Dr Anthony Pun, OAM
The passing of Lee Kuan Yew, the Founding Father of the modern metropolis of Singapore is indeed a sad loss for the people of Singapore. When he said that he would built an oasis of prosperity within a third world country, he actually succeeded. The wealth and prosperity enjoyed by Singaporeans today, owes much to this founding patriarch. Many Malaysians also benefited when they moved and worked in Singapore.
My interest in Singapore started with the David Marshall days when Mr Lee was in the union movement and later founded the PAP. Many people have said that it would be impossible to dismount from the tiger’s back (the union) when you have mounted it. Mr Lee did get off the tiger’s back and started his political career and became Singapore’s first PM. He was a master oratory, fluent in English, Chinese and Malay.
I had the opportunity to meet with Mr Lee on my way to Sydney, when he joined the Foker Friendship afternoon flight on 17January 1964 flying from KL to Singapore after attending the Malaysian Parliament. As a brazen young teenager, I went over to the Mr Lee who was sitting on the other side of the plane and with a fan in his hand; introduced myself and shook hands with the great man. Ever since, I have been following his politics in Singapore.
Back in the 1950s, “Harry” Lee was a colleague Tengku Abdul Rahman (then Prince of Kedah and later PM of Malaysia) in Lincoln’s Inn, and there were many colourful stories about them. Mr Lee of course, graduated with 1st class honours in law and later returned to practise law in Singapore.
My Grandfather had a very high opinion of this young politician in Singapore and even claimed that Mr Lee was his clansman, a Hakka whose origin was Taipo village in Guangdong Province.
A Singapore built on the equality of races, freedom of religion and meritocracy, is a shiny example of an affluent Asian state, a developed state. The transplantation of Western democracy into Asia is no guarantee of success. As an English educated lawyer, Mr Lee understood Western democratic principles, and as a Chinese, he understood the Asian traditions. A modern blend of Singaporean democracy, built on the best of East and West worked, a Singaporean legacy, which brought wealth, prosperity, security and future for his fellow citizens.
On behalf of CCCA National, I wish to convey our condolences to the PM Mr Lee Hsien Loong & family, for the loss of your father and to Singaporeans for the loss of their Founding Father.
We shall mourn his passing, but more importantly, we shall remember him for his exemplary contributions to his people, and hence, fully deserving the title of “Elder Statesman of Asia”.
Rest in Peace.
Dr Anthony Pun, OAM
National President, CCCA