In the cut and thrust of politics, PM broke down for the first time in parliament talking about his dad
And it wasn't a question from the Opposition or the PAP MPs.
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Let’s hope it will be a long while before Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong breaks down again.
This time, the parliamentarians were the ones who put him through this never-ending torture of talking and remembering his late father Lee Kuan Yew.
After nearly 18 minutes of delivering a speech in response to calls to honour the late Mr Lee, five PAP MPs and one NMP continued to pepper him with more questions and clarifications on how his father could or should be honoured.
PM Lee finally broke down when he replied to the last supplementary question by an Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP).
We have seen PM Lee break down when he delivered his speech on the passing of the founding Prime Minister.
PM Lee also cried during a Channel 8 interview about his father.
PM Lee broke down for the third time in as many weeks, when he responded to NMP Chia Yong Yong and thought about the need for a founders’ memorial to be “full of meaning”.
At that moment, PM Lee recalled how the St John’s college choir did a beautiful rendition of Dick Lee’s “Home” at Mr Lee’s Lying in State.
Below is a summary of PM Lee’s parliamentary statement on calls to honour Lee Kuan Yew:
1. Making calm and considered decisions about ways to honour Lee
PM Lee said that “we should not rush into making decisions on this matter, especially so soon after Mr Lee has passed away”. He added that “we should allow some time to pass, consider the ideas carefully, and make calm, considered decisions which will stand the test of time”.
2. Honour Lee Kuan Yew in his ideals, not monuments
Lee made it clear throughout his life that he did not want any monument. It was not monuments but ideals that were his chief concern, the ideals upon which he built Singapore: multi-racialism, equality, meritocracy, integrity, and the rule of law.
Lee was very careful when it came to lending his name to institutions and awards – Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize and the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism.
3. Lee Kuan Yew on $50 commemorative currency note.
MAS issued a set of commemorative notes and coins for SG50. On the $50 note, one element in the design will be a transparent panel showing Lee with fist raised, leading the crowd with the rallying cry of “Merdeka!”.
4. The future of 38 Oxley Road
i) Lee, like his wife, was adamant that 38 Oxley Road should be demolished after his passing. Lee wrote formally to the Cabinet at least twice to put his wishes on the record.
ii) Cabinet members “were unanimous that 38 Oxley Road should not be demolished”. In response to the Cabinet, Lee said that the house needs to have its foundations reinforced and the whole building refurbished if it needs to be preserved.
iii) PM Lee’s sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, intends to continue living in the house. Hence, there is no need for the Government to decide now. PM Lee personally wishes the house be demolished, but he will leave it to the Government to consider.
5. A Founders’ Memorial
PM Lee asked Esplanade chairman Lee Tzu Yang to chair a committee to gather public feedback on whether the idea of a Founders’ Memorial will find resonance among Singaporeans.
You can watch the full videos here.
Top photo from Prime Minister’s Office Youtube.