Indelible memory of Mr Lee in tears

Retired doctor Lee Moh Hoon was a stressed medical student with a lot on her mind on Aug 9, 1965, but she vividly recalls Mr Lee Kuan Yew appearing on television to announce that Singapore was no longer a part of Malaysia.

"What struck me was a man moved to tears," said Dr Lee, 74.

"He was a very strong guy. That memory is etched in my mind."

She was in the news this week in 1965 when she was listed as one of the students at the University of Singapore's Faculty of Medicine who had passed Part I of the final professional examinations for the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree.

She was one of only three women on the list.

Dr Lee was shocked by Mr Lee's announcement which came at a difficult time for her personally, as she had lost her mother to cancer the month before.

In the subsequent weeks and months, she and her classmates did not give much thought to Singapore's sudden independence, and felt no direct effects of the separation.

"Uppermost in our minds was clearing the final hurdle of the MBBS exams in early 1966," she said.

She had "some fears" about Singapore's ability to survive, given its lack of natural resources, but she put a lot of trust in the country's leadership.

"As teenagers, my best friend Lucy Lim and I made our way to the old Parliament House to enjoy watching Mr Lee sparring verbally with Mr David Marshall.

"His oratorical skills impressed us," she said.

"With that in mind, I was confident that Mr Lee and his colleagues would see us through into the future."

Dr Lee is married to a pastor and the couple have three children and three grandchildren.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 09, 2015, with the headline 'Indelible memory of Mr Lee in tears'. Print Edition | Subscribe