Jenny Tay

Have A Little Respect

Remembering Lee Kuan Yew  Just hours before the turn of an era, the heavens wept. As the sun rose the very next day, a nation mourned. Our founding father has ascended. My father was visibly saddened and tired. He was up the whole night as calls poured in from our hotline to ask about what can be done if anything happens to Mr Lee Kuan Yew.Lee Kuan Yew Tribute Mr Lee Kuan Yew was his hero. He was in fact THE hero of their generation. Gone were the days of the 32 door containers that used to make its rounds picking up the neighbourhood’s excrements. No longer did our grandparents have to rely on kerosene or wood fire. From a plethora of languages, we are now united with English, yet we retain our roots in our mother tongues. There is just too much to attribute to our beloved Ah Gong.

I read Minister Grace Fu’s tribute to him and teared. Yes, if not for his progressive stance, women would never be as respected as they are in our country. I look at the way women are treated in other countries and feel grateful for being a Singaporean. I graced tribute after tribute on social media, sometimes choking up, but some articles made me feel deeply disturbed.

Amidst the outpouring of tributes, there are a minority of people who are taking this opportunity to slam his past policies and his character.

Have a little Respect.

Have some Compassion.

Be Kind.

He is not a god nor a perfect being. He is mortal like every one of us. He made some mistakes and there are definitely policies that not every one can agree with. But he got many other things right. Our loved ones are just as such, there are bound to be moments that we disagree with; but that doesn’t mean we should respect them any lesser. A funeral is a defining moment for the family, friends and sympathisers. It is a period of charged emotions, when a loved one becomes a nostalgic memory.

Now is not the time to discuss politics. Now is the time to mourn a leader who made an impact to our lives whether we know it or not. What progress can you make in this point in time by listing out what went wrong? The vast majority of Singaporeans, even his political rivals are over at Parliament House paying their respects. People are feeling very down and sad. Lee Kuan Yew Funeral Lee Hsien Loong  All that is for another time, for another climate to discuss in.  Not when people are mourning. I urge you to delay your online debate, pull back your reins. Show respect not just to him, but to the people who are mourning for him, and that means the majority of Singapore. Its not about peer pressure or censorship mind you, its simply a respect for us fellow Singaporeans. Please don’t draw ire onto yourselves.

There will be a time for you to do all that. This week happens to not be that time.

Yours Sincerely,

Jenny Tay

Funeral Director

35 thoughts on “Have A Little Respect”

  1. I , too, could not hold back tears listening to his forceful speeches and seeing the misery on the mourners’ faces. Whether we like him or detest him, benefit from his policies or were devastated by them, let history be the judge. For me, looking at world leaders and their follies, vanities and self-aggrandizement, we are privileged to have such a strong leader of unparalleled quality, however much we agree or disagree with him.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Vic Seow says:
    26March 2015, 4.30 pm
    Vientiane, Lao PDR

    What can I say? I am working overseas and as my sadness deepens on the loss of our “father”, all I can say is – FAREWELL: MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE! Thank you for what you have done for all Singaporeans, young and old alike for without you, we will not have the Singapore “today” We will sadly miss you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m conflicted on several levels:
    1) the man pre and post 1990 (when he handed PM title to Mr Goh)
    2) his relationship with me (none at all, never even seen him outside a textbook/TV in 30+ years)
    3) costs to taxpayers (objectively)

    Let’s address points 2&3 first. He is not a relation, I won’t pretend to be affected emotionally on a planet of 7 billion by the death of one stranger. And the costs of the funeral expenses, IF disclosed, is borne by? Sorry if I sound ungrateful, but as Jenny has said, he is “not a God”.

    Some background reading required here: PAP claims to be democratic socialists. Therefore, some should NOT be more equal than others. E.g. Ong Teng Cheong. If you want to decry his detractors, you should know how this man treated his detractors first.

    Full circle to point 1. Ultimately, I do respect the man, but only the pre-1990 version. All the beloved changes, sanitation, public housing, transportation etc was laid by then. Since then, and through to adulthood, I’ve watched this country grow into the most expensive city to live with the best paid politicians in the world.

    Guess what I’m asking is,
    1. Why should citizens as a whole pay for such elaborate tributes? State funeral yes, but a week of mourning with non-stop TV and radio ads? How about 24 hour public transportation (which PTOs already claim is making losses)? When is it too much? Do the minority have any say?

    2. Gratitude, respect etc? Do you thank a waiter for good service for 2.5 minutes after a meal? Do you even tip extra? Now we have a politician who has been collecting paychecks 25 years after the bulk of his undisputed great work completed. Is there a statute of limitations on respect, payment and staying quiet?

    3. Family values: your real ah gong, how much you know of him? If you’re truly the majority, then he will not have many published books, nor schools in his name… But you would definitely NOT be here without his DNA. Who is telling his story? Are you mourning this stranger because you are “filial” or because you’re told to and/or following the crowd?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hope you could be more respectful and think more about what he did for us. I initially had the same sentiments as you, thought that since he was not related by blood or by kin to us, we don’t need to feel so sad. However, looking at how others respect him, I started to reflect , there must be some reason why everyone is so emotionally affected . I suggest you could read up more online about the things that he did for the nation, the leaders he impacted with his world views on governance , for example how deng xiao ping sought much advice from lee kuan yew and which affected how he developed China etc. The impact he had was a global one. The thinking that he had were unconventional and the testimony of singapore changing from a third world to a first world in a short span of 30 years called countries like China to study singapore on more effective govenance. With lee kuan yew’s leadership, it gave inspiration to other neighboring countries to adopt similar attitudes of governance, such as ensuring security so that people will be productive. Without lee kuan yew , we would be traditional China , or Thailand or in a much worse state than them considering we don’t have any natural resources. Lee kuan yew had the vision to change us to train us to be intellectuals and eatablish the foundation of modern singapore workings . Without him, rape would be rampant, we can’t go out at night so safely. He established a sense of orderliness in all Singaporeans so that we don’t harm each other and wipe out corruption. that itself is very commendable. Otherwise now we might have to bribe schools before we can get an education. Textbooks and social studies classes might make it seem like lee kuan yew is far from us. But when you think about what he has created for us, you will really appreciate him, and the opportunities we have because of his policies. Other countries are also improving, but at a time when neighboring counties were also having riots, being economically undeveloped etc , he dared to be different and stand to fight for Singapore with his unique vision among the many. And the other reason why we are weeping for lee kuan yew is that he is such a sacrificial man. If you go read up about the stories of how he did what he did, you would know that he is a complex man but decided to live by 2 simple priorities : one is his nation, singapore and the other his family. He could have stayed in London to lead an easier life when singapore was clearly not prosperous. However, he decided to come back to singapore to make a change to his homeland. He didn’t have money as a pm initially and even had to use his wife’s money to continue his plans for singapore. How many of us would be able to do that? I really admire him for that. And if he didn’t come back, under another person’s leadership , singapore would seriously be a small dot that the outside world would not know at all. A greater respect for him struck me when I read that at 88 years old , when his wife passed away, he was still going around Malaysia to carry out talks for the benefit of singapore. He mentioned whatever he could do for singapore, he would still do it as long as he is alive. He didn’t just enjoy retirement like most people would after stepping down , but his heart was deeply rooted with singapore. He tried his very best for Singapore even till the end. That itsef makes him a remarkable leader. If you look at the pictures of his home, he is a very simple guy, with a simple home , with almost little or no pursuit of luxuries. I used to think like you, not giving glory to lky much , thinking that we are not close to him due to lack Of blood relations. But if you think about it , he loves singapore, he loves us the people and willing to do so much just for us. That makes him like our non biologically related grandpa that we truly admire and respect.

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    2. What reason is there for crying for someone’s death other than being emotionally affected by it? You say he’s a stranger, in a world filled with strangers, so his death is inconsequential to you. But to most Singaporeans, he is the reason we can stand tall n call ourselves Singaporeans today. Changing our society to be meritocratic, with emphasis on equality, giving quality education for all, eradicating homelessness must not have been great enough for you to be impressed with him after 1990s, but it certainly did for us. Do read the title of this post again, and think a little before posting.

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  4. What about freedom of speeech? We are all free to say what we want and to voice our opinion isn’t it? The last i checked we dont live under oppressive communist rule.

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    1. Freedom of speech is different from pure idiocy. You don’t do to a funeral wake to speak ill of the deceased, do you? Exercising your idea of “freedom of speech” in this manner lacks human decency and morals. You don’t need communism to teach you manners, a proper upbringing will do.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Of course you are free to say what you want. But you are missing the point of this article.

      There is a time to say some things and a time to hold the tongue temporarily.

      All the author an a number of respondents are asking is for people to exercise another right – the right to be decent.

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    3. I can only echo what Jo had said : Poor you Alan you have not understood the article.

      This is a moment of mourning and paying respect ! not a moment of politic .

      Nobody is perfect, we just have to be more merciful !

      How many Leader could give up his life for his nation like Mr Lee Kuan Yew ? So be grateful .

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  5. Well said, and despite the criticism, at least Mr Lee has the courage to acknowledge his own flaws. The least we can do is not choose this timing to flak him, and show respect for a man who has, sadly, passed.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Will Sim,

    I guess you didn’t read the article properly. Maybe it’s a case of TL;DR for you, but let me summarize if for you:

    “There is a time and place for everything, this is NOT it”

    You don’t share the same sentiments, shut up, keep your opinions to yourself, at least for the time being. It’s not that we don’t have a proper retort to counter-argue your points, YOU are just not a priority now (maybe not forever).

    Don’t be that ass clown going to funerals saying shit like “you know, he/she wasn’t such a good person in the past..I’ve met better people.” Let the right people mourn. We do not kick on the downtrodden, and that’s what seperates us from decent people to pathetic ones.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I personally do not think it’s gracious of anyone who blogs or comments on social media about the misdeeds made by my grandfather, during his funeral.

    In fact, it is blatantly ungracious to conduct such behaviour, even at anyone else’s funeral.

    Imagine if a stranger or a friend tells you after you’ve just given a eulogy at your parent’s funeral, “hey your mum wasn’t that great a woman anyway. She wasn’t any big deal! I do question her morals and character and these are the reasons why… your eulogy on your mum is highly doubtful and you should rethink why you are even mourning for her.”

    Everything has its own time and place for appropriateness.

    Just as how you would not want any stranger commenting or entering into a debate on social media about how your grandparents, parents, or someone whom you highly respect, do not deserve a eulogy after their death, so please, I humbly seek everyone’s understanding in being the greater person at least till this Sunday, to set aside your anger and doubts about LKY.

    Does your freedom of speech truly mean so much, that a simple act of kindness such as forebearance during a period of mourning, is sacrificed?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Apparently, for some, their freedom of speech truly mean so much, that a simple act of kindness, such as forbearance during a period of mourning is sacrified, is sacrificed.

      True, but unfortunate that these people do exist. Get used to them.

      Nice to know that there are people who are not like that also exist. 🙂

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  8. At least…lets be human beings…im too against some of the things he have done..but this is not the time to criticize him…let him rest in peace…i believe that he’s not even simply bothered by those nasty words people are using against him,..cos he have got what he wanted..a Beautiful Singapore….

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  9. Will Sim – factual correction:
    LKY was very useful to Singapore, post-1990. World leaders treasured his counsel, evidenced by their what they say on their tributes, and more significantly, the modifications to their perspectives, policies and practices which mattered to Singapore. I have more than a suspicion that LKY would have downloaded many important things from his immense databank, as he called it, to his younger colleagues. How do you measure the worth of all this?
    Remember what one chap paid to have lunch with Warren Buffet.

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  10. Hi Will Sim,

    U just make yourself looks like a complete idiot and criticise for the sake of critise. U didnt even appreciate the spirit of this article.

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  11. I applaud you. Very well said. Even if we are unhappy about some of his policies, this is not the time to air our grievance. This is the time to be thankful for his policies that let us live in a clean & safe environment, educated, and a roof over our heads.

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  12. I migrated to Australia 25 years ago. I was a Singapore citizen but gave it up, as required by Singapore law, and am a Australian citizen. Having lived my first 40 years in Singapore and most of my next 26 years in Australia, bar 6 years between Shanghai Bangkok and Hong Kong, let me tell you that you can take the Singapore out of a person but you cannot take Lee Kuan you ever out of the equation or ever forget that no matter how old you are now, it was that one man, Lee Kuan Yew, that shaped your character, gave you your pride to be born in Singapore, gave you the respect that 7 billion people in the world see in you as a Singaporean. This alone if nothing else is because this one man is a one in a billion gift that God gave to every Singaporean that had the privilege to be born in Singapore to have had one who cared so much, gave it all and more and if you cannot see feel or smell it you are one terrible ungrateful human being. Give LKY the respect and love he deserves or you will regret that you are too stupid, arrogant and worse still completely stupid if you choose this week of mourning to speak out. Thank you Mr Lee Kuan Yew in giving me the basics in life that every Singaporean past present and future must and will forever need to be grateful for as without you there 50 years ago, the word Singaporean would be nothing but a fly and not the dragon you have made it to be. RIP

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  13. If one can be so bias toward a human till they can’t see a single right but are so set to point out wrong… what do you do to people like that ?

    Silence.
    Do not response to fools. They deserve none.

    Haters are gonna hate because they can’t help themselves.
    Sooner or later they will be self consumed by their anger, jealous, self righteousness, hatred and prejudices.

    Do not give them the pleasure of response. Let them not divide Singapore.

    ‘Never sacrifice your class and peace to get even with someone who has none. Let them have the gutter. We majority Singaporeans take the high road’ – Author unknown

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    1. I think to ignore is not right. I have found many a time that many are actually so misinformed or can’t the the tress for the forest. I remember as a young man at a function at the Istana where in my enthusiasm I drove in earlier and because the security waved me on, and apparently he should not have done so, ad LKY was jogging or walking on the Istana grounds and the security around him was completely shocked to see me in my top down Alpha Romeo Spider soon past and politely waving at our PM. Of course within the next second or two I was surrounded by other security and what amazed me the most was LKY’s responce was the invite did not say that I could not come in earlier and I had not been informed correctly. Those words always stuck with me, and I too from then have understood LKY more, because he always went out of his way to inform his people why he does the things he does the way he sees it. He later in life even gave credit to Chiam See Thong, after his many years on the opposition bench As such we should not ignore negative remarks but express our views and opinions sometimes not publicly acknowledged, can in many ways effect the one person. And in a democratic country like Singapore every vote counts and one more, crossing over, is a plus in the scheme of the big picture.

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  14. Yes Thank u Jenny Tay.Yes respect him.now not the times to debate.We are mourning now.Respect our nation.we have loss our founding father Mr.lee Kuan Yew.A great and well respected man.Rest in peace.Singapore will be ok.

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  15. I am in total agreement to what you have written. It is still sad to see a few who are still adamant in voicing their negative thoughts during this time of sorrow and mourning.

    I am not a Singaporean, but even I don’t feel that Mr LKY is a stranger. To the person that questions why he must mourn so much for a stranger, I can only feel pity for him.

    Mr LKY has done so much for Singapore. He has made Singapore the Jewel of SEA and the envy of all the other SEAsian countries. Many who qualify, flock to Singapore to make a better life for themselves and their families. And to the negative commenter, I would like to suggest he lives in the other SEA countries for a while. I am sure he will learn to appreciate Singapore more.

    It seems he feels as if Mr LKY has failed him from his comments. But to me, it is he who has failed Mr LKY and Singapore.

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  16. This young man is like a cow ‘s son dunno tiger! When Mr Lee was making his rounds transforming singapore he was not even born.i wonder how he was affected ?

    In the early days ,We stayed in the kam pong. .life was simple we were happy .we lead a carefree life …but we know when to open our mouth and what to say and what not to..
    And when to say..
    We respect our elders and extremely careful with our language …mind you Amos…you only know a couple of **@@? You need a dictionary if we curse you in hokkien or teochew.

    Gangs fights for protection money , drugs , robbery .territorial controls resulted in fights and death was a common activity .when the opposing gang member (s) got killed there were 3 or 5 days of mourning .During the wake members of the opposing team would pay their last respect to the dead by kneeling down and bowed 3 times with a joss stick. Nothing bad was said about the deceased only worbs of praise …

    Even the gangsters , the uneducated,drug addicts knew the worb RESPECT!you don’t even know !
    I wish you were there you probably learn the hard way and live or you are dead immediately after the funeral.
    let me remind you, your own gang members will tear you up!

    YOUNG MAN there is always a time for everything .by cursing our founding papa using abusive and foul language anybody reading would love to heat up an iron rod and shaft it into your asshole .your mouth would be next…..

    I don’t see any benefits in what you are doing and I do not think you are a victim of Mr Lee policy ..you are just too young but from the way you speak minus **@@@ you actually benefitted fm his administration.

    Whoever is behind you is a nutcase using you to make a speech at the wrong time.you gain nothing and if you are thinking of joining an opposition party ..forget it.Form a new one but I bet you will lose your deposit for sure ..

    This is not the end ..The appropriate authorities will knock on your door first thing Monday mourning (morning)….Good luck !

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  17. Say all you want to say. The late Mr Lee will not give a damn. As he mentioned that he will leave to the PhD students to do so.
    To me, my life is closely linked to this great man, not that I know him personally, in fact I only met him once from a forum. I was a SG50 baby born into a family of 3. 5 of us stayed in a rented flat of probably 200 sq feet. Over the years we upgraded to own a flat of 2 bedrooms and when I got married, me and my wife own an executive flat with 4 bedrooms. Today I raise two daughters with my wife, provide them with good quality of life as compared to our time. Panio, dance and many enrichment classes. These are only possible because of the best education I received locally and the jobs created So that I can earn a decent living and provide the best for my next generation.

    The late Mr Lee made a promise to my parents, sell them a dream. They believed in him and supported him. He delivered what he had promised them, my parents were grateful to him. Come my turn, I place my trust in him and supported him. Yes, there are some who were way behind under such system, just like in a marathon. That is the reality in life. But unlike a race, the people ahead can help and cheer for those behind. That how we can make a difference, contributing back to the society helping one another and stand together as one.

    What is important for us to move forward is to carry on the legacy he had left behind, a clean and efficient government that continues to serve and make this country safe and prosperous. Don’t look back, it’s not going help. Move forward and reflect on what we can contribute back.

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  18. Will Sim. For what he is, he is worth every cent of the funeral expense and every minute of the air time.

    In his death, Singaporean has shown him that his life’s effort was not in vain. We mourned as one united people regardless of race language and religion.

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