Mr Leong Chun Loong’s Eulogy for the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew

29 March 2015

 

Mr President
Family members of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew
Friends


Today, we mourn the loss of our country’s first Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

I have been a grassroots leader in Tanjong Pagar Constituency for 39 years. I am privileged to be able to stand here today to pay tribute to Mr Lee Kuan Yew. I consider him my leader and my friend. His departure is not only a loss to the country but also a deep personal loss for me. Having worked closely with him for so many years, I have developed a profound respect and admiration for Mr Lee. I now wish to share with you some stories of my encounters with this great man throughout these years.

Back in the early days, Chinese New Year celebrations would kick off with the lighting of firecrackers, followed by the singing of the National Anthem. There was a particular case when the firecrackers were lit but did not go off. Getting impatient, the MC decided to move on to play the National Anthem, but then the firecrackers went off. We thought it was quite funny but Mr Lee was not amused at all. He told us later: “If we can’t even do this right, how do we run the country?” 

This incident showed us how serious he was about all things concerning Singapore and how he always expected us to do our best.

Mr Lee cared for his people.  At a “Tanjong Pagar Family Day Function”, we had set up a stage for the day’s activities. The key officials were sitting on the stage and the residents were sitting in front of the stage. The place was hot and sunny. Mr Lee noticed that the residents were perspiring and he turned around and asked us what we were going to do about it. He was always thinking about the people and he expected us to put their interest above our own.

At constituency dinners, Mr Lee would usually sit with grassroots leaders so that he could talk to them. We would always arrange the seating such that his old friends would be seated en-route to his table. It would take him some time to get to his table as he would stop by to speak to every familiar face. When Mr Lee heard that his old friends were doing well, his face would light up with pride.

Even though Mr Lee is no longer with us, his legacy is something that we Singaporeans will always remember.