3/28/2015

The awakening of the discriminating Singaporeans




Over the last few days we have witnessed the awakening of a new Singaporean, thinking, discriminating and appreciating the good works done by the government. They knew who was the architects and movers behind the good life that Singaporeans are enjoying today. They are anything but daft. And they are grateful and respectful to the man that made it happened.

The people are marching with their feet to show their approval and gratitude to the last and most formidable founding fathers of modern Singapore. From the young to the old, parents retelling the successful stories of Singapore’s tranformation and their admiration of LKY for being there to make it happen, with his able peers.

Do not be mistaken by this spontaneous rise of a people that are not known to show their emotions openly, apolitical and apathetic. They are not. Count on them when they are needed. They may not say much, not express much, they may not march on the streets, but they know what is happening and what is going on. They give credit when credit is due.

They will not be cheated or shortchanged. Since the days of Hougang, Aljunied and Punggol East, the Singaporeans have clearly shown a very astute level of political awareness. The glimpses of this awareness are encouraging and will do well to a people and country as we move forward. They will not blindly follow or believe, or be misled by the pretender pied pipers. They will only follow the true leaders that have their interests at heart and will deliver to them what they want, not what they do not want.

Telling lies to them would not do. They think and they will decide for their own good and their own future. They will line the streets tomorrow to say farewell to the last hero of yesteryears. It will be a scene that may not be repeated for a long time to come.

LKY – Dancing on the world stage




The world was his stage. He was one of the key actors playing his part brilliantly and at times to eclipse the roles of many big players. In a way he usurped the roles of other bigger players and claimed the stage as his own when others faltered or could not continue to stay on and were replaced. His endurance made him a permanent cast to provide the continuity in an unending play. He was there when new players were introduced into the stage to show them the rope, how to play their roles without tripping on stage.

At home he had a smaller stage, in fact too small for him that there was no room for anyone else except himself. The years of honing his skills pushed him to eminence as the undisputed master in the trade, both at home and in the world.  Now the master is gone. The students have learnt, but not too well. Oops, some thought they have learnt enough to be able to carry the candle and pass it on. None of the students are in his class, to level up with him, but could be masters in their own right, in the smaller stage back home.

LKY is the equivalent of Huang Fei Hong, and his disciples will remain his disciples, with none able to achieve and attain his level of skills to play at the highest level of the game.

The students will play their parts but would not excel to propel them to the international stage like the master, not at the moment. Perhaps some might hone their skills to keep the flame burning and find their place in the international stage as a major player, perhaps. Perhaps left on their own, they would grow and fight their way onto the world stage. They would have to prove their worth to be there, no one will be there to offer them a place on stage. They must earn it.

What is worrying is that the smaller stage, the home stage maybe too small for the students but not in the same way it was too small for LKY. In their blinded ignorance or arrogance, they brought in bigger players to play in the small stage with a false sense of security. Little did they realize that when the master was around, no outsiders would dare to usurp their role to upstage the disciples. The master was still keeping a keen eye on the stage. Now master is no more.

Would the students be able to hold on to their prominent role in the home stage? Or would they be ousted from the stage by the bigger and more ruthless players from afar, without the protection and watchful eyes of the master? The students have a small stage to play on. Would the stage be too small that there would be no standing ground for them to stand on?

The students have learnt, or may have learnt, but may not have mastered much of the master’s prowess and shrewdness to stay on the stage. It looked easy when the master was around. It even looked easy to be calafare on the international stage, as stand ins or guest stars. Minus the master’s overwhelming presence and aura, the big stage would be too crowded for them. Hopefully they can keep on dancing on the small stage and not be taken away from them. Dancing on the small stage can also prove perilous to the naïve, innocence and daft.

Would they lose the stage? Would they lose their pants? Forget about dancing on the world stage when the master is gone.

3/27/2015

LKY – A time for celebration, a happy funeral, a 喜丧


喜丧 pronounced as xi sang, I hope the Chinese character is the right one, is an expression used for someone who has lived a good life and departed at a ripe old age. To qualify, I think the deceased must be past 80 while some would accept 70. The other conditions are a good life, a big family with children and grandchildren and a lot of wealth, fame and fortune, the more the merrier.
 

According the Chinese custom, a 喜丧 or ‘happy funeral’, is a combination of happy and sad emotions but more of the former, happy that the person had lived well and to a ripe old age and died peacefully and naturally. The sadness comes from the separation or departure of the loved one and not be able to have the person around to continue to enjoy the blessings.
 

The processes of a ‘happy funeral’ are a reversal of the normal funeral processes that are all about pains, griefs, despair and sadness, all drapes, sack clothes, white and black and crying. A ‘happy funeral’ is about celebration, celebrating the deceased’s good life. Red is the colour for the occasion, not black. Joss sticks are red as well, not the colour of green. Entertainments are provided in the form of opera or in today’s version, stage show or ge tai, 歌台, to entertain the deceased and the living. There will be joy and feastings as well, firecrackers too I think.
 

I am a bit disturbed by all the grievings and the calls for dressing in the usual mourning black and all the expression of misery. Yes there will be some sadness. In this case, how many people can live the life that LKY has lived and to depart so peacefully, with a big family of children and grandchildren, with a big fortune, jiat buay liao, with the citizens and statesmen of the world saying all the kind words about him?
 

LKY has live exceptionally well and it is time to call for a celebration for ‘What a life!’ he was blessed with. This is a ‘happy funeral’, a 喜丧. Don’t have to make it a sad occasion. Cut off the solemn music and the look like it is the end of the world. Put on some cheerful tunes and put on the smile. You can’t be mourning and grieving about a life well lived and a life well spent!
 

‘He is an extraordinary man, lived through an extraordinary time, and did some extraordinary things. ‘ Redbean

My Last Mile with MM Lee Kuan Yew

Walking Through History


On yet another hot Spring Wednesday, the skies waver between gloom and shine midweek in the time of national mourning
over the passing of our beloved MM Lee, Founder of Singapore and Father of all Singaporeans.

For none desiring him to go so soon before their children and grandchildren could know the Man without whom, there is no modern Singapore as the World knew us.  I did not know that I would be walking through History as I join the queue to pay my last respect to MM Lee Kuan Yew as he lays in state at Parliament House.
My Q position was only 3km long from the House and the journey took almost 6 hours.

The Q snakes along both banks of the Singapore River from South Bridge Road through Clarke Quay along UOB Plaza through Battery Road, to swing around Standard Chartered Building and MayBank, passing by Bank of China whose staff passed out bottled water, before crossing Cavenagh Bridge at One Fullerton arriving at the Asian Civilisation Museum next to Parliament House.

Along Clarke Quay, I looked out at the Singapore River; saw flashes of the tongkangs and bumboats that once dominated the River so central to our economic survival those early days.  They are gone now.  Looking ahead beyond Cavenagh Bridge, the skyline of Opera House and Marina South loomed, flanked by One Fullerton, formerly the General Post Office; the old and new have co-existed as Singapore developed from 3rd World to 1st in just 40 years led by MM Lee Kuan Yew.
He promised in 1965: “I will make this a Metropolis in 10 years!”.
He delivered as he always does in whatever he promises.

As the Q moves at a snail pace, at times only 15 meters in an hour, I could only begin to grasp the true meaning of the moment; for just a stone’s throw away, the Stock Exchange and Banking Sector continue their hustling and bustling wheeling and dealings
amidst other commercial and trading activities, seemingly oblivious of the solemn ceremony taking place; Singapore as a global financial hub continues in vibrancy unabated with the heartbeats of the Man whose own heart has ceased; for as he laid in state, MM Lee’s energy and vitality continue in the daily life of Singapore. The Man has not just given his life and all to Singaporeans; MM Lee has in fact interred in the Singaporean soul the embodiment of his spirit, dreams and aspirations of an exceptional Singapore nation in the global community, of a free, prosperous, racially harmonious, sovereign nation deserving of respect, admiration and friendship by all.

And after nearly 6 hours, I arrived; to walk past his body with a momentary pause of respect and remembering our first meeting in 1983; this last mile’s walk with him will always be cherished. Even in death, he has reminded me and all Singaporeans, Singapore in not easy; it takes hard work, dedication, vision, perseverance, resilience and Leadership.  And so he left as he has lived, not a monument to his name nor his image on any ornaments, with just the grateful hearts of millions of Singaporeans privileged and honoured to know and have him for many seasons of his life.
“Goodbye, my Leader, Mentor, Brother and Friend”.

I could still sense his heartbeats continued strong as he laid resting at last; his work unfinished but for us to build upon by remembering his pillar legacies based on social peace with justice, regardless of race, language or religion, on this tiny sunny island by the sea.


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3/26/2015

Lee Kuan Yew - People queuing to pay last respect

I made a trip down to the Padang and Parliament House to take some photos on the people turning up to pay their last respect to LKY.

The photos run in sequence from the top to the bottom with people arriving and moving into the holding area at the Padang. The Padang was dotted with army tents to provide some cover from the sweltering heat while the queue zigzaged from one side of the field towards the Esplanade. After crossing the road they moved towards Victoria Concert Hall, going through the underpass beneath St Andrew Road to emerge in front of the Asian Civilisation Heritage Centre. From there they walked along the Singapore River towards the new Parliament House.

Another queue in front of the City Hall/Supreme Court was formed for the seniors and children for a shorter route to the Parliament House.


Donation for Mysingaporenews Collection book

Hi, 5 more days to my crowdfunding for Mysingaporenews Collection Book.
Still need more orders or donations for those who wanted to help. I havc placed a paypal facility on the top left corner of this blog for this purpose after receiving comments that some prefer to use paypal.

Instructions

After hitting the paypal 'Buy Now' button, for Description just type 'Book'
As for Item, just key in amount eg 100 for $100 and hit update.
Then continue with the particulars of donors on the right side of same page.

Many thanks.

Redbean

Jokowi got fixed by Japan


In his official trip to Asia’s two biggest economic power, Japan was his stop to be followed by China to end his trip. In his first day in Japan, the Japanese paper flashed his remark that China’s claim in the South China Sea based on the 9 dashes has no legal basis in international law. This put him in an awkward situation when he next visits China to meet its leaders. Jokowi is now seen as taking the side of Japan and opposing China’s claim.
 

Jokowi has come to clarify his position today, claiming that Indonesia is a neutral party and would not take sides. His comment was only referring to the 9 dashes but not China’s claim as a whole. China has been diplomatically quiet about his comment and not wanting to say things in view of his scheduled official visit. The issue would definitely be top of the agenda when he is in Beijing.
 

The purpose of Jokowi’s visits to the two countries is to seek more economic cooperation and participation of the two countries in Indonesia’s big economic plan. The funding and know how of the two countries are greatly sought after by Indonesia. Did Japan corner him to make his anti China comment in return for Japanese investment in Indonesia? And how would this affect China’s position and how much would China put in eventually towards the infrastructure development of Indonesia would be telling.
 

Jokowi would have a tough time explaining his position that the Japanese have deliberately flashed in their media. He would still be warmly received in Beijing as Indonesia is still a very important partner to China in the region. There could or may not be any impact with respect to how much China would be willing to invest in Indonesia and if the assessment is a not too friendly Indonesia, there would definitely be a toning down on the final bundle.
 

How much would Jokowi get from Japan and China would be interesting to watch. Let’s hope Japan would not make another announcement that Indonesia has signed a defence pact with Japan. That would seal the fate with China and scuttle a lot of projects in the pipeline…and a wasted trip.