The downpour yesterday did not stop tens of thousands of people from lining up along the 15.4 km route to say goodbye to Singapore's founding leader Lee Kuan Yew. Mr. Lee led Singapore to independence 50 years ago and after a week of mourning, Singapore's founding leader was given an elaborate state funeral yesterday.
Thus end an age of Singapore!
Now comes the time to wonder about the legacy left behind by this great man. Already there have been people who have gotten into trouble talking about it. Opposition leader Low Thia Khiang was criticized for saying Mr. Lee was a controversial figure; local bakery, BreadTalk, got into trouble for coming out with a bread in honor of the man; and even a 17-year-old was arrested just for putting a video on YouTube criticizing Mr. Lee Kuan Yew.
Now as Singapore's founding father, it’s no surprise that Mr. Lee Kuan Yew holds a special place in the hearts of many Singaporeans. However, there’s a need not to go overboard and I don’t just mean the arrest.
Mr. Lee is a great man, widely respected and admired, but he was no saint. Mr. Low was not wrong when he says that Mr. Lee was a controversial figure; he was and that is something Mr. Lee made no bones or apology for! He is a leader whose intelligence, tenacity, vision, and ruthlessness led Singapore to become the country we are today. He is a leader that’s not afraid to get his hands dirty to get what he wants. He is a leader who did the impossible. And that’s how I think we ought to remember him.
Let’s remember Mr. Lee Kuan Yew as the man he is; not as a saint or a myth but a man whose greatness is without question. Let's remember Mr. Lee that way, warts and all. From what I know and read about the man, he wouldn’t want it any other way.