Monday, March 23, 2015
Mr Lee Kuan Yew, 91, the first Prime Minister of Singapore died on Monday 23rd March 2015, 3:18am. He had been warded at the Singapore General Hospital for severe pneumonia since Feb 5. There will be a 7 day mourning from Monday to Sunday.
Mr Lee was the prime minister of independent Singapore from 1965 to 1990. His eldest son is now the current prime minister.
If you've never heard of Lee Kuan Yew, what I can tell you are these: He was a great man. Much feared, but respected. He helped make Singapore what it is today. He also loved his wife very much.
I first heard of Lee Kuan Yew in 1972. We were living in a kampong (village) and my mother told me she had to make a decision about who to vote for - PAP or Barisan Socialis. Lee Kuan Yew headed the PAP while Barisan Socialis was formed by left-wing ex-members of PAP. Back then, politicians had to go in their pick-ups/lorries with their loudspeaker to get to the voters. My mother went to have a look when the politicians arrived. I was too young to understand what was going on. But I could see how excited my mother was. I don't remember who my mother voted for. She probably followed whatever my aunt did. Anyway, PAP won the 1972 election. In fact, PAP has been the ruling party of Singapore since 1959.
Lee Kuan Yew favoured English as the working language in Singapore and that is why Singapore schools use English as the medium of instruction. He also made bilingualism compulsory in schools which made people like me suffer. I had very hard feelings towards bilingualism policy for a long time due to my inadequate command of Chinese. But over the years, the bilingualism policy has been tweaked to be kinder especially in tertiary education entry criteria so I am over it.
Rest in peace, Mr Lee. May you meet your wife in the afterlife.