THE LEADER WHO SHAPED SINGAPORE

LEE Kuan Yew, the founding father of the Republic of Singapore, passed away at the age of 91. He lived through 49 and a half years since the first day of his country’s existence, but he will not be able to see the 50th anniversary the independence on August 9, 2015.

The world today cries for a leader who shaped the future of a country with zero natural resources and no apparent hope to survive for long.

Lee — who’s name was also Henry, although he did not like to be called with an English name — represented one of the boldest politicians ever existed, promising what seemed impossible, but almost never failing to deliver.

Although throughout the decades leading Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew at times contradicted his believes, he has been loved by many citizens of the country-island-city.

For instance he was the one who establish the “Stop-at-2 children policy” when the country’s growth was a question mark.

He was also the one who did not only remove the same policy, but rather encouraged Singaporeans to reproduce more by offering monetary incentives to parents of new born babies.

Lee stood up to defend Singapore’s reputation at every occasion.

In 1998, during a tough financial situation, former Indonesian president Habibie defined Singapore as a “Little Red Dot”. Lee took his revenge by instilling pride in his citizens.

Although Singapore is one of the smallest countries in the world, it has proven to be able of impressive progress in every field and against all odds.

Lee Kuan Yew once declared that even after his own death, he would have come back to take care of Singapore.

His charisma was truly unique.

Some have seen Lee Kuan Yew only as a bold man with no fear, but only those who know his past can truly understand what was in his hearth.

Lee was a fighter and he let nobody step on him. But deep inside he was also a humble man, a loving father and a faithful husband.

His docile nature became visible for a short while on the very day of Singapore’s independence — August 9, 1965.

Lee Kuan Yew cried in television. But not for happiness, rather for fear of failure. Singapore did not gain status of Republic by chasing away a colonising power as that already happened when Malaysia came into existence.

Singapore’s independence is a story of shame and anger.

Lee Kuan Yew accepted the challenge unconditionally and the very next day he started building one of the most successful countries in the world. Just three years before the independence, Singapore was part of Malaysia.

Tunku, the leader of the united country at that time, was clearly determined to keep political power in Kuala Lumpur while letting Singapore be the business hub of the country.

But young Henry had a different vision. He delivered a remarkable speech in the capital city of Malaysia that filled with ambition the hearths of the members of the parliament.

They suddenly started preferring Lee Kuan Yew, a Chinese man, to Tunku, of Malay ethnicity.

Thinking of a Chinese prime minister for Malaysia was no longer a taboo. It was at that point that Tunku decided to prioritise self-preservation over business convenience and resolved to “divorce” Singapore.

On August 9, 1965 Lee tried to explain on TV his disappointment about the separation. “… For me it is a moment of anguish…” he said with his tough face.

SOURCE: OMAN DAILY OBSERVER

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