As the saying goes, action speaks louder than words. For all the comments made about Mr Lee Kuan Yew, many a time unpleasant, by both locals and non-locals, no one can deny that Mr Lee Kuan Yew left an indelible mark on Singapore's history and the world's. At the end of the day, the only real truth is that Mr Lee Kuan Yew was a respected man by Singaporeans and world leaders internationally. This is evident in that international leaders of super powers such as US, China and India attended his funeral today. And even more so, the fact that countries such as India, New Zealand and Russia showed such tremendous respects for him by flowing their flags at half-mast as a mark of respect for his passing. Which country in the world can proudly say that of their leader?
To all the international media who have criticised Mr Lee Kuan Yew: He may have ruled Singapore with an iron-fist, but he ruled it well. And to whether his ends justified his means? Oh, definitely, yes, for if he had been soft in his approach in a time where tough stances needed to be made, then we, Singapore, would not be where we are today, much less to be debating on this very issue now.
In the hearts of every Singaporean, he is an extraordinary man and a legendary leader – one who can never be replaced. His demise marks the end of an era, but it is also the start of a new one. His departure reminded us of his contributions to Singapore and that to we, the future generation, are the ones responsible to uphold his life's work and that we should be truly grateful for what he has given to make Singapore what it is today – his life. We are reminded once more that Singapore should never be too complacent, for all that we hold dear to now, is ever so vulnerable, no matter how high our GDP has increased or how many international accolades Singapore has received. Because Singapore is a small island city without natural resources, only its people who are and must be willing to sacrifice, at all costs, to guard her interests as no one else will.
In his eulogy this afternoon, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong compared Mr Lee Kuan Yew to the architect, Sir Christopher Wren who built St Paul's Cathedral in London. But personally, I think that the greatness of Mr Lee Kuan Yew lies not only in his leadership which led Singapore to attain such achievements and recognition on the world stage, but that he has left each unique Singaporean is a personalised gift – the Singapore Passport which bears our individual names. It contains the true reflection of good diplomatic ties between Singapore and some of the world's greatest and most influential nations. It is the single, most valuable piece of possession a Singaporean will ever own, for it is with this little red book that we are able to experience true freedom – travelling to anywhere we want, being able to grasp hold of international opportunities and being the best we can be. And so, to the Western media and all their criticisms on freedom in Singapore, I say: I'd prefer my little red book – the Singapore Passport – any day. And so, to the Western media and all their criticisms on freedom in Singapore, I say: I'd prefer my own little red book – the Singapore Passport – any day.
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