Today, the 23rd of March, my fellow citizens of Singapore and I woke up to the sad news. “It’s a sad day for his family, for Singapore and the world. A great statesman has passed on” was the WhatsApp message by my Class ’73 group (of engineers who graduated in 1973 from the University of Malaya). Yes, sad news for the rest of the world too.
First of all, I send to the bereaved Lee family my family’s deepest condolences. It must have been especially hard for PM Lee Hsien Loong to hold his composure during the live telecast on his dad this morning by Channel News Asia.
Mr. Prime Minister, we are still a very Young Nation at 50 and please continue to lead and to serve this nation with the same resolve and the wisdom which your Dad – as the founding father of Singapore has shown you. And also to us. My Pioneer Generation and I understand that as fathers, we often thought we did the right things for our children, but the rationale may have been lost in translation. We will be criticised – it’s only the degree of severity.
For the bereaved nation, let us not forget where we came from and continue to find strength in what remains behind. Wordsworth has comforting words for us here:
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind.