Thursday, March 26, 2015

A great legacy to be continued...

Posted by Dawn at Thursday, March 26, 2015 0 comments Links to this post


It has been the fourth day since the passing of our first prime minister on 23 March 2015, 3:18am. I have been overwhelmed with emotions (not one that lead me to tears but one that stirs up my heart so much to want to do something) as I watch the numerous pictures and videos online or on television when various parts of the world send their condolences as well as stories from his past.

A man highly respected for turning Singapore from a 3rd world country to a 1st world country (with an average per capita GDP of just $427.9 in 1960, Singapore surged more than a hundred times to over $55,000 in 2013, making the country one of the richest), a man who had the foresight of making English our first language as well as to promote bilingualism and of course the list just goes on and on.

There are just so many lessons to be learnt from him and I wish my children can catch on them and run with it in their lives.

I was just speaking to my husband, Chee Tiong about how he is a perfect example to what I call a great leader. If you take up books on leadership off the shelves and read through their recommendations of how to be a good leader, I know Lee Kuan Yew has most or even all of those points ticked off.



So as I reflect on his achievements, but more so his personality, I think about what speaks to me most and how I want to pass this on to my next generation.

After learning so much about him over these past few days, the first thing that strikes me most is his discipline. And because he was so disciplined, he was a man of great intelligence, with no patience for mediocrity. He excelled in what he pursued and was very focused on what he wants and with that, the rest comes in for e.g having a strict diet, accompanying with exercise, to master his languages to make that connection with people all around (even till he was 90 years old, he was still learning Chinese). His determination and fighting spirit is so evident in his life even during his final years.

Secondly, what I hope to pass on to my children, is his kindness he never failed to show to the people around him. Hearing interviews from his children and from the public who had a personal encounter with him all spoke the same time about how he never fail to keep in touch with his friends, ask about them and spends time with them.  He appreciates relationship and makes effort to sustain them. Simply put, he deeply cared for people.

Next is his reliability. Families and friends all know that they can depend on him if anything goes wrong. A very responsible man who takes care of the country as well as his family. And because he is a man of integrity, all of us knew he can be trusted with the country. (Singapore became one of the least corrupted nation in the world) As long as it is corrupt-free, then the country can progress! 

I remember reading in the news that Lee Kuan Yew rejected a bribe of US$3.3 million from CIA when he discovered their covert operation in Singapore in 1960. That would be worth about US$26 million today. Instead, he asked for US$33 million in economic-development aid to Singapore and Malaysia instead. What he did instead was to use his advantageous position for the betterment of the nation.

And despite being such a great man of influence and inspiration, he remained simple and humble. They had no shower for the longest time, preferring to scoop water from a large earthenware jar at bath-time. It was only after Mrs Lee had a stroke in London in 2003 that their children installed a shower before she returned home.


Definitely a man to be respected and admired. So what life lessons from Mr Lee are you going to teach the next generation?




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