the City Hall. In 1971, Mr Lee moved his office to the Istana. Cabinet meetings were held in this room. Every week for 40 years, Mr Lee chaired or attended Cabinet here to discuss the issues of the day, and make decisions that set the course for Singapore.

There is a Chinese saying that the general sits in his command tent, devising strategies and plans that bring his armies victory a thousand miles away in the field. This Cabinet room was Mr Lee's command tent, where issues were examined and debated, decisions were taken, instructions given and progress tracked.

This was a collective endeavour. Mr Lee was primus inter pares - first among equals. But the ministers took active part in the Cabinet deliberations. Many know Mr Lee's public face - his leadership style, his approach to problems, his record of achievements. But few have had the privilege of his Cabinet colleagues, including quite a number of us here today, who worked directly with him, and experienced up close how he ran his Cabinet and his Government. It was an open, interactive, dynamic process, an unforgettable experience for all those who participated in it.

Mr Lee would usually have clear views on the matter under discussion. He would recount the history and the considerations that led us to where we were, so that we kept sight of the context as we made fresh decisions. He was mindful that before removing a fence, one had to understand why it had been put there in the first place. Though he often gave his views up front, he would encourage ministers with different views to argue their case, and listen to them with an open mind.

One example I remember well was our decision to cut CPF (Central Provident Fund) contributions in 1985. During a phase of rapid growth, Mr Lee had systematically built up CPF contributions, eventually raising them to 50 per cent of wages. He had defended this in his usual robust way, against critics who wanted to reduce the CPF to cut costs. Then we ran into a severe recession. I chaired the Economic Committee, which eventually concluded that our costs had got out of line, and that we did indeed need to reverse policy, to cut the CPF to make the economy competitive again. Dr Tony Tan, who was the Minister for Trade and Industry, agreed. MTI put up a Cabinet paper proposing to cut the CPF contribution rate from 50 per cent to 40 per cent.

Mr Lee listened to our arguments. Then, to our surprise, he said, if you are going to do it, do it properly. Forty per cent is neither here nor there. Make a decisive move, and cut it to 35 per cent. Furthermore, cut only the employer's contributions. Do not cut employees' contributions to increase take-home pay. That may sweeten the package, but it will do nothing to make us more competitive. It was bitter medicine, and we had to work hard to sell it to the unions and workers. But it worked, brought us out of the recession and brought jobs back. It also was an important bonding experience for the younger ministers and population. We learnt a lesson not just in economic management but in political leadership.

As Prime Minister, Mr Lee kept an eagle's eye on every aspect of Singapore, whether it was the health of our economy, the state of our foreign relations, the trees along the East Coast Parkway, or the cleanliness of the Singapore River. He left nothing to chance.

Yet he knew that he could not control everything personally, and that even more so another Prime Minister would have to govern in a different way. He advised us that one could not use 10 fingers to catch 10 fleas, quoting Mao. One had to focus on the important things and build a team.

He himself made an enormous effort to ensure that his successors succeeded. Even after he stepped down as Prime Minister, he continued to attend Cabinet meetings as Senior Minister and Minister Mentor. Most remarkably, three generations of younger ministers benefited from his experience and insights, his views and concerns and, increasingly, his thoughts for Singapore's future. So for nearly half a century, here in this room, we had a level of discussion and decision-making that would have been exceptional in any Cabinet room in the world.

Now we are a new team, dealing with a changed world in new ways, but always inspired by Mr Lee's example and his memory, and holding firm the ethos and values that he stood and fought for. These will guide us as we in our turn follow the rainbow that Mr Lee himself chased all his life - to build an exceptional nation and to improve the lives of all Singaporeans.

We have so much to be grateful for. Let us observe a minute of silence together.

Groups plan activities to mark Lee Kuan Yew's legacy

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