Singaporeans here and abroad send good wishes to Lee Kuan Yew

SINGAPORE - There has been an outpouring of emotions and reflection online about Mr Lee Kuan Yew, following news that his condition had deteriorated.

The former prime minister, now 91, was hospitalised on Feb 5 for severe pneumonia.

Singaporeans have taken to social media to send good wishes to Mr Lee and laud his pivotal role in transforming Singapore within 40 years.

Undergraduate Doris Kwoh, 23, interviewed some pioneer Singaporeans and put together a video of them expressing their gratitude to Mr Lee. She dedicated the video to Mr Lee and his family. It has been viewed more than 10,000 times since it was uploaded on March 19.

 

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Mr Ganesh Sundram put up a post on Facebook on March 18, listing all the things he is grateful for about Singapore and said "it was because Lee Kuan Yew had a vision and he went about executing it".

Comparing Singapore with other countries, he chides those who played down Mr Lee's legacy:"Whether he did right or wrong...the man who gave us this quality of life has reached the end of the tunnel... let him go in peace and respect."

The post has been shared more than 15,000 times since he put it up.

 

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A poignant essay by Ms Beverly Murray titled The Most Brilliant Politician You Never Knew has also been widely read, and was shared on Law Minister K. Shanmugam's Facebook page.

 

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Despite moving to the United States when she was 16, Ms Murray writes that she is "strangely, deeply moved" by news of Mr Lee's critical condition.

"You gave us a republic, Mr Lee. No display of gratitude seems excessive in light of your tremendous legacy. But I'm happiest to report that your people - scattered and disparate as they may be - have indeed found poetry," she writes on her blog.

Writing to The Straits Times, Ms Ranjani Rangan who returned to Singapore after living in Glasgow and Dallas, said: "Today I feel proud to call myself a fourth generation Singaporean, feel proud to sing our national anthem loudly at every opportunity I get... And all this pride is only possible because of you, our founding father, Mr Lee and your A team of leaders"

There are also Facebook pages dedicated to Mr Lee.

One of the popular Facebook pages, called "Thank you Mr Lee Kuan Yew", got more than 67,000 likes as of March 20.

Many Singaporeans have gone on the page to post their good wishes and thanks to Mr Lee.

Among them was Facebook user Siao Ping, who said: "Thank you for guiding my parents' generation through a period of darkness, turmoil, racial riots and finally providing this generation with an era of peace, security and prosperity. My parents who have since passed on have always spoken fondly of 'Lao Lee' in their native dialect."

Former opposition politician Nicole Seah, 28, who is now based in Thailand, said on Facebook that she feels "trepidation" as she keeps tabs on developments in Singapore.

"Whether we agree or disagree with what he has done, we cannot deny that this is a man of great intellect, talent and ambition to give Singapore the profile that it has and moulded it into what it is today," she said.

Meanwhile, some are expressing their gratitude in art.

Singapore artist Lawrence Koh put up a video of sand art dedicated to Mr Lee on March 18 which has been viewed more than 10,000 times.

Creative firm Flab Slab tweeted a series of oil paintings that are a "#vangogh tribute to the one and only #lky".

Many succinct good wishes to Mr Lee on Twitter have also been re-tweeted.

chuimin@sph.com.sg