We are here today to pay tribute to our former prime minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who have passed away. I am truly honoured to be here. Me and my colleagues in Berita Harian, wish to extend our condolence to the Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, for the lost of his papa and in this difficult times, we too grieve for we lost one of Singapore’s finest son.
Let me now share, a personal thought, in both English and Malay, of the man, who have contributed much to the building and success of this nation.
how do i remember thy
for whom he has been one
among the many who plays a part
in shaping my view about life
i read his books, aplenty
i translated his words, interpreted his works
i covered his walks and travel with him for miles
all in a decade, I got a sneak
of his life, love and struggles
the challenges i must say, enormous
for a statesman he is, having that courage
leading his men, taking care of them
from cradle to grave
he build this nation, achieving his vision
turning this little island into a place one called Home
what he fear is complacency, and I keep reminding
myself, relaxing is never free
Life is not just eating, drinking, television and cinema…The human mind must be creative, he said… well, i am trying, no?
He once said, I am often accused of interfering in the private lives of citizens.
If only I can muster the courage to tell him, you did, sir.
I am the product of your policy – of two child per family!
Once, we were in KL for his eight-day visit to Malaysia, I asked during our usual wrap-up interview: “MM… (He was then Minister Mentor) why don’t you meet (Dr) Mahathir?”
His answer in Malay was short yet crisp:
Dia orang besar… saya orang kecil (He is a big man, I am a small man)…
And that one liner response, reminded me of his words:
“You lose nothing by being polite.” I agree and indeed, “Politeness is
the flower of humanity,” as said by Joseph Joubert.
Now in Malay:
sejauh perjalananmu, memartabat nusa
menyeka keringat warga, yang lelah sesudah dijajah
sejauh perjalananmu, memacak jati diri anak zaman
tanpa sekali mengira suku-suku yang mewarna
menyemai benih-benih kesatuan, meski persatuan digugah-gugat
api-api persengketaan, hingga luka dan berdarah…
seawal hadirmu dunia menerka…
tanah ini tidak mampu menjanjikan
selautan harta, segedung khazanah
engkau meniup semangat
agar si walah bangkit, membangun pertiwi nan kontang
menjadikan ia apa-apa, walau tanpa apa-apa
lima darsawarsa sesudah, Singapura kini di kemuncak
26th March 2015, Thursday
– Speech cum eulogy delivered during SPH’s Memorial Event for former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew at SPH News Centre, 1000 Toa Payoh North, held between 11am to 12pm and was attended by more than 700 staff.