Dear Mr Lee, your departure has affected me far more than I had expected. It is most regretful that I am learning so much more about you after you left. I belong to the generation who is enjoying the fruits of your labour and I would like to thank you for what you have provided for us.
Thank you for empowering us by making sure that everyone gets his or her fair share of education, and for emphasizing on a system based on meritocracy too. I was a little slack during my PSLE and ended up in a not-so-reputable-then neighbourhood school, which was not in my list of choices for secondary school. I learned my lesson when the ‘O’ levels came and worked really hard (with the help of a tuition teacher) for the papers. I scored well enough to go into a junior college, not the top ones but still, I was proud of what I could achieve when I put in the effort. I went to a polytechnic in the end because I wasn’t too keen in uniforms and having to wake up early every day for another two years. Gotta thank you for the alternative options available too, I guess!
Thank you for putting us on the world map. Have always been proud to be holding a Singapore passport and telling others I’m a Singaporean when I travel. Thank you for bilingualism. Locals in places we travel to are always impressed by how effortlessly we can switch between English and Mandarin, and how we know some Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese and even Malay! Sure makes traveling to many places in Asia much more fun.
Thank you for racial harmony. Growing up with friends from different races and religions, I had not realized how precious these relationships are until I started watching international news of unrest due to conflicts between different races and religions. It was quite shocking to see how common such conflicts are in many first world countries. Thank you for giving us a harmonious society so that we are able to respect and appreciate the different cultures and religions our fellow countrymen may embrace from us.
Thank you for putting a strict legal system in place so that our country enjoys relatively low crime rate. Our children are able to grow up in a safe environment and we are grateful that they only have to do fire drills, and not drills on what to do should there be a shooting. You might have noticed the abundance of 24-hour makan places we see all over the island now. That’s only possible because our people feel safe to go out any time they want for a late night snack.
Thank you for leading by example on how a marriage should be like. I’m deeply touched by your love and commitment to your wife and of hers to you. Mrs Lee had inspired me to be a better wife to my husband. And I hope my husband is just as inspired by you. You guys have a flawless partnership when it comes to managing your marriage and children.
As a mother of two, I’m pulling my hair out trying to figure out how to nurture them in the best way possible and prepare them for challenges ahead of them. And you had to do this for the entire nation. I’m all for tough love if that’s what it takes for my kids to 成才and I do believe that for all that you did, 你的出发点全都是为了新加坡和人民好.
Your methods may not have pleased everyone, which I totally understand ‘cos it’s the same for my parenting skills. But you have done your very best and gave us all. Now take a well-deserved rest as you reunite with Mrs Lee to watch over the nation you have built.
一路走好了， 阿公！ 我们会好好照顾自己！