Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

Mr Lee Kuan Yew's red box to be displayed at museum

The red box used by former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew to store and transport his working documents will go on display at the National Museum of Singapore.

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday: "It is such a symbol of his dedication to Singapore, and we should let fellow Singaporeans have a view of this box and how much it is a part of Mr Lee's life, and how much it is a part of Singapore's history as well."

Speaking at an event in Changkat Primary School, he added: "It is so much a part of Mr Lee's life, all his life."

The box is 14cm wide. Red boxes have been used by British ministers to transport official documents. Singapore's early ministers had red boxes, and Mr Lee had used his consistently through the years.

Mr Heng served as Mr Lee's principal private secretary from 1997 to 2000, and

wrote an essay last Tuesday - a day after Mr Lee's death - about how the red box symbolised his unwavering dedication to Singapore.

"The diverse contents it held tell us much about the breadth of Mr Lee's concerns - from the very big to the very small; the daily routine of the red box tells us how

Mr Lee's life revolved around making Singapore better, in ways big and small," he wrote.

A National Heritage Board (NHB) spokesman told The Straits Times yesterday: "NHB would be honoured to receive the red box as we acknowledge its historic significance."

The box will be added to the National Collection and will be displayed, along with several other items belonging to Mr Lee, in the National Museum's revamped galleries.

These items include his barrister wig when he was admitted to the Bar, and a Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch presented to him by the Singapore Union of Postal and Telecommunications Workers, both of which are on display in the museum's In Memoriam: Lee Kuan Yew exhibition, which runs till April 26.

Yesterday, Mr Heng urged Singaporeans to continue with Mr Lee's work: "Mr Lee Kuan Yew has devoted his whole life to creating a better life for all Singaporeans. Today, let us all commit ourselves to continuing the great work Mr Lee has done all his life."

JONATHAN WONG