By Terry Xu
“My loyalty is first and foremost, to the people of Singapore. It has always been so, and will always remain so.” – Ong Teng Cheong (1936 – 2002)
I remember how I cried as I saw Madam Ling Siew May cry in live telecast. Mr Ong Teng Cheong was playing on the piano in the President Charity show in 1999, who specially dedicated the piece, Teresa Teng’s classic “月亮代表我的心” to his beloved wife.
I thought to myself then, “How blessed are we, Singaporeans to have such a talented and respectful man to be the symbol of our country.”
It has since been 11 years that we have lost a great man from our nation.
A lot of things would not be the same without him.
Without him, there would not be MRTs, without him, the last labour strike would have been 1977 and not 1986.
He was a president who cared enough for the country to ask how much was the Singapore reserves and cared enough for the unfortunate to have started the President Star Charity.
But he was also the only president who was denied state funeral when he passed away in 2002.
Today, I cried again as I wonder how Mr Ong would have thought as the population white paper is being passed in the parliament.
What words would he choose to address the people whom are being emotionally affected by this recent development and the lost of faith in that their voices are being heard.
He always had a knack for comforting people even when his hands were bounded.
I miss and sought for such a leader like Mr Ong Teng Cheong whom i can place my faith in to represent my rights as a citizen of Singapore and to be proud of having.
How long more we might ask, before such a man like Mr Ong Teng Cheong comes up to be there, to voice our concerns and difficulties.
Though it has been more than 13 years since he stepped down as the President of Singapore, but I and along with many Singaporeans will always revert him as the only people’s President.
Thank you Mr Ong Teng Cheong, for all that you have done for Singapore and you will never be forgotten in the hearts of Singaporeans.