A MOVING EXPERIENCE
Today I walked with many thousands of Singaporeans to pay respect to Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
We emerged at the closest MRT station to a huge sea of people. In any other country, including Australia, I would feel slightly nervous around that number of people but not here.
People are queuing up to 10 hours to pay their respect and the hours of viewing per day have been increased to 24!
They were united in their purpose, aged people, children, pregnant women, young men, school kids- they came in their thousands with one common intent – to pay respects to their founder. And the mood was sombre but happy and sincere.
People gave out fans, drinks, food and there was an incredible sense of community. We walked in groups for a few hours, and the mood started to change and become quieter and more reflective as we approached Parliament House.
Each of us was lost in our own thoughts about this man. Each one of us needed to reflect and dwell on what effect this many had on the world. A great man has passed away. A man many of us in Australia disagreed with as young people, and yet if you take the long view- his achievements were amazing. His values, determination and in particular his unerring integrity and vision speak for themselves.
At Parliament House we were sincerely thanked for coming and we silently filed past the coffin. The mood was so quiet, respectful and lovingly solemn as each person bowed to show their respect.
It was a slice of history that will not be seen again.
It is a privilege to be here at this sad but curiously uplifting time!
I am writing a children’s book about TRAILBLAZERS – people who have forged ahead, been innovative, determined and achieved their goals. I find that children are desperate to hear such stories and sadly starved of them!
I have tried to focus very much on people children can identify with to help inspire them to “reach for the stars” themselves.
There are stories of kindness, cussed determination, a boy with learning difficulties who was determined to read, a woman who never goes anywhere without cat-food in her handbag and much more. Collecting these stories has uplifted and inspired me and I cannot wait to share them with children!
Yesterday, when hearing the sad news of the passing of
Mr Lee Kuan Yew, I found myself pondering his story. What a modern-day hero! This man showed incredible bravery during his life, determination with his studies, such reverence for education, absolute love of country and amazing planning and organisational skills in order to forge the prosperous and peaceful Island state of Singapore. What a story!
His story needs to be studied by children and not just by Singaporean kids!
He was the leader we all joked about in the West with the threats of haircuts for long haired young men, passing through Singapore on their ways to the hippie trails of the India and the Middle East.
We had no idea what he was really doing. He couldn’t have cared less about our opinions! He just wanted the best for his people and he got it. That singleness of purpose is a unique characteristic that is hard to achieve but that plus his high values makes Lee Kuan Yew such an inspirational figure.
Yes – I know there are detractors who point out his faults but at the end of his days he died a HERO– a man who held steadfast to his vision. A giant of a man!
RIP Mr Lee Kuan Yew- we have all learned so much from you. Let’s make sure your values and achievements are shared with children all over the world- these kids NEED and HUNGER for heroes in this sadly pessimistic, rather dark world we dwell in! You were the ultimate TRAIL BLAZER!