01 March 2006

Just A Little Bit Naive, Wouldn't You Say?

March 1, 2006
Honour founding fathers while they are alive

HONOUR Singapore's founding fathers while they are still alive, said Ms Irene Ng (Tampines GRC) yesterday.

Tap a palpable desire among Singaporeans to do so, and have a committee involving them on how to remember these men who sacrificed so much for the country, she suggested.

Many Singaporeans mourned the passing of Mr S. Rajaratnam, Singapore's first foreign minister and former deputy prime minister, who died last Wednesday of heart failure at the age of 90.

'But why is it that we praise and recognise leaders only after they pass on?' she asked.

Mr Wang will tell you why, Irene. It's because while a founding father is still alive, you can never be 100% sure that he won't suddenly change his mind and start publicly expressing views contrary to what the Ruling Powers would like to hear. Remember ex-President Devan Nair?

"Dark side, bright side, ahhh, all nonsense.
All politicians are sneaky bastards."

17 comments:

Elia Diodati said...

I think there is also a basic, less cynical issue here. It's simply one of human nature, that humans tend to take what they have for granted, until it's taken away from it.

Dr Oz bloke said...

In the favourite words of our leaders....


LET'S MOVE ON!


(That about says enough about honoring pasts don't you think?"

Tammy Ho - Chink in Dark Sins' Shin Armour said...

Of course, an exception can and has been made - the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

biased observer said...

That's not an exception. That's a rule.

Mr Wang Says So said...

If I were famous & dead, I'd prefer to be remembered as a public holiday. Everyone likes a public holiday.

Heh. "Good Karma Day". Wouldn't that be nice.

Marc said...

'But why is it that we praise and recognise leaders only after they pass on?' she asked.

What? The multi-million dollar salary not good enough? Maybe we should all prostrate ourselves everytime we see their limousines pass by.

Since our leaders are in it solely for the money, they should forget about praise and accolades.

chrischoo said...

That's not a very fair statement. Top government officials did not earn very high salaries when Singapore first became independent.

tsw said...

somehow i think the purpose of doing that is missing the point...

all that praise and stuff is to keep the memories of them alive (amongst the living) while they are dead.

i don't think they need to be reminded of what they have accomplished in that sort of way. they know what they have done, don't they?

Mr Wang Says So said...

Basically Singapore is not very good at preserving history.

We change too fast; we tear old buildings and places down; History is regarded as less-important than Science or Maths or English or Chinese in school etc etc.

Rajaratnam IS in our history books. It's just that Singaporeans don't like history books.

Blank Doll said...

I as a proud member of Singapore and also of our youth, am personally grateful to our founding fathers. This applies especially to Mr. Lee Kuan Yew whom I thoroughly respect and I think it dangerous when the youths of Singapore cease to see them for their contributions or worse, think that they can do better when they have seen nothing of the struggles of our past.

Blank Doll said...

And from the views of a 17 year old, History isn't so much in the remembrance of past events and characters so much as extracting the essence of the past and so conferring that to a present generation so as to found the basis of their identity. Who cares about History books if we can all still feel tears coming to our eyes at the thought of the failure of Merger?

Anonymous said...

were those tears for real?

goddaughter said...

I think we should always pay a bit of lip service upon the passing on of anyone. It makes their family feel better and it gives anyone who craves that sorta posthumous raving, standards to aspire to. It also gives the papers something to write, rather than harp on the same old things 24/7. And I live overseas, and the obits are not published online, it's useful to know who passed on, sekali faux pas when I go back to Singapore

crumbs crumby said...

Ah ha...another one....Ong Teng Cheong

Blank Doll said...

Sorrow felt for the despair our leaders must have felt then, not sorrow for missing the opportunity to join Malaysia.
In our school, we are taught that the Straits Times are pathetic. How nice is that?

Molly Meek said...

Erm, but how many founding fathers are there left? Sure we need to be afraid of them suddenly going against gahmen? I mean, erm, LKY going against gahmen? That sounds fun.

Gilbert Koh said...

Problem is that once you accord anyone a certain level of prestige and status, they become all the more damaging to you when they suddenly express contrary views.

The other strategy, of course, is to make them ambassadors and send them away to distant countries. :D

Tommy Koh, Chan Heng Chee, Walter Woon .... all a little outspoken at times in their own day.