Lee Wei Ling says her dad “would have cringed at the hero worship just one year after his death”
An image of LKY's face on the front page of ST reminded her of Communist China.
Trust the late Lee Kuan Yew’s daughter, Lee Wei Ling, to say it like it is.
After all, this was what the man, who is known for his plain-speaking attitude, told his only daughter,
“Your misfortune is that you have my genetic traits, but in so exaggerated a form that they have become a disadvantage for you.” The Straits Times
The medical professor who once said that she is “most like my father in temperament”, wrote a lengthy Facebook post that pretty much hits out at the “more than 100 events” happening in observance of her father’s passing this week.
The post, which was published on Friday evening (March 25), was shared nearly 2,000 times by Saturday (March 26).
In case you find her post a bit too long, here are three key points she makes in her piece:
1. Singaporeans must prepare for life after Lee Kuan Yew.
She observed that “life seemed to return to normal for Singapore over the past year”, though she was still hurting inside until recently.
In a classy move, she declined to comment for publications marking the first anniversary of her father’s death.
2. A Straits Times front page report made her wince.
She appreciated the “well-meaning effort” of a group of 110 Singaporeans to create an art piece of her father’s face using some 4,877 erasers.
Unfortunately, it brought back memories of her first visit to China with the late Lee in 1976.
During that visit, her delegation was greeted by young children chanting, “Welcome, Welcome, a Very Warm Welcome”.
LKY was unimpressed and felt the ceremony to be very contrived, noting that Singaporeans are “not prone to excessive, unnatural displays of emotion”.
In a final remark to the art piece and the acts of commemoration in general, she asked “how the time, effort and resources used to prepare these would benefit Singapore and Singaporeans”.
Yes, one wonders how much
money, time and effort the People’s Association, the National Youth Council and People’s Action Party activists spent on creating all the installations of commemoration on this March 23 week.
3. Lee compared the examples of how two world leaders — Mao Zedong and Winston Churchill — were remembered by their government and people after their deaths.
Lee questioned the need for a commemoration so soon after LKY’s death, comparing his with the time elapsed from death and the first commemoration for the two other late leaders.
Mao – The state decided that a Memorial Hall would be built as a permanent tribute. Mao’s body, which had been embalmed and placed in a crystal sarcophagus, was moved to the Hall. A ceremony was held one year later to commemorate the anniversary of his death and the completion of the Hall.
Churchill – The anniversary took place 50 years after the actual funeral in 1965. It was marked by several events, including a service and wreath laying at the Houses of Parliament, a memorial service at Westminster Abbey, and the re-broadcast by BBC Parliament of the original live coverage.
Finally, the two most important points that Lee highlighted were:
a) LKY was dead set against a personality cult and any hint of cronyism; and
b) the misinterpretation of such veneration of him.
As she concluded,
“Any veneration could have the opposite effect and lead future generations of Singaporeans to think that my father’s actions were motivated by his desire for fame, or creation of a dynasty. He strove hard and determinedly in life to advance Singapore, and not for his place in history, or leaving a great legacy”.
You might now ask, who initiated all these “ground-up initiatives”? We know at least one group who went public about their initiative:
Anyway, you can read Lee’s full post here:
Top photo: Photo taken from Lee Wei Ling: A Hakka woman’s Singapore stories.