Gift #2: Great men become such through visions beyond material calculation

Photo by L

Photo by L

 

Tribute to LKY

(Sent by AL)

They saw a third-rate Asian backwater; he saw a first-class front to the world’s waterways.

They saw the remains of a former British colony; he saw the foundations of a British heritage.

They saw an island cut off from a hinterland; he saw an island connected to the world.

They saw us bereft of resources; he saw the most renewable of resources – people.

They saw attracting multinationals as losing national sovereignty; he saw attracting them as leveraging global advantage.

They saw ethnic diversity in terms of fault lines; he saw ethnic diversity also as lifelines.

They saw a nation under one communal group; he saw a community under one nation.

They saw nationalism as a means to nationhood; he saw nationalism as a product of nationhood.

They saw authoritarianism cowing people into submission; he saw authoritative leadership coalescing them into a people.

They saw freedom of speech as an individual right; he saw freedom of speech as a community responsibility.

They saw democracy as a tool of the people’s wants; he saw democracy as a servant of the people’s needs.

They saw exploiting people for personal gain; he saw equipping people for national gain.

They saw education as a means to an end; he saw education as a door to the world.

They saw language as a means of preserving cultural roots; he saw language as a means of growing global branches.

They saw a petty chewing-gum banning, paternalistic autocrat.

We saw a father of a nation, who gave all to a lifetime of excellent public service, who tolerated no nonsense, and who expected us to take up the same wholehearted devotion for the good of Singapore.

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