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Lee Kuan Yew – a sad sight indeed

Andrew Loh -

I remember in the '80s when I would look forward to each National Day Rally on television. Lee Kuan Yew was gonna speak and I'd always found him to be a great orator, someone who enthralls me each time. I would be glued to the screen listening to every one of his words, even to the point where if I needed to use the toilet, I would run there and be back as soon as I can, so that I wouldn't miss a word he says.

But to be clear, i was never a fan of his. I just loved listening to him speak.

Fast forward to 2010 and I can't even bare to read what he says anymore.

Most of what he says nowadays is irritating, shallow and most significantly, condescending. I've lost count of the number of times he has put Singaporeans down with degrading remarks, using words and analogies including dogs, maids, daft, lazy, ignorant and more.

While some of his supporters may try and explain that he is just trying to inspire or urge Singaporeans to be more productive, competitive and hardworking, I feel it actually is the contrary. Lee Kuan Yew's words are borne out of hubris and arrogance. And with such overwhelming power and authority, he is fast nursing a society which is fast becoming dysfunctional - just as any father with such attitudes would.

It breeds deference where there should not be, where even when he is wrong, no one dares speak up against him. Or when he makes a declaration, no one - least of all the media - dares question or challenge his claims.

This is where the danger lies for Singapore.

That after 50 years, we are still under the thumb of one man who, as with all who stays in power for so long, has become a world unto himself. And we live in this world of his, warts and all.

Nah, Mr Lee, I do not and will not subscribe to your view that one should not retire and that one should never stop working. Instead, I believe, unlike you, that there is more to life than just feeding the economy beast, or being a cog in your economic wheel.

Lee Kuan Yew is no sage and if we continue to live and believe as he does we will all soon find that our lives have become meaningless. That all we do is this relentless and endless pursuit of thhis thing called "a brighter future" - a utopian future which we never seem to be able to reach or arrive at.

This is because there is no such future.

It is the job of politicians like Lee Kuan Yew to make us believe that there is.

Happinness and satisfaction and contentment is now. It is not in the future. There is no need to be running after this "brighter future" because we will never reach it.

It does not exist.

When we are able to see this, we are content with the here and now. We realise that life is so much more. That at the end of the day, it is the simple things which makes us happy - family, friends, helping others, spending time with loved ones.

And we do not need "economic success" in order to be these or to do these things.

I am happy where I am - and I am no big-time businessman, or a top civil servant, or a great scholar, or am earning millions.

In fact, I am on the brink of being broke most of the time.

Yet, I am contented. I am happy.

I am most happy when I see my mom. When I speak to my sisters and see them happy. When I see my nieces and nephews. Or when I chit chat with my friends.

I am consciously aware of not being a part of this dysfunctional family of Lee Kuan Yew. Dysfunctional to the point where we become arrogant, self-centred, back-stabbing, competitive to the point where we feel it is right and proper to house our foreign workers in a cemetery, where we pay our maids such a pathetic salary, where we even reject their request for a single day off per month, where we hang young boys, where our suicide rates are so high, where we cut the pay of older workers for no other reason than that they are old.

And so on and so on.

Singapore is a sad place now. It has become a hotel. Our home hijacked by one man who sees himself as our "father". Indeed some have called him so.

It is pathetic.

I hope Lee Kuan Yew would leave the stage soon.

I no longer admire him or the way he speaks or what he says.

In fact, I am convinced that he is the biggest stumbling block to Singapore and Singaporeans achieving their full potential.

Lee Kuan Yew to me is no sage.

Indeed, he has become something of a joke to me. A sad relic of an old man trying to feed his ego by claiming the limelight almost on a daily basis now.

It is a sad sight indeed.

And now, whenever he comes on the telly, I would turn the telly off or walk away.

The man is nothing but an ego trip.

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Read Sam's Thoughts: The day Lee Kuan Yew gutted me