SINGAPORE — A few days ago, the Government announced that it will release a commemorative coin and host exhibitions (among other initiatives) to mark the 100th birth anniversary of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Speaking in Parliament on Feb 7, Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng said some government agencies have planned initiatives to pay tribute to Mr Lee.

“As our founding Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew holds a special place in Singapore’s history,” he told the House, adding that many groups from the community have also come up with ideas to pay tribute to him.

“They felt it was important to remember Mr Lee’s contributions to Singapore and the ideals that he represented,” said Dr Tan.

“They especially wanted to raise the awareness of Mr Lee’s contributions amongst Singaporean youths, many of whom were very young or not yet born when Mr Lee stepped down from the Cabinet.”

In responding to prominent journalist Bertha Henson’s sharing of the news article asking “I wonder what LKY would make of all this…”, Mr Lee Hsien Yang, the younger son of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister, said: “Mr sister Ling never minces her words” and linked his sister Lee Wei Ling’s post (made in 2016) to his comment.

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In her 2016 post, Ms Lee said her dad “would have cringed at the hero worship”. In the post, she said Singaporeans must prepare for life after Lee Kuan Yew.

In the post, she also recounted her first visit to China with the late Lee in 1976. During that visit, her delegation was greeted by young children chanting, “Welcome, Welcome, a Very Warm Welcome”.

The late Mr Lee was unimpressed and felt the ceremony to be very contrived, noting that Singaporeans are “not prone to excessive, unnatural displays of emotion”. In responding to another event commemorating the memory of Mr Lee one year after his death, Ms Lee asked: “how the time, effort and resources used to prepare these would benefit Singapore and Singaporeans”.

She pointed out that the late Mr Lee was dead set against a personality cult and any hint of cronyism; and that any veneration could have the opposite effect and lead future generations of Singaporeans to think that her father’s actions were motivated by his desire for fame or creation of a dynasty.

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“He strove hard and determinedly in life to advance Singapore, and not for his place in history, or leaving a great legacy,” she said.

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