I am a self-declared non-politician. I don’t follow the debates not because i don’t care, but you don’t usually get a constructive one that reaches a good conclusion, that help improve the lives of people. Often it’s a power play that ends up only in the arena of the ‘leaders’.

And perhaps, it is also because i have been spoiled.

With a founding father as Mr Lee Kuan Yew, fighting for the nation with his life, fending every challenge, upkeeping quality and equality, … perhaps we all have been spoiled.

As with all earthly fathers, they are human, imperfect and capable of error. And a good father who’s courageous and truly honest would not be afraid to apologise. Our late PM Lee didn’t flinch to apologise for his mistakes, and also made it clear that he stood by his policy, but not the method/s of implementation.

Born in the late 70s, I witnessed a part of Singapore’s growth and change. It’s early transitional phases before it became the ‘metropolis’ (as Charmaine Chew mentioned in her eulogy today). I heard grandpa, dad and mom talk about how the Japanese wars were, and how living conditions used to be in our rented HUDC flat in Marine Parade. I saw how it change, and almost like in a blink of an eye, it sprouted high-rise buildings, highways, lights and more.

In school, we studied about racial riots, crime, and squatter settlements in the early 50s-60s. I remember seeing locally-made drama with actors such as Huang Wen Yong and Xiang Yun recreating these scenes in early Singapore.

I remember being thankful, but also afraid of the volatile fragile state of this tiny island state.

Then i studied about the Separation. As a child, i remember thinking, what makes a man drop tears so uncontrollably? Fear, for his nation and its people. I remember thinking, i don’t know you, but your spirit moves me. I remember crying after watching that video.

I never forgot you Mr Lee. But i just grew up.

I took you for granted. Like all children who have comfortable lives, they seek freedom, and change, and challenge. A change of environment and adventure. I thought you would always be around. And things would be forever preserved in a little globe. We would be safe.

Until 23/3/15 morning, when my husband took his bookkeeping exam, I heard news. And was shocked.

Denial, Sadness, now Regret. And the last stage of grieving has yet to come. Acceptance.

I think of you and i think of the faded Tanglin Halt hdb flats where i was left with my aunt who took care of me when my parents were at work, and my vision is a blur, and i’m a hopeless wreck.

Eulogy after eulogy, and i cried through every one of them.

I often share with close friends, it is likely you won’t find someone from school who remembers me, to connect with this Juliet Pang who is a public figure of some sort, a singer, a musician or a songwriter…popularity wasn’t ever something that I could manage or live with. It was easier being honest and be misunderstood than to live with the horrible feeling of being a popular non-existent someone without a soul. And yet i understand the pain of it, when you choose truth and sacrifice feelings/relationships at times.

And yet this man stood through every accusation of the nation, and continued to carry the burden of the land on his shoulders. “If you want to be popular all the time, you will misgovern”, Former Senior Minister of State Sidek Saniff quoted him whilst giving his eulogy today.

His utter abandonment into honesty and truth in government and in his life, inspires me. It takes courage and it often feels very lonely.


All these songs that I’ve written, came naturally in the language that the music brought them. And both languages were as instinctive as their melodies were written.

Perhaps it’s the being away that makes me better understand who I am, and what it means to be Singaporean. Perhaps it’s all the people who think i’m Chinese, or Taiwanese, or just couldn’t place it whenever i sang my songs or spoke fluently in both Mandarin and English, that made me understand how I am simply uniquely Singaporean.

But perhaps it took our founding father’s passing to shake us up to question, who we are and how we want to be as a nation.

I didn’t queue to pay my respects at the Parliament, but i chose my own way to pay my respects. And i mourned deeply in my own way. But today, waiting for the funeral cortege to pass us before heading to Mandai Columbarium, I felt overwhelmed to be a Singaporean. And my tears haven’t stopped.

It is gratitude, it is love, it is respect, it is family. It is an era that is waving goodbye.

I thought about sharing it on a regular Facebook page, but who would be interested in this? I didn’t write this for anyone to read, or criticise. I just really want to spend this private moment saying how he means to me and my country. With his passing, i feel like our story has just begun. And now the sequel, we will write together.

I want to move on as quickly as i say Majulah Singapura, but as in Ecclesiastes 3:4, “a time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

So Water Blue, you may enter and dance.

I pray the generation that never had a chance to know him, will someday see Singapore and know that this Is his living monument. And his legacy is nurtured in us.

It always seems to take loss to remind us to appreciate. We will continue to live in your spirit of moving forward as one people. And whilst the nation will be led differently in a different generation, it will be built upon your sweat, blood and tears.

God Bless Singapore. I will always think of you Mr Lee. 永远打从心里头的深深感激您。

Thank you and bless you and your family.

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