Recently during a dialogue with residents of the Mayflower estate, a gentleman brought up their personal connection to Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
He said that Mr Lee had ordered the estate built for civil servants. Back then, Kebun Baru was literally “baru” (new)- an undeveloped town. When the civil servants moved in and found that it was hard to go to work by public transport, Mr Lee, ever the problem-solver, arranged a shuttle bus to take them to and from the city every morning and morning.
His account drew instant applause- a sign of how much the people of Kebun Baru feel connected to Mr Lee. Over the past few years serving in Kebun Baru, I realised that most of the residents, whether in public or private estates, have been here for decades. Over and over again, they told me how they bought their first homes thanks to Mr Lee’s policies, and have built a home here ever since. How Mr Lee saved their livelihoods when the British suddenly pulled out of Amoy Quee, Seletar and other army camps in the area. How they presented a book of birthday wishes to him in 1990.
I’m sure it’s not just the residents of Kebun Baru, but every Singaporean has his or her own memories of how Mr Lee’s policies transformed their lives. The success and comfort of my family and I were also the direct products of his successful, pragmatic public policies. Like millions of others, we owe much to him. On the first anniversary of Mr Lee’s passing, I would like to say simply- Mr Lee, we remember.