23 March 2015, I woke up to news (which i have been anticipating but do not wish for it to come true) that Mr Lee Kuan Yew has passed away.
It has finally happened. I am not sure how I actually felt. It wasn't just grief. It was more than that. Much more.
Friends who know me will know that the governing party, which is synonymous with Mr Lee Kuan Yew has my support. Sure there were areas I wasn't happy about but they have my support.
It wasn't so when I was younger.
When I was in my 20s/early 30s I really couldn't be bothered with politics. I didn't see/understand the impact that it had on me or my loved ones. To me, whatever I had at the point in life was either provided for by my family or achieved through my own efforts. Government ? Politics? I was clueless.
How ignorant I was. And to think I am educated?!? *ashamed*
In fact I was rather unhappy with my life in Singapore that I was harbouring thoughts/plans about immigration. what was I unhappy about? Honestly, looking back now I don't really remember.... maybe the stress of working/living in Singapore; maybe the grass is greener on the other side syndrome where everywhere else simply looked more attractive. More space. More nature. Less stress. More leisurely pace. Whatever.
When the opportunity came for hubby to work overseas we gamely went! That decision took us to Hong Kong and Netherlands for a total of 8 years. 说长不长 说短不短。
And it is during this time that my views of Singapore and our leaders took a shift.
In fact it took a turn for the worse initially. ... cos I felt that the government was losing touch with the ground. And of course it was easy to criticise on paper.
And things are always simpler when there is only 1 perspective. Mine.
They should have done this. Consider that. Why wasn't there more communication and planning ? Questions and criticisms abound.
But we all know (or do we?).... That governing the country is truly an enormous task.... I am not sure even if i tried.... would I be able to comprehend all the mind boggling affairs. ... macro, micro, international and stuff. Not forgetting differing views from the population ....
Anyway, I digress.
But things started to change as I interact with people of different nationalities and begin to understand a little about the struggles/problems that their nations face. And having lived in 2 other countries I experienced some of these challenges as well. And I experienced too the feeling of being viewed as the 'foreign talent' (a nicer way of putting it....) and it became clearer to me that each nation has unique challenges and as a citizen of one country.... how should i play my part? Complain and complain and hoping for change (which may or may not be better)? Or find ways to constructively contribute and consider various perspectives?
I think the other thing that changed me was after I had my daughter. It was a subtle change. Somehow having a child made me consider issues I didnt think were important before. My perspectives also changed slightly.
You know when I was working - usually i try to be in control of the work situation .... I see my job as one that includes strategising to meet business targets, to solve problems, anticipate challenges and had contingent plans... and usually things work out e.g. Our marketing plan will be launched per plan, business targets will be met, service issues anticipated or resolved. .. and at the end of the day the bosses are happy, everyone's happy, we receive our salaries and bonuses.
But raising a child wasn't that straight forward.
As my daughter grew.... I realised that the best of my intentions may not turn out the way I want it.... my daughter may not respond in a way I anticipate. She has her own mind and opinions. I try to motivate her but she may not bite. it's a learning process. What are her needs? How do I nurture her? How can I help her to succeed? What about her emotional needs?
Nowadays we will get into arguments sometimes. She doesn't understand why I want things done certain ways. Why her suggestions were not approved. And simply why can't she do things her way? I try to explain my rationale. Get her buy-in. It doesn't work some times and I take out my trump card : I am the mother, you are my child, follow me. ;p o dear! So draconian! Just like PAP in the early days! Lolol.
Of course I always tell my daughter that I have her interests at heart... that when she grows up she will understand why.... that as the older one I am more experienced. ... but I know she isn't very convinced at times. She finds me naggy, unreasonable and why is it that she can't always get her way??
But but I am trying to protect you! I say in my heart. At the end of the day I realise that I have to let her try and fail at times, even when it is painful for me especially when the consequences are clear to me.
And sometimes I think maybe this is the way with the government at times.... trying it's best to protect the citizens ....who may not understand or grasp it.
Imagine governing a country. Millions of lives in your hand. Me? I am only talking about 1 and I am grappling and pulling my hair out sometimes. So I dare not say I comprehend the challenges the government face. I don't.
I began to look back at the things the government has done. Their 用心良苦. Trying to understand why certain actions were taken. The results. The repercussions. I think for Singapore we had a lot more positives than negative going for us. But it was difficult at times I believe. Especially when we don't see the big picture or cannot grasp the essence. And of course there are some within the government who are totally ...... I am lost for words. .... cannot make it??
But at the end of the day what is the kind of government, leader that I (you) want? That is the fundamental question.
With Mr LKY's passing.... It is timely to reflect. And the reason I believe so many grieved is because he is such a great leader.... listen to his speeches, look at his policies and one can see that he ALWAYS has the interests of Singapore and Singaporean first. He didn't enter politics for the power or glory or money. His passion for the country and his people is unwavering to the point that maybe it was stifling. What more could I ask for in a leader? A leader who keeps his promises. Doesn't sell his country out for his personal gain.
And most fortunately for us, I feel, his son takes a lot after his father in terms of his passion for Singapore. Like I said before -- when PM Lee was younger I found him arrogant and really out of touch with the ground. But I see and feel his passion for this country, it's people. He has changed and is changing. Could be a result of the pressure from the electorate or the changing society. .. whatever it is, isn't it good that our leader is listening and adapting? So I always pray that the Lord will grant him wisdom to choose honest, wise and passionate people for his team. He can't do this alone. Or even with a few good man. A whole team is required and also the nation's cooperation.
There is a Chinese saying 富不过三代。 I will be lying if I say I am not a little worried for Singapore. PM Lee is the 3rd generation leadership now.....
But I am grateful for the foundation that Mr Lee Kuan Yew has laid. The team that he has built up. I will continue to pray for my country and it's leadership.
Thank you Mr Lee. Words cannot express my gratitude. I am grateful that I live in this city that you and your team painstakingly built. I will try my best to give back to my country, in whatever small way I can. Thank you. Rest in peace.