SINGAPORE – The late founding prime minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew would have objected to an extravagant commemoration of his death anniversary, his daughter Dr Lee Wei Ling said in a Facebook post yesterday (March 25).
In the post, Dr Lee revealed that she had turned down requests from publications to comment on the first anniversary of her father’s death, which was on Wednesday (March 23). But she decided to speak out after seeing a portrait of Mr Lee constructed using 4,877 erasers with the Singapore flag.
The art installation is on display at The Red Box in Somerset Road until tomorrow (March 27).
“It was a well-meaning effort but it made me wince,” Dr Lee wrote.
Explaining why, she said that she was reminded of her first visit to China with Mr Lee in 1976. Their delegation was greeted by children lining the streets and chanting loudly: “Welcome, welcome, a very warm welcome”.
“It was very contrived and my father was not impressed. We are Singaporeans, not prone to excessive, unnatural displays of emotion. Papa merely waved at the children, as he would have done in Singapore,” Dr Lee wrote.
“Papa’s focus never wavered. What he did was all for the welfare of the nation and its people. Yes, it is good that we remember history. But it would be even better if we honour Lee Kuan Yew by working for the well-being of Singapore and Singaporeans,” she added.
“Any veneration could have the opposite effect and lead future generations of Singaporeans to think that my father’s actions were motivated by his desire for fame, or creation of a dynasty. He strove hard and determinedly in life to advance Singapore, and not for his place in history, or leaving a great legacy. He is a rare politician and leader, who did what he had to do with no thought to any gain for himself.”