Remembering Mr Lee Kuan Yew

To begin with, I was not born in the era where Singapore was at crossroads, struggling to find its identity. Given the success Singapore was enjoying in the 90s, I admit that I am one of those who take things for granted-complaining about the frequent public transport breakdown, for one.

In that light, I can’t possibly imagine how Singapore was like when it started its tumultuous journey from 3rd world to 1st.  And I can’t imagine all the difficulties faced by the Singapore government led by Lee Kuan Yew at that period of time, especially when Singapore was separated from Malaysia which marked the beginnings of uncertainty.

While I know people may not necessarily agree with his policies (and deriving all sorts of conspiracy theories), he is still undeniably, the main architect of Singapore. There is no perfect politician in the world, but people like Lee strive to create the perfect Singapore for the people and for the future.

“50 years ago he wept for the nation, 50 years later the nation weeps for him”

Even though you have left us, your spirit and legacy remains. Thank you for building Singapore.

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P.S To those people who are wondering if there is a public holiday, no there isn’t. But you can go ahead and self-declare if you wish. No one is stopping you and your selfishness (unless you are going to spend the entire day at the memorial service). Tsk.

P.P.S And to the owner of this page calling for a Tanjong Pagar GRC by-election: No, we don’t need a by-election. We have faith in our MPs who have been doing their job well. There is no need for people like you to decide the fate of our GRC. Who are you to make such comments anyway?

-Sincerely, a Tanjong Pagar GRC resident.

Update 1/4/15 It has been a week plus since his passing, but life goes on as usual. Paid last respects at the Parliament House last Saturday and queued for 4.5 hours. Apparently waiting times were as long as 12 hours on weekdays (especially Friday night I think). Really grateful for all the volunteers’ efforts, their encouragements and initiatives. Within a few metres along the queue there will be a volunteer/army personnel positioned there, distributing food and drinks or collecting litter, as well as dishing out kind reminders to stay hydrated. To fight the heat, volunteers even sprayed water, fanned the public with gigantic cardboards and giving out wet tissue. The army personnel in charge of crowd control tried to space us out in sections especially when we approached areas with poor ventilation like under the bridge, and gave us estimations of the waiting time to prepare us mentally.

Even though the crowd was way more intense than the rush/peak hour MRT, no one complained. Sacrificing a few hours of our time is the only thing we can do to express our gratitude for someone who devoted his life to building Singapore.

Photos~ This was under the floating platform. Waiting time was longest here, so the army staff encouraged us to have a seat.
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Along the Singapore river.
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This was taken while being separated into sections under the bridge. Apparently the crowd was too packed for the last few days and there were cases of fainting.
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Nearing the security checkpoint. This is where we are distributed with cards to write our messages.
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The long awaited destination. This was still quite a long way off actually. The SG flag is at half mast but it wasn’t shown clearly as the wind wasn’t blowing when I took the photo.
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No photos allowed inside Parliament House. We took a bow and bid farewell before leaving.

On Sunday the sky cried with us-there was a really heavy downpour during the funeral procession. Emotions reached a new high as people lined the streets along the route, waving the Singapore flag and shouting Mr Lee’s name as the cortege passed by. It was only when the cortege reached NUS that it stopped raining. Even at his private ceremony, there was still a considerable crowd waiting.

To sum up the last day of the public mourning week, let me borrow my friend’s Facebook status:
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My Virgin Pulau Ubin Experience

Made my first Pulau Ubin trip of my life today. If not for our project, I have no incentive to go there. Since I probably wont be going there unless I have no choice, let me document my experience here!

Transport is slightly more troublesome since it is an island. From Tanah Merah MRT, take bus number 2 for god-knows-how-many stops to Changi bus terminal, and then proceed to the ferry terminal to take a ferry. 1 trip costs $2.50, and since you obviously have to go back to “mainland” (unless you stay there or something), you have to pay another $2.50 for the return trip as well. The ferry will only depart when there are 12 passengers on board to maximise capacity. No need for sea sickness pill because the waters are nothing as compared to some other seas and the trip only takes about 10 minutes.

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Bye Singapore! Oh wait Pulau Ubin is part of Singapore!

It depends where you want to head to upon reaching.The eateries and a nearby temple are concentrated with the bicycle rental shops located near the entrance so they are within walking distance. As our place identified for the project is the “unknown side of Pulau Ubin” (Shh I wont reveal what project topic and the module in case there are thieves around), we had to rent bicycles. According to the rental shop owner, it will take about 1 hour by foot it we were to walk there.

If you are a first timer intending to venture out to secluded areas of the island, it is advisable to ask the local inhabitants for directions unless your mate has very good instinct. I mean, the locals there are frequently interrogated with questions related to directions and all. Anyway bicycle rental is $8 for the whole day for the shop we approached. Didnt go around other shops enquiring for rates because we were more concerned with the distance above everything else.

I havent rode a bike for years so I wasnt mentally prepared having to cycle again searching for an obscure place. Couldnt get used initially especially with all the bumps in the road and many other cyclists in the way, but riding was easier after getting the momentum. Which is why cycling is a life skill because it is not easily forgotten once you learn it.

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Okay I confess I was freaked out by the downhill slopes and I iron-gripped the handles the whole time. Dared not to look at the ground either. It is even scarier when a random van/police car appears in front of you travelling in the opposite direction. Better pray damn hard that something bad doesnt happen.

The site wasnt very obvious to public eye and it is very easy to miss. It wasnt reflected on official signboards as well. We ended up in the middle of nowhere. Literally. Even tourists asked us for cycling directions when we dont even know where we are! This area supposedly belongs to the biking park but the trail wasnt very well demarcated at the gravel lanes.

Anyway I am starting to wonder if the gravel paths were part of the obstacle course or something. Oh there were uphills and downhills in this section too. Never biked so hard in my life before.

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We made it to the area after retracing where we came from, which luckily we did instead of venturing further into the gravel paths. Okay we couldnt comprehend the map given to us by the bicycle rental owner as well so we partly trusted our instinct.

Stopped for coconut at someone’s home on the way back. Yes, someone’s house! It is a rare sight to see houses while cycling. An elderly couple live there and opened up their living room for customers to rest and drink while they carried on with their chores.If you want to know some personal stories, they are also the best people to ask as well.

Their house has this mural ourside with the words “Oh Yeh Oh Yeh Oh Yeh Hey!” (Yeh is the phonetic of 椰/coconut) and this painting of a glass of drink with Kelapa written next to it. Quite amusing. Anyway, 1 coconut cost $4.

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Our bicycles parked at the parking lot. I didnt attach any photo here, but island dogs are aplenty here. There are already 2 of them hanging outside the house and 1 dog will randomly appear on the track at various points.  They are big but nope they arent fierce. Dogs arent fierce creatures to start with anyway. Oh and there are also monkeys to see if you are lucky.

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German girl shrine, but with a local name. According to the uncle many people pray to her for all sorts of things from 4D to wanting a baby. There are even overseas devotees who come here specially for requests.

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On the way back. The return journey took much shorter because we were all familiar with the path. Shorter is also good because we were all tired anyway.

Last photo destination. Where else can you get to see quarries?

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Yeah that sums up our trip. While typing this I am still surprised with how I managed to conquer that crazy bicycle course given the pathetic amount of times I go cycling. Give us an A for effort even if we screwed up the project please!

Tomorrow is week 7 of the semester

What on earth?

What on earth have I been doing throughout recess week?

Okay I managed to clear my 4 week backlog in a week because I was previously bogged by that torturous assignment. And this includes readings and compiling revision notes.

How on earth did I even do it?

Anyway I neglected my other assignments in the process so it is time to create another backlog while I settle on many other piles of shit.

Breathe easy breathe easy!

Other than that…

I don’t understand why I have been burning quite a bulk of my free time dancing. Part of me wishes that I shouldn’t be so enthusiastic because I won’t become a professional nor end up teaching. While another part of me… I can’t find the exact words to script my thoughts. It’s something along the lines of escaping reality and the enjoyment of doing some collective activity with other people LOL.

Went for 2 open classes on top of the usual 4 lessons per week. As of now my right knee is already giving way (because of the dearth of exercising during chinese new year and the sudden increment of dancing) and I have no idea how this bruise formed on my left knee. Ask me to do some more physical activity and I will kill you.

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On a side note during my 1st class after CNY, I could feel my left ankle straining at the start of barre work. Scary much I thought it was going to snap. But afterwards it was okay.

Grade 7 exam on 7 Apr, which happens to clash with a test. Why am I so freaking lucky. It’s a long overdue exam after a lot of delay between the previous grade and now. Can’t wait but not looking forward to the slippery floor.

Okay that’s enough about dance. I don’t want to flood my blog with it and bore non-dancers out. Maybe I should just be like everyone else who will go pigging out in a hipster cafe every weekend morning, take photos of every nook and cranny of the cafe (and obviously the food) and write a review about it yeah? But sorry I can’t because I have dance! #circularargument

That’s all for the update. To a new 2nd half of the semester ahead! (Feeling apprehensive about assignments but ah well)