What has happened to Lee Kuan Yew’s values?
Catherine Lim writes an open letter to PM Lee Hsien Loong
An Open Letter to the Prime Minister by Catherine Lim 6 June 2014
Protest to ask PM Lee to step down: Ariffin Sia
Asia Dilemma – Can We Think?
The Truth Is That Some Asians Think, some don’t. Some Westerners think some don’t. The book Can Asians Think? by Singapore diplomat Kishore Mahbubani might be right if it said some Singaporeans can’t think, but to generalize and stereotype all Asians is quite absurd. The reliance on Confucian values is blamed for causing Asia to have to play catch-up with the western world, but that view doesn’t directly indicate whether a person can or can’t think. Comparing Confucian philosophy and Newtonian physics is like comparing apples and oranges. We have the smarts to realize that to succeed vis-à-vis the western world, Asia must learn the secrets that make the western world of inventing stuff when there are others to do it? This is what would call smart thinking. (Times June 28, 1999)
Shum Ying Loon
8 April 2001
Dear Hsien Loong,
I might be a stranger to you but you are not to me because since at a very young child I had been watching your growth and in a way had an expectation from you when the day you will be the Prime Minister of Singapore.
Now I write to you from one Singaporean to another because to understand me I need to open my heart and mind to you without reservation. The system is failing us as it denies us of our soul. In short, all my personal sacrifices boiled down to saving the souls of the people by first saving my own soul.
In order to really understand me, I need to take you on a journey where it started as a young child watching Mr. Lee Kuan Yew proclaiming us as Singaporeans in Delta market where Miss Ho Chin and her family reside too. This scene is still very vivid in my mind and at that time I truly believe we could achieve it. As time passes it became my mission to make myself a truly proud Singaporean.
I am either born a worried child or the circumstances around me had made me so. As a very young child I was very interested in politics, therefore I wanted to know what was happening around me. My greatest worry and fear at a very young age is what is going to happen to all of Singapore and us when Mr. Lee Kuan Yew is not around. Why was I concerned then and still now? We are brought up without using our brains to think because we have Lee Kuan Yew to think for all of us. My primary school teacher asked me not to worry so much for the country because this is not our duty. Our duty is to study hard and make a lot of money. But my reply was that if Lee Kuan Yew is immortal then we don’t need to think. If we don’t care to think of the country we will not be connected to Singapore. Maybe the reason why the people don’t think is that they feel they are just a number in society?
Love, light, peace, harmony, and unity,
6 January 2007
Dearest PM Lee,
On Straits Times August 9, 1998, this was what MM said, “I’m not a deeply religious person, so when you talk to me about the soul, my question is: What is a soul? If you say it’s the spirit of a man, I’ll reply: “Well, that’s being upbeat or downbeat, being optimistic or pessimistic, which in turn depends upon the neurological make-up of a person and the stimuli on that neurological system. When you talk to me about the soul, I cannot define it. Are you talking about something ethereal that exists within a person and continues after he’s gone physically? I do not believe that”.
We need to be connected to our soul to be human. As a young child, I wanted the people to feel MM Lee. As a young child, I constantly heard people said that Mr. Lee Kuan Yew has no soul so it is very important to bring out his soul for the people to feel him thus understand him why he got to rule Singapore with an iron fist. But before I could do that I needed people to feel my soul first, therefore I got to take this spiritual journey to bring out the power of my own soul. That means no need to study but have a lot of great ideas through desire, love, passion and strong belief that we can make Singapore a great nation.
With this success, I wanted to prove to the people that if Singaporeans do not have ideas or are not created the fault does not lie with the system or Lee Kuan Yew. They always blamed him and my mother was upset too. I remembered my mother said, “Good don’t praise Lee Kuan Yew, things don’t go well everyone points an immediate finger at him, this is not right!” So to make things right I got to prove to the people that in a constrained environment like Singapore if I am creative they could too. Many people said that I have wasted my talent and they advised me to further my education to make something out of myself. But they don’t know what I really want to achieve in life – I wanted Singaporeans to be happy and I know once they could see what MM Lee is trying to achieve for Singapore they will be happy with him too and give their full support without reservation. Instead of blaming others for their shortcoming they must realize Creativity is driven by a free mind, this means if we know how to free our mind our spirit will soar to a higher plane. “To free your mind is to free your soul” – Sunflower Chong.
The work of Leonardo da Vinci is about creating art onto architecture but if the vision of MM Lee’s legacy could be achieved in concrete form this means after MM had gone physically who ever enter this spiritual site at Marina South Downtown they will feel his soul and understand his aspiration for the people at large. In time to come his soul will soar to the four corners of the world and will be the shining light not only for Singapore but for the rest of the world too. I foresee many leaders of the world will send their citizens to our shore to learn from us on how to live in peace, harmony, and unity. The tripartite is one of the key foundations for nation-building. In time to come the whole country will be a living and learning university for the world. So can the area under study at Marina South go for an IDEA competition? All the local architects will be very happy with the government isn’t this our aim too?
I sincerely hope the government will give them this opportunity to showcase their creativity.
Love, light, peace, harmony and unity,
FOR YOUR KNOWLEDGE
Just like most Singaporeans I also got upset with MM sometimes, luckily only sometimes. I was so upset when we got to remake Singapore so I wrote my true feelings without reservation.
Mr. Lee Kuan Yew Is A True Idealist?
“Existing systems produce existing results. If something is required, The System Must Be Changed” – Sir Christopher Ball
Straits Times 6 June 2003, this was what Mr. Lee Kuan Yew said, “This is a problem for all Confucianist societies. We were very good at the mass production level. We produced people who could organize big regiments but we did not produce the maverick generals and this is a period that we must do that. And I think if we can do that, without unscrambling what is already good in the old system, then you may have the best of the both worlds”
Let us try to understand what John Steinbeck said on Chapter 13 from the book ‘East of Eden’,
“Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then-the-glory-so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man’s importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness and it sets each man separate from all other men.
I don’t know how it will be in the years to come. There are monstrous changes taking place in the world, forces shaping a future whose face we do not know. Some of these forces seem evil to us, perhaps not in themselves but because their tendency is to eliminate other things we hold good. It is true that two men can lift a bigger stone than one man. A group can build automobiles quicker and more uniform. When our food and clothing and housing all are born in the complication of mass production, mass method is bound to get into our thinking and to eliminate all other thinking. In our time mass or collective production has entered our economics, our politics, and even our religion, so that some nations have substituted the idea collective for the idea God. This in my time is the danger. There is great tension in the world, tension toward a breaking point, and men are unhappy and confused.
At such a time it seems natural and good to me to ask myself these questions. What do I believe in? What must I fight for and what must I fight against?
Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.
And now the forces marshaled around the concept of the group have declared a war of extermination on that preciousness, the mind of man. By disparagement, by starvation, by repressions, forced direction, and the stunning hammerblows of conditioning, the free, roving mind is being pursued, roped, blunted, drugged. It is a sad suicidal course our species seems to have taken.
“And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world.”
“And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected.”
“And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government, which limits or destroys the individual.”
This is what I am and what I am about. I can’t understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for that is one thing, which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost.”
Mr. Lee Kuan Yew can dream on because he can’t have the cake and eat it all. He wanted to control the mind of the people and wish that Mavericks will rise just to serve the economic concerned is wishful thinking on his part. This kind of thinking is idealistic because the desire to be constantly in control mote took over all fair reasoning. This is what John Steinbeck said in his book, “It is true that two men can lift a bigger stone than one man. A group can build automobiles quicker and more uniform. When our food and clothing and housing all are born in the complication of mass production, mass method is bound to get into our thinking and to eliminate all other thinking.” DO WE STILL WANT THAT FOR SINGAPORE?
Now Mr. Lee Kuan Yew got to ask himself, “Is it possible to produce a maverick in a control society?” I got a straightforward and simple mind, the way I see it if we can achieve 30 sec to run 100 meters why must we take two minutes or even one minute to achieve the run. So don’t you think it makes better sense to ‘To Open The Political Doors’ instead of bit by bit and only physically? Is that the way the Government will take in remaking Singapore in order for us to catch up to survive. What about excelling?
Why doesn’t the Government feel secure with the people after all these decades? All that the Government knows is to catch up why not let us rise up with pride instead and let your mind be free to reach out. If not by the time we catch up with the others, our competitors will rise up or worse still they will catch all of us and this means NO MORE SINGAPORE Lah! If Mr. Lee Kuan Yew is really serious in remaking Singapore and wanted mavericks to rise up, he got to change his mindset first and give people room to breathe and express their true feelings and don’t keep scores.
Since Mr. Lee Kuan Yew was the one who put us there, he must be the only one who can free us by reassuring all Singaporeans that they will be safe from now onwards to speak their mind with responsibility. If not I doubt the people would have the guts to climb out of this box. He should look into the American and the European societies and asked himself, why the children of such a society can speak their mind with gut and confidence, whereas our children dared not even to open their mouth for fear of getting oneself into trouble? The civil servants when you ask for their opinion they will be too afraid to give you any and their reply will be, “I’m just working here, I ‘m not supposed to have any opinion.” What utter rubbish! So do you know why we are known as robots? Singaporeans just EXIT and they do not LIVE for fear of repercussion.
I got a very simple explanation for Mr. Lee Kuan Yew; it got to do with how they were brought up. In the West the child is respected; it is the nature of their society because it is a curious, open and free society, which is conducive to nurture young people with a mind of their own. Their children were not told to “SHUT UP”, instead to “SPEAK UP” since birth. In time to come they develop a mind of their own. They knew that they will not get into trouble even if they speak up on political issues or criticized the Government or the leadership or whatever. In short, there are no OB markers. Whereas in our case, the Government does not respect the people at large, not even the intellectuals so how can a child be respected? All these decades we were treated like a product or robot and our job was to produce what the system wanted. Where got hope for Singapore’s future?
If the Government is really serious about Remaking Singapore and wanted many great ideas from the people, they must first help to eradicate the fear in the mind of most Singaporeans. Next, the Government must be prepared for the inevitable, the race, religious and political issues, which were taboo all these decades cannot be put on the back burner anymore, instead must be encouraged and let it be a natural process of nation-building.
Mr. Lee Kuan Yew said, “This is a problem for all Confucianist societies”, so does this means he has admitted that Singapore is a Confucianist society and not a democratic one? The system in Singapore is based on Confucianist ideology, so how could Mr. Lee Kuan Yew expects to have people to think out of a box when this kind of system fix you right in a box. If they can’t think out of a box how could Mr. Lee Kuan Yew expects the people to COME out or CLIMB out of this box now! If he really wanted to have Singaporeans who can think out of a box, then he should dismantle this box or even better discard the box since he was the one who had put us there in the first place. Even the idea to remake Singapore came from Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. The people at large might be happy with this idea of remaking Singapore but not me because what we really need is to find our SOUL back! Mr. Ngiam Tong Dow said, “SM Lee has to think very hard what legacy he wants to leave for Singapore and the type of society he wants to leave behind.” Of course, a kinder and more compassionate one that will make life meaningful and not stressful like now!!
Singaporeans must look beyond if we want to be the true leader, our new mindset should be “The New World is our Oyster with Arts and Humanity as the pillars”. On Straits Times December 1, 2003, Mr. Scott Bedbury the branded guru advises Singapore to make its image more ‘human’ to make the nation more appealing to people around the world. In short, he suggested that Singapore would benefit from having a ‘warmer’ image that could draw more investors to Singapore as well. As citizens of Singapore, the people got a duty and responsibility and most importantly for Singapore’s future because Singapore’s future is our future and the future of our children’s children? Singapore belongs to Singaporeans if we do not want to remake Singapore again; the people better decide Singapore destiny from now onwards.
From my observation, Singapore either stays as we are as Singapore Inc. and keep on making more money for the reserve or we bring back powerful ideologically to hold us together as a people and nation in order to excel to be the brain and soul of the world, this mean a new renaissance city. I believe the Government should take the challenge to lead and go beyond our shore like for instance being the catalyst to pile the right foundation for ASEAN’s future, as it will be the cornerstone to create a Greater Asia. Can you imagine the powerhouse with all Southeast Asians speaking English and producing a first class film and thus change the mindset of the West and I have harbored this dream since young?
MM LEE A WALKING DATABANK FOR SINGAPORE
I watched MM Lee Kuan Yew’s dialogue with young journalists on TV on Wednesday and I am saddened that the younger generations do not know the value of MM Lee; hence they do not understand his sacrifices for the nation. Have you heard of the goose that laid the golden eggs? MM Lee Kuan Yew is A WALKING DATABANK FOR SINGAPORE, the leaders of the world trusted him and had great faith in him because he is a man of his word.
Please do not forget that when he took over the leadership in the early 50’s he had promised the people food for their stomachs and not food for the soul. He declared that when he was elected he would give the people housing, education, healthcare, and jobs but he never claimed that it would be for free. Instead, he called upon the people to work together with him to make it happen. We succeeded because we believed in him.
No one can deny that since MM Lee took the helm of the Republic of Singapore his government has provided a great harvest for the nation. Is this the kind of gratitude he received from the youth of today? Do they not feel it is an honor for them to speak to the Founding Father of Singapore? Let me share with them what my 82-year-old mother said to me today, “Ah Mui ah, Singapore name is ringing like an alarm bell around the world!” I saw her pride when she said, “Lee Kuan Yew is a great talent and his love for Singapore and the people is true and sincere.”
I believed the good life that the PAP government has given to the people has blinded the collective vision of our Youth. Sad to say the younger generations believe the prosperity that the PAP has achieved is their birthright. The currency crisis and SARs came at the right time to open our eyes that to build a better and more compassionate Singapore it cannot just lie in the hands of the PAP government. We all must take stock and take responsibility. We must not be invited to come forward to participate as PM Lee Hsien Loong said. The government has established the Community Engagement Programme and we must be sincere to serve the nation with honesty in whatever way we can, even as ordinary people.
I am so happy this first dialogue with young Singaporeans have already brought MM Lee closer not only to the youth but also to all Singaporeans. Everyone can feel he is human after all and he wanted to be understood like everybody else (I believe he does not know how to reach out) because he cares for the opinions and trepidations of others. If he did not then he would not have been so patient with them. I felt they did not give MM Lee the respect as the founding father of Singapore, my son and I are very disappointed with these young disrespectful Singaporeans.
I hope they can click to http://www.worldharmonyday.com/poem_mmlee_tribute.php and read how much respect the people have for him and especially This one written by my son Gabriel:
“If only all of the people would put themselves in your position and look through the world as a leader they would realize what hardships and great achievements you have gone through all these years…..HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! MM LEE!!!”
Mr Gabriel Georges, 26 (Singapore)
From High Commissioner of Bangladesh
Dear MM Lee,
I write this as an individual who has admired you for decades.
I first learnt about you when I was a frosty eyed young boy, curious about everything, who found immeasurable pleasure in reading about foreign
countries and people. As I was growing older, you kept growing in stature. If I remember correctly, sometime in 1990, when I was posted in Hong Kong and you were proceeding to visit China via Hong Kong, that my admiration for you became even stronger. I remember you were faced with the journalists in Hong Kong who were questioning you about the previous year’s incidents in China. You spoke your mind fearlessly and took the Western media squarely on. You apportioned the blame due to them, in further complicating a bad situation in China, more candidly than anyone could imagine.
At the ripe age of 82, you seem to remain as fit as ever and your intellect keeps growing sharper and your vision broader. You are rightly credited with single-handedly leading Singapore from being a third world country to a top-notch membership of the first world. You successfully gathered around you other equally dedicated leaders. But, you made the difference. Your most important legacy, perhaps, would be these scores of leaders, straddling almost three generations that you have mentored and continue to do for Singapore.
Your current title of Minister Mentor, therefore, could not have been more aptly chosen. You are simply great among the greats. I salute you.
May the Almighty grant the people of Singapore many many more years of your wisdom and guidance; and in those long years may you enjoy good health, happiness, and fulfillment. May the suffering multitudes across the world find more leaders like you to help lift them out of their miseries.
Mr Munshi Faiz Ahmad, High Commissioner of Bangladesh,
Singapore, 53 (Singapore)
I hope MM Lee can also reach out to other sectors of society who have also misunderstood him. Once the people let go their fear of MM Lee I know Singapore is going to be a very special place that holds up love and compassion as our rising stars. Uniquely Singapore will come to be the envy of the world because of a leadership, which really cares for the welfare of its people. I know in the very near future Singapore is not only going to be a great renaissance city but a paradise too for the entire world to try and emanate.
Ms Sunflower Chong Sun Wah
Blk 15 #09-143 Teck Whye Lane
Many people were upset with me for not doing enough to promote WHD. My son was not happy with me for wanting to give up and he said that I was running away from my responsibility, so to gain respect I made a great effort for WHD 2006. Now see what happened?
Why can’t WHD invite IRO to blessed the world, this really confused me? Don’t you think we need to change this mindset that religions are not a disease but instead we need to bring better understanding to the masses the beauty of all religions and we got to work the ground?
World Harmony Day is a great concept and when people from all walks of life embrace it, peace and harmony will definitely be at our doorsteps. WHD is not here to promote anyone except the ideology that we are one people and one world.
After Sept 11 it is time to bring back powerful ideology to hold the world as one people-LOVE FOR HUMANITY. I have done my part by giving birth to WHD with Greta and it had taken me 40 years before this beautiful baby was born. I sincerely believed the other half of the journey will be the task of intellectuals and young people with the passion to influence society. Greta is in Acheh now filming with some Americans. She believes that to promote peace, harmony and unity film is the best media to reach out to the youth. (She did everything with her own money because she believes in what she is doing.) Once she is back she will be giving a talk in one or two schools.
After Sept 11, instead of just focusing all the energy and resources attacking the Muslim fundamentalists, the America govt should build a better understanding of all religions through this book entitled ‘Colours of Harmony’. (America is giving money to Indonesian Madrasah schools to build a good image of America, I think they can go further than that.)
A Project Supported By The Inter-Religious Harmony
It is time now for us as a community to reach out to the young and share with them the beauty of all religions. But how and who is going to do the job? I don’t mind to do this job but I look kind of silly when the community is not with me. It is not an easy task because some religious groups might disapprove of it but we must not give up for the sake of our children happiness.
The MCYS is also working on the second book called ‘Love for Humanity’ with the different religious groups. This second book is to promote peace, harmony, and understanding of all faiths. True education is to teach the youth to strive to be a good human being instead of just to be a good Muslim, Christian or Buddhist so on and so fore… Just the thought that we want to be a good human being we are already a successful person.
I believe the “correct teaching” is “balance teaching” which is the key to build a better world for future generations. Thus, as citizens of the world, we need to work on a book that encompasses character development, moral education and spiritual understanding and we can name the book “Love for Humanity” something like that lah….
Love, light, peace, harmony, and unity