50 years is too short for Singapore, and they show no sign of backwards since its expulsion from Malaysia in 1965. Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy proved that all his sweat-dropping hard work was an honourable success but unfortunately he died several months short to see his legacy triumph in its golden jubilee.
Singapore has always been a strategic trading location at the end of the Malaccan strait, a strait that connects the international trading routes. Singapore grew exponentially during the administration of the English East India Company. When Singapore was expelled, history repeats itself but this time administered by its own people.
50 years is, of course, short. But to develop dramatically in that amount of time, from hardly anything after the expulsion, is also short. Singapore had no natural resources, no industrial infrastructure and no true common language amongst the multiracial people in the country at the beginning. Despite those and critics of the island and unsustainable investment rates, leaders of Singapore, however, was able to blow the world’s mind by outperforming. What we can learn from them is scarification, nationalism without caring of race, and peace. Lee sacrificed his desire to flourish with Malaysia due to the racial tension between Malays and Chinese that costed the split. Lee’s nationalism was the key for Singapore’s success- its the desire that grows the fire. Peace- Lee had care less for races and religion. He believes Singapore is for everyone.
Despite the boastable and sky-high advancement, the humble state still hasn’t forgotten their roots- a very appreciated quality by me personally. Original culture is still staying in Singapore like the national anthem and coat of arms are in Malay, although their first language is English and Lee himself is Chinese. Like a Malay saying ”di mana bumi dipijak, di situ langit dijunjung” (where the earth is set foot, there is where the skies are upheld). Singapore was a part of Malaya.
During Lee’s funeral on 29 March 2015, I praised heartfelt respect to Lee Hsien Loong, Lee Kuan Yew’s son, as he spoke Malay very eloquently at the end of his speech. He spoke Chinese and English too afterwards. His whole speech changed my cynical view of Singapore. Singapore is not that bad as I thought.
In Lee Hsien Loong’s speech during the funeral, he said ”He [Lee Kuan Yew] checked would-be racial chauvinists, and assured the minorities that their place here was secure. He insisted on keeping our mother tongues, even as English became our common working language. He encouraged each group to maintain its culture, faith and language, while gradually enlarging the common space shared by all. Together with Mr S Rajaratnam, he enshrined these ideals in the National Pledge.”
May Singapore continue to thrive and triumph. Majulah Singapura.