I decided to postpone my trip to HK because I had to be here this week, to fully experience and mourn with my fellow Singaporeans. I wanted to go pay my last respects to Mr Lee Kuan Yew in person and be here for the state funeral. But I wasn't prepared to see the tens of thousands of Singaporeans who turned out today, standing for hours in the sun to say goodbye to our Founding Father. The outpouring of grief and gratitude was evident, cutting across all races, ages and religions.
In recent years, it seemed as if all we Singaporeans did was complain and blame the government for everything. There are even online sites that specialise in wallowing in and spreading bitterness, negativity and hate. I wondered if Singaporeans had lost all sense of reality, unable to see how much we have here in this small island and how much further ahead we are from so many other countries. Gratitude seemed an abandoned virtue with perpetual pessimism and petulance being as common as the constant complaining.
But with Mr Lee's passing it seems like the silent majority has risen up to show that the complainers and haters are not the dominant voice of this nation, noisy as they may be. For once the online posts were of gratitude and appreciation for what we have as a nation, not bitter complaints. And on the streets, the tens of thousands of people standing in line to pay tribute to him all realise how much we have been blessed with, and they all have one common refrain: Thank You. These two most basic words of gratitude and memory, so absent from our national dialogue for too long.
I hope that in the days, weeks, months and years to come, we can all remember these feelings and to always be grateful for what we have, and instead of asking what more society can give us, to instead look for ways we can give back to the society and nation that has given us so much.
Thank you Mr Lee. ‪#‎RememberingLeeKuanYew‬
Gilbert Cheah

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