Singapore—For some, goodbyes may be bittersweet, but for Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, “Letting go is liberating.”
He wrote about the “lightness of feeling liberated” in a Facebook post on Tuesday (July 22), as he said he had cleared his office for the last time, hinting at the heavy burdens public servants must carry at times, particularly, perhaps, at the Ministry of Transport (MOT), which has had its share of problems over the years.
Mr Khaw, who turns 68 this December, has been in politics for 19 years and announced that he was retiring in June. He was a Member of Parliament from 2001 until this year and had served as Minister for Health from August 2004 to May 2011, and the Minister for National Development from May 2011 to September 2015. Most recently, he served as Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and the Minister for Transport from October 2015 until earlier this year. Notably, Mr Khaw was also the Chairman of the People’s Action Party (PAP) from 2011 to 2018.
Clearing Office, Feeling LiberatedOver 42 years, I have had to move office several times. Each move is awfully tiring….
He wrote that he has had to move offices a number of times in the past 42 years, thanking his assistant, Mdm Soh Wan Kuan, who has made it look “effortless” for 25 years. He posted two photos of Mdm Soh clearing out his office.
Mr Khaw seemed amazed at how many things he had in his office, despite it “being uncluttered, minimalist with strong zen flavour.”
But he acknowledged that the collection of gifts were from foreign dignitaries and well-wishers, which he assured that he paid for, under the regulations for civil servants. Mr Khaw also humorously mentioned that he found it would be rude to give away the gifts that had his name on them, “So they travelled with me, from office to office!”
And now, since he is retiring, he has chosen to give all the gifts away to his colleagues at the MOT, instead of bringing them home. “I sounded out my colleagues and was pleasantly surprised that they would not mind retaining the gifts as mementos of our times together in MOT. I deeply appreciate their sentiments.”
The Minister expressed how free and light he feels these days. “As I tie up the many loose ends in my final few days in MOT office, I have also been distributing the mementos. And wonders of wonders, I am experiencing the lightness of feeling liberated! I feel free!
Letting go is liberating: 放下自在”
Netizens thanked Mr Khaw for his years of service, affectionately referring to him as “Mr Fix-it.”
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