Tuesday, March 24, 2015

On the passing of a legend (Mr Lee Kuan Yew)

My facebook feed has been flooded with status updates, profile photo changes, and various shares and comments following the death of Lee Kuan Yew on 23 March 2015. As I was reflecting on some of this bombardment on Monday night, the first two lines of this poem formed in my mind. I then decided to try to build upon it, and what follows is a rough draft (which, in all reality, will likely never be worked on again) of some thoughts on the passing of a legend.
A nation mourns, a people cry
The death of mister LKY
I knew not he whom people grieve
Just that in him they did believe
Right man, right time; met SG's needs
#NoYewNoUs, their hashtag reads
By world's standards he's done a lot
His deeds and words won't be forgot
His legacy: this li'l red dot
Up in the world it quickly shot
I wonder what the future brings
A new world now, who'll be its kings?
Like all who live, his journey ends
His resting place, on God depends.
I was a bit hesitant about sharing it, given it was composed in all of about 15 minutes, and some of it felt a little bit forced. Plus, I'm hardly an authority on the man's life and history, so part of me was wary of coming across as ignorant / too simplistic. But hey, it's a poem, and there's poetic licence, and actually I think there's sufficient ambiguity in what I've written that it's not so easy to immediately pigeon-hole me into a particular camp when it comes to the spectrum of feeling about LKY. I will say this though, (and it's perhaps a bit of a random analogy, but I've been watching The Walking Dead, and there's some parallelism in the thought that) you don't get to lead (and keep leading with majority support) in difficult times without ruffling some feathers, getting some people off side, and making enemies. Of course dictators and despots could also fit this description, so I'll just leave that thought hang (and no I'm not saying that's what he was)...

Anyways, I posted it on facebook, and so far have gotten a number of likes, including from various Singaporeans in my network. I'll take that as some validation that the poem is not rubbish :p