“Many are too young to remember how bad things were. They take for granted Singapore’s orderly progress and continuing prosperity as the natural order of things. Those who do remember know that our present stability and prosperity have been built upon the cohesion, the determination and the planning of a small band of men.”
Singapore and the world witnessed the loss of an extraordinary leader of our time. MM Lee passed away at a grand age of 91, after being warded in Intensive Care Unit for severe pneumonia in February. It is a tough time for the nation and The Influencer Media wishes to extend our deepest condolences to the immediate family of Lee Kuan Yew.
No words would have sufficed to sum up Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy; how he made Singapore as she is today. From a third world to first world nation, no matter the constraints and doubts we’ve faced in the early years of independence. We pick out the 5 moments in Lee Kuan Yew’s life, and how his legacy lives on.
1) Separation from Malaysia
The merger of Singapore with Malaysia was short-lived and the separation was definite; after a series of riots that broke out in 1964 due to racial tensions. This, among other factors, led to the separation of Singapore from Malaysia. Believing that the merger was crucial to Singapore’s growth as a nation at that time, then-PM Lee Kuan Yew teared on national television; also known to many as the most iconic moment for Lee Kuan Yew. His dedication, passion and fear were all encapsulated at that moment. It was considered one of the most powerful political moment in Singapore’s history.
2) National Service
The act was passed in 1967, as it was crucial for Singapore to have its own military defence at that time. The first reporting batch of SAFTI officer cadets reported to training on 1st June 1966. Over the years, NS became the duty of every Singaporean Son. As Lee Kuan Yew puts it best, “The success of Singapore depends upon how well we uphold these ideals: the constant drive to excel in all that we do, as individuals and as a nation, and a willingness to share responsibility for the common good.”
On his Raffles Institution days and how he was caned for chronic lateness, Lee Kuan Yew took the stance of caning as an efficient and capable corporal punishment. v was subsequently introduced caning in the Singapore Armed Forces, making Singapore as one of the few countries in the world to have caning as a penalty to uphold military discipline. Singapore was brought to international spotlight after Michael Fay, an 18 year-old American teenager, was sentenced to caning for vandalism and theft in 1994.
4) School of Public Policy
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy was inaugurated in 2004 and has since become the third best equipped school of public policy in the world, and perhaps the first to focus on a fully integrated multi-disciplinary curriculum. Over 80% of its cohort are international students from the Asian, producing remarkable alumni through the years.
Directed at the then-Minister of Transport; Lee Kuan Yew made a a feedback on Singapore Airlines particularly on not “[wanting] to give the impression to international passengers who have never been to Singapore that Singapore is a Chinese country…’ Singapore’s policy were shaped from this belief through the years – we have quotas of the different race groups in housing planning and this led to embedding the strong sense of racial harmony within lives of Singaporeans.
Words will never suffice for the gratitude this nation owes to our late Lee Kuan Yew. For the last time, Thank you Sir.
Photos: Images as linked