As I am writing this post, I am in the car breastfeeding Sandra while my parents went to pick up Sophia from holiday camp. Out of concern about carbon monoxide poisoning, I opened the door to allow air circulation. I didn’t think twice about it initially but a moment later it struck me what a luxury it is to even be able to do this in today’s world. Here I am wedged between 2 car seats with a baby in my arms practically immobile. In most other countries, whether developed or developing, I should seriously worry about baby and me being mugged, kidnapped or otherwise hurt. I should shut all doors tightly, lock them and wind up the windows. But in Singapore, my home and therefore a place whose conveniences I have a tendency to take for granted, I can leave the door open with complete peace of mind from both carbon monoxide poisoning and criminals.
Which leads me to ex-PM Lee Kuan Yew being in critical condition and all the noise surrounding it. I simply cannot comprehend the ungratefulness (I don’t think that’s a real word but it best conveys what I am trying to get across) of the Singaporeans hoping for his death. To me, they are like the Tommy Thin of the nursery rhyme – the one who put the pussy in the well – the pussy who never did any harm but catch all the mice in his father’s barn. In the grand scheme of things we Singaporean definitely have more to thank than to hate LKY for. Not him alone of course but the team of politicians and governmental officials he led during our father’s time. I read an article saying LKY led Singapore to prosperity but the price we paid was liberty, but the author failed to explain why he thought we lost liberty. Unless this author can explain himself, I certainly feel he is wrong. In my opinion, we have more liberty than people in most countries. The freedom to breastfeed in a car with an open door being case in point. Or the ability of a much younger me to go clubbing till 3am and walk from my car to my HDB apartment (which my parents OWN) swinging my keys again without worrying about being mugged or raped. We have the freedom to go everywhere in the world and to say almost whatever we want (yes, even say that you hope LKY dies soon although I really feel one ought not to say that of any human being). Yes there is that defamation thing which one can write a whole thesis on but for the purpose of this post, suffices to say that the average layman really doesn’t need to worry about it.
So as a Singaporean who has benefitted from the system of security, good education and equal opportunity, I say on balance I am grateful to LKY and the various generations of PAP leaders. This is even though I may not agree with everything he has done or said.
In these days where LKY is critically ill, I seriously hope what Singaporeans display will not be our ugly side. LKY and his family really don’t deserve those cruel remarks circulating. Foreigners who do not understand may say what they want, but for each of us who are here enjoying the fruits of LKY’s labour (of course not his alone but he played an undeniably large part), let’s not be 不厚道 (roughly translated to unkind). Let’s pray for the best outcome for LKY and comfort for his family.
These days I have also gained a newfound respect for PM Lee. Imagine running a country when you have just been diagnosed with cancer and your father is critically ill. I for one probably will not be able to cope half as well with any one of these. I’m not saying LKY and PM Lee are perfect. I’m just urging everyone please be kind. I started this post intending merely to express how blessed I feel living in safe Singapore, but I digressed after the false news of LKY’s death. Here’s hoping this won’t end up being too controversial a post!