Lee Kuan Yew once said, “Whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him. Or give it up. This is not a game of cards.” Being Singapore’s founding father, he was well-acquainted with the kind of resolve it takes to birth a country and carry it from third-world to first-world status. This feat has not only served as a legendary model for the nations of the world, but has also gone down in history as the great legacy of Lee Kuan Yew.
Years after his death, Lee Kuan Yew’s son, now-Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, leads the nation with the weight of this legacy growing heavier by the moment as he finds himself in a tough spot. The emergence of a pandemic has threatened not only the reputation of Singapore, but also the legacy of his father.
Having the same last name and coming from the same political party as Singapore’s late founding father, Mr Lee, has no doubt, stepped into a pair of pretty big shoes. Despite the forward direction Mr Lee has lead Singapore towards since he became Prime Minister in 2004, the materialisation of an unprecedented and unseen threat has emerged–the Covid-19 virus.
At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Singapore’s leadership seemed to showcase the same iron that ran through the veins of Lee Kuan Yew. Nations praised the small but powerful contender for its handling of Covid-19. However, after some time, the virus seemed to tarnish Singapore’s armour, eating away until its issues were revealed to the world–issues such as the living conditions in its foreign worker dormitories, which have been referred to as the nation’s “underbelly of shame,” and of course, the spike in Covid-19 cases, which made Singapore the country with the most cases in Southeast Asia.
Though Singapore may be starting to bounce back as the Government seems to be once-again getting a grip on Covid-19, it is not as easy to earn back the confidence of the public, which was once unshakable. While some Singaporeans are scrutinising the Government, others are now skeptical of Singapore’s future.
In fact, a netizen recently shared a back-to-back image of the late Lee Kuan Yew and Lee Hsien Loong, insinuating that Singapore is heading for a downward turn.
Though it can be argued that the recent humiliation undergone by Singapore was merely a learning curve for such an unprecedented challenge, the eyes of the world are on Singapore–watching closely to see how the future will unfold.
Will Prime Minister Lee continue the legacy of his father? Or does the legacy of Lee Kuan Yew end here?