Closure on Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

Closure on the death of a loved ones is actually much harder than the receiving the actual news of the passing on.  At least that is so to me.

During a funeral, there are lots of buzz going around; friends and relatives rallying around.

When all is done and the crowd disperse, the void, the deep pain of loss sets in.

I felt this first-hand when my maternal grandmother passed away some 7 years back. I wrote about it months after it happened.

Lung cancer took my beloved grandmother away too suddenly just weeks after her diagnosis; and just one day after she started chemotherapy.

I had the privilege to be part of the 4 persons family members which stayed with her all night in the hospital and shortly after the whole clan arrived, she opened her eyes one last time seemingly to bide us farewell.

Regretfully she left us.

Reluctantly we let her go.

For months thereafter, her family gathered together. We met more often than usual. My uncle (her son) did a memorial book which combined all our heartfelt thoughts. My sons were not born then. But if they were, I believed Xi En would have written “I missed you”.


23rd March 2015 marked the passing on of one of the greatest man in history, Singapore founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

A week of national mourning was the darkest I have ever seen in Singapore. Radio stations played nothing except soft sentimental music throughout the day.

Social media profile photos were changed to shades of black and white. Even the man-in-the-street went around our daily chores less spirited.

For me, I had the longest and deepest understanding of Singapore history since it’s Independence Day to today. I had these lessons through the many sharing online, on TV and in the papers.

It was a sobering week. And I believed I wasn’t alone.

From grief, it grew to respect, to admiration and appreciation for this man and his team which gave us modern Singapore. We are all beneficiaries of his foresight and sheer determination to build Singapore into a clean, green, corruption-free and hardworking nation.

I recalled when I was probably 6 to 7 years old, I ride in my uncle’s car to “make up the numbers” to enter the CBD. During those days, there was a rule to maximise car rides into the CBD, thus you need to have minimum 4 (or 5?) persons in the car to enter the CBD area. I was “the number”. I sat in the car quietly wondering to myself why are there trees on every single roads I passed. I searched for a single road without trees grown on the sides. I couldn’t find one. I was curious why so. Only this week, I remembered this fleetingly thought and realised LKY had the foresight to distinguish Singapore as a green city.

Last week, we visited tributes, paid our due respect to LKY and wrote in the memorial books.  Maybe we needed to do something. For memory. For respect. For appreciation. For closure.

I don’t know this man personally but it really felt like a closed relative had passed on.  Many had been said and I have my tributes set in my heart too.

I enjoyed reading tributes of those who knew him personally and I wept at the eulogies presented by his loved ones.

One of the interesting illustration which hit home to me was put forward by S Dhanabalan (Former Cabinet Minister). I learnt that Mr LKY is an idealist not just a pragmatist. We all knew he is a pragmatist but he is also an idealist and push his ideals to reality too.

“He was a pragmatist, yet in a very deep sense, he was an idealist. This is well illustrated by his approach to the language policy…. the easiest way to ensure electoral support would have been to champion Chinese language… To convert Chinese schools into national type schools and to push for Mandarin against Chinese dialects were the acts of an idealist not the acts of a pragmatist. “

More of each public eulogies can be read here.

At the private funeral, our Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong recalled a speech his father made in 1972 at a congress of cardiologists. I was curious and searched online to read the full article. The end of the speech probably summed it all:

“There will never be a final solution to the problem of life an death, other than death itself. And whether it is philosophy or logic or medicine or morality or law, we are all human beings with human imperfections, both as individuals and as societies. And Singapore is an imperfect society. But I hope, despite all the imperfections you have found some pleasure in having come here.”

If you are interested, read the full article here.

Because of LKY’s legacy, I can lift my head up high and proudly say I am a Singaporean.

Even months and years go by, for as long as I live, I will tell of this week’s story to my children, grandchildren and maybe great-grandchildren. And of your story, the Singapore story and the Singaporeans’ spirit.

Just like in remembrance of my grandmother, she lives forever in our hearts. Likewise, in our own little ways, we will remember the LKY’s spirit of doing good for Singapore and contribute positively to the society.

There’s nothing else to say except: “Thank you and Thank you, Mr Lee. May you rest in peace.”

LKY

Among all his speeches I’ve read last week, this is one of my favourite:

“You begin your journey not knowing where it will take you. You have plans, you have dreams, but every now and again you have to take uncharted roads, face impassable mountains, cross treacherous rivers, be blocked by landslides and earthquakes. That’s the way my life has been.

I’m grateful that I got where I am.

happy that I’ve made a contribution to many people. And reassured that I’ve helped select a team of people to keep Singapore going…

At the end of the day, all I have cherished are human relationships.

Your worldly wealth you can’t take with you.

Your life has been lived.

It is the friends you have made. your family ties. Which sustain your spirit with a certain warmth and comfort.

So you cannot say you plan your whole life.

And that’s why I feel life is an adventure.

Exciting, unpredictable and at times exhilarating.

What is crucial is never to lose the joie de vivre.

That zest for life.

To watch the sun go down

and wake up to a new day

rested and refreshed after a good night.”

– Mr Lee Kuan Yew 2003

LKY 1

Source of photo: Bloomberg

One Year Young!

The littlest man in the family turns ONE year young today! Time files so quickly – just the same day one year back, I was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance to await Eizac’s arrival.

Celebrating his 1 year’s journey in photos below – the best memories are left in the heart and in my opinion –  photos too! Smile

To my dearest little Eizac,

From blubbering to blabbing;

From milk to solids;

From toothless grin to 2 front-teeth smile;

From crawling to cruising;

From sleepy expressions to expressed emotions

From holding on to letting go;

From 3.235kg to 9+kg;

Baby darling, you have grown so quickly!

You are a little miracle child;

No less loved than your brother;

You are very much loved and cherished.

Watching you grow up healthy and happy is the best thing we can ever ask for.

Thank you for the joy, laughter, tears and poo (yes, we love you the whole package)

Keep the sunshine in your smile and the skip in your hop. Smile

We pray that you will continue in good health;

enjoy your childhood and stay a cheerful boy.

We L.O.V.E YOU, Baby Eizac!

Happy ONE year young birthday! Smile

Herbivore

Herbivore is a small Japanese vegetarian restaurant which we found in Fortune Center along Waterloo area.
It used to be known as “Zen” till it was rebranded and relocated in recent years.

This is a unique Japanese restaurant which sells predominately Japanese vegetarian food. Can you imagine veg sashimi and unagi?

We visited this place on this exact same date last year for my Mum’s birthday celebration and once again went back this year.

Just a quick post here to share this little place for those who are vegetarians or want to try something different.

This round we had:

Unagi rice set. A must order simply because they handmade the unagi. It’s not just beancurd skin but a mixture of unagi-alike sauce with homemade soft paste which was deep fried or grilled? Texture-wise not like the real thing. But taste-wise, it scored 99% in my books. Very yummy! No wonder it is their store’s speciality!

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Soba soup set
The soup broth is made fragrant with lotsa mushroom but I tasted some seasonings as well. Otherwise, noddles is springy & overall a good choice if you want a hot soupy dish. The fried popiah thingie on the side is really good! We gobbled it up before we can tell what it is made from. Something creamy with cheese.

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Smoked duck maki
This is a good choice recommended by the waitress too. We wanted a sushi but not the fake salmon type as we tried it last round and was disappointed by the rubbery fake texture. And so we picked a safer choice this time; and it didn’t go wrong.

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Stir-fry udon
No photos because my hands and mouth were full by the time this arrived. A slightly spicy dish with special sauce. Decent choice but probably can be found in regular vegetarian stalls too.

Without drinks, this meal set us back by approximately S$77 for 3 adults & 1 kid. But Xi en basically didn’t eat much as usual.
My little one was really interested though he can’t quite eat outside food yet!

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Overall it’s a decent place for the special occasion but probably not our everyday choice as prices are not exactly easy on the wallet. They do sell liquor and wines here as well if you are wondering. Check out the place if you are buying a meal for a vegetarian or simply curious about how Japanese vegetarian food will taste like! 🙂

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Details
Herbivore
190 Middle Road
#01-13/14
Fortune Centre

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Oh, and of course a Happy birthday to the kiddos’ grandmother & my mum!

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