Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Last Walk with MM Lee Kuan Yew

 My Last Mile with MM Lee Kuan Yew
Walking Through History

Yesterday, yet another hot Spring day;
The skies waver between gloom and shine;
Midweek in the time of national mourning
Over the passing of our beloved MM,
Founder of Singapore
And Father of all Singaporeans.
I watched from the steps of Funan
The gun carriage with his body,
Draped by the Singapore Flag
As if to warm and comfort him,
As it moves to Parliament House
To the spontaneous applause of
Thousands lining the streets,
As if hoping the cheers would stir him
From the eternal rest;
For none desiring him to go so soon
Before their children and grandchildren
Could know the Man without whom,
There is no modern Singapore
As the World knew us.
I did not know that I would be walking through History
As I join the queue to pay my last respect
To MM Lee Kuan Yew
As he lays in state at Parliament House.

My Q position was only 3km from Parliament House
And the journey took almost 6 hours.

The Q snakes along both banks of the Singapore River
From South Bridge Road through Clarke Quay
Along UOB Plaza through Battery Road,
To swing around Standard Chartered Building and MayBank,
Passing by Bank of China whose staff passed out bottled water,
Before crossing Cavenagh Bridge at One Fullerton
Arriving at the Asian Civilisation Museum
Next to Parliament House.

Along Clarke Quay, I looked out at the Singapore River;
Saw flashes of the tongkangs and bumboats
That once dominated the River
So central to our economic survival those early days.
Looking ahead beyond Cavenagh Bridge,
The skyline of Opera House and Marina South loomed,
Flanked by One Fullerton,
Formerly the General Post Office,
The old and new have co-existed
As Singapore developed from 3rd World to 1st
In just 40 years led by MM Lee Kuan Yew.
He promised in 1965: “I will make this a Metropolis in 10 years!”.
He delivered as he always does in whatever he promises.
As the Q moves at a snail pace,
At times only 15 meters in an hour,
I could only begin to grasp the true meaning of the moment;
Just a stone’s throw away, the Stock Exchange and Banking Sector  
Continues their hustling and bustling wheeling and dealings
Amidst other commercial and trading activities,
Seemingly oblivious of the solemn ceremony taking place;
Singapore as a global financial hub continues in vibrancy unabated
With the heartbeats of the Man whose own heart has ceased;
For as he laid in state, MM Lee’s energy and vitality
Continue in the daily life of Singapore.
The Man has not given his life and all to Singaporeans;
MM Lee has in fact interred in the Singaporean soul
The embodiment of his spirit, dreams and aspirations
Of an exceptional Singapore nation in the global community,
Of a free, prosperous, racially harmonious, sovereign nation
Deserving of respect, admiration and friendship by all.
And after nearly 6 hours, I arrived;
To walk past his body
With a momentary pause of respect
Remembering our first meeting in 1983;
This last mile’s walk with him will always be cherished,
Even in death, he has reminded me and all Singaporeans,
Singapore in not easy;
It takes hard work, dedication, vision, perseverance, resilience
And Leadership;
And so he left as he has lived,
Not a monument to his name
Nor his image on any ornaments,
Just the grateful hearts of millions of Singaporeans
Privileged and honoured
To know and have him for many seasons of his life.
“Goodbye, my Leader, Mentor, Brother and Friend”.
I could still sense his heartbeats continued strong
As he laid resting at last;
His work unfinished but for us to build upon
By remembering his pillar legacies
Based on social peace with justice
Regardless of race, language or religion
On this tiny sunny island by the sea.


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