Thank you, Mr Lee Kuan Yew

Where do I begin? Since the end of World War 2, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew has played a central role in shaping Singapore into the crown jewel of Southeast Asia.

Many of us are well aware of his lifelong efforts to create the modern Singapore we know today. We know about the difficulties he and his party faced in fighting to be heard in the early years of Malaysia. We saw the man shed tears at the separation of Singapore from Malaysia in an emotional telecast. After the separation, no one expected Singapore to survive. Without a proper army to protect herself, without basic necessities like water and agriculture, and with an uncertain economy, Singapore was facing a highly uncertain future. Mr. Lee tackled each challenge with remarkable leadership and pragmatism that amazed everyone.

In the investment world, Berkshire Hathaway’s Vice-Chairman, Charlie Munger, had once praised Mr. Lee for his practical approach in solving the malaria problem in Singapore. According to Mr. Munger, he considered the life work of Mr. Lee as “one of the most interesting and instructive political story written in the history of mankind”

Although what Mr. Lee has done for Singapore and the society is immense, I personally feel that his greatest achievement isn’t the role he played in the economy or the landscape of Singapore, but rather what he has inspired in the minds of everyone. He showed all of us that we do not need to be stuck as a developing nation. He showed us that if we put our hearts and minds to it, we can achieve and surpass what any country is able to do. Most important, he made us feel worthy – worthy of success, worthy of development, worthy of wanting a better future. He inspires not just Singapore alone, but many all over the world.

His presence will be missed. Here’s to the founding father of modern Singapore.