Lee Kuan Yew – The Devoted Husband

At the special session where Members of Parliament paid tribute to Founding Prime Minister of Singapore Mr Lee Kuan Yew, a bouquet of white flowers occupied his empty chair. Image: Ministry of Communications and Information

On March 26, 11 of Singapore’s members of Parliament paid heartfelt tributes to Founding Prime Minister of Singapore Mr Lee Kuan, who passed away this week at the age of 91.

A bouquet of white flowers was placed poignantly on Mr Lee’s empty seat at the House of Parliament, with the attending members of parliament dressed in black and white to mourn the late Singapore leader. A minute of silence was observed after the eulogies were read by the members of Parliament.

One of such notable, emotional speeches was made by Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence and Leader of the House of Parliament.

Dr Ng spoke movingly about Mr Lee as a husband, who would routinely call and speak to his sick wife nightly, even while he was away on an official trip in Malaysia.

He also shared how Mr Lee had kept his word of celebrating his 90th birthday at the Parliament, even while being ill and frail and against his doctor’s advice.

Here, we share an excerpt of Dr Ng Eng Hen’s speech, in tribute to the Founding Prime Minister of Singapore.

Dr Ng Eng Hen:

“Indeed, Mr Lee has had such a monumental impact on all Singaporeans that each would have his or her own special memory of him.

For myself, two personal encounters have left lasting impressions.

In 2009, Mr Lee led a delegation on an official trip to many states of Malaysia. DPM Tharman and I were part of it. The delegation was having dinner together, when Mr Lee asked to excuse himself so that he could speak on the phone to Mrs Lee.

Due to previous strokes, Mrs Lee could not speak but remained conscious and aware. Mr Lee had made it a routine to speak and read to her each night. He did not want to break this routine, even though he was in Malaysia on a long trip.

He asked the nurse to put the phone to Mrs Lee and spoke to her. He did this every night while we were in Malaysia.

We stood aside to respect their privacy, but that image of Mr Lee, hunched over the phone speaking to Mrs Lee who could not speak back, will stay with me for a very long time as a simple but pure picture of true devotion.

Mrs Lee passed away in 2010 and the impact on him was visible physically. Many people noticed this.

Mr Lee had indeed become frail as he approached his 90th birthday in 2013. He had problems in swallowing and food would go down the wrong way into his windpipe, infecting his lungs repeatedly. As eating could cause aspiration pneumonia, he needed intravenous nutrition as supplement but became progressively thinner.

Parliament was sitting on Sept 16th, his birthday and we wanted to acknowledge his 90th birthday. I called on Mr Lee at the Istana and told him about our plans. He said he would be in Parliament that day on Sept 16th.

Unfortunately, when that day came, a dehydrated and weakened Mr Lee had to go to hospital and be put on a drip. His doctors advised him not to attend Parliament. We were informed and called off our plans.

But just before Parliament adjourned, we were surprised when Mr Lee entered this Chamber. I found out later that he overruled his doctors, saying that he must attend Parliament because he had given his commitment.

He wanted to walk but thankfully his doctors persuaded him that it would be acceptable for a 90 year old on intravenous nutrition to be wheeled into the chamber. That September 16th, this House had the last privilege to wish him happy birthday together.

After Parliament adjourned, he stayed on as we cut his birthday cake and sang him a birthday song. At age 90, frail and dehydrated, Mr Lee kept his word to be here.

Great strength of character, determination and integrity. Lee Kuan Yew had all of these qualities and more. He kept his promises. What he said he would do, he would and more – whether it was for individuals or an entire nation.

There will not be another Lee Kuan Yew who made us better than we are or could be. Mr Lee Kuan Yew founded, moved and lifted a nation. Because of his unwavering devotion and a life poured out for Singapore, he has made all our lives better and for many generations to come. Few mortals have accomplished so much in their lifetime.

We in this House are honoured to have lived and served with him. His legacy will live on through us and through this nation.”

Source: www.herworldplus.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *