On the day that Mr Lee Kuan Yew passed away, I thought very long about how I should explain or share this man’s legacy with Phoebie.
She surprised me instead by asking me while we were watching TV, “Is that Mr Lee Kuan Yew?” “Yes,” I said.
At dinner, she asked me, “Mama, do you know what Mr Lee Kuan Yew planted?”
I was clueless about her question, so I replied, “I don’t know. But he planted Singapore. Without him, Singapore won’t be the same.”
“No… I just wanted to ask you, do you know what he planted in the gaden? Do you know he planted trees? And last time, the river was very smelly and everyone was like eeee… And then Mr Lee cleaned up the river, and everyone *sniffs* ahh… And then they could sleep at night.”
I was speechless. The school must have shared all this with the children. I was amazed but also very happy. It made my job of sharing with Phoebie about Mr Lee even easier.
Inspired by what her school principal shared, Phoebie drew the flower for Mr Lee because he planted trees, and the drop of water with a smiley face because he cleaned the river.
My husband and I checked his work schedule and realized that we would able to bring the kids down to the Parliament House on Friday to pay our final respects to the late Mr Lee. So we made plans and packed a big backpack full of food for the kids, in case the queue was long.
Thanks to the priority queue for people with children 6 years and below to pay respects to Mr Lee Kuan Yew, we arrived at City Hall at 4pm and were out of the Parliament House by 5pm.
This wefie was taken after we cleared the screening area.
The ushers who spotted us with the kids directed us past the old Supreme Court and we followed the white tentage all the way.
With gratitude in our hearts, we brought the kids back to the Padang where everyone else had to queue for hours.
There, we distributed the bread and curry puffs we bought.
We got Phoebie involved and she shouted, “Anybody wants bread? Anyone wants refreshments?” This very kind hearted girl with the umbrella was waiting for her friend and started to shelter.
I asked her to shelter Phoebie instead.
Some people were a little wary, while the rest smiled and declined. Those who accepted the refreshments thanked us.
On our way home, we explained to Phoebie the reason we returned to the Padang. We told her that Mr Lee did a lot for Singapore and we were there to do something small for those who respect him. At the same time, we were blessed to go through such a short and smooth queue, so handing out refreshments is the least we can do for those who have to queue for hours. Hopefully Phoebie remembers this day for a long time to come.
There are many ways to remember Mr Lee Kuan Yew. We chose this.
There are many lessons to learn from him too. One of the things I admire about Mr Lee is his parenting style. The Asian Parent wrote an article about this and I think it is worth sharing.
I hope we can groom children who will love Singapore the way it is.