LKY-adulation draws criticism

Critics observe, that a year after his passing, the veneration of Singaporeans for their country’s founding premier Lee Kuan Yew seems to – if anything – have increased.

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The past month has seen a wide range of projects by officials and spontaneous citizen initiatives springing up to honour his legacy.

History has shown us that post-colonial leaders and founders who were larger-than-life figures often developed personality cults if they lasted long in office. And PM Lee Hsien Loong himself warned all about being “very careful not to allow a personality cult to grow around him (the memory of Lee Kuan Yew)”

This Critic thinks:

The veneration of Lee Kuan Yew helps no one

“what does it mean for society when we’re all so caught up in the veneration of Lee Kuan Yew? How can we scrutinise our history when our vision is eclipsed by one man and his narrative?”

When Lee first died I wrote a personal reflection that was published in the Guardian. It was a piece that sparked anger and I was accused of being a traitor. My crime? For daring to suggest that Singapore might have done all right without Lee Kuan Yew. For having the cheek to imagine a Singapore that wasn’t tied to one man. Doubt was disrespect, questioning was ingratitude — in the eyes of some Singaporeans, there are no other paths apart from the one Lee chose for us, and any suggestion otherwise was unpatriotic.

some say “book display”, some say “shrine”
This Writer thinks:

“Such a line of thinking shuts down discussion that our country so desperately needs. It stops us from seeking a fuller understanding of where Singapore has come from, and from building up new possibilities based on inclusivity and open discourse.”

There are new books,documentary screenings, tours… even a flag eraser portrait, the local press even reported children paying tribute to Lee not as a man, but as a superhero:

From ‘Remembering Mr Lee and his values’, published in The Straits Times on 19 March 2016.

This Article thinks:

… he’s still a man. Elevating him to a sacred position beyond reproach or criticism would do more harm than good to Singaporean society in the long run, and that’s even before mentioning that the man himself would have hated being turned into an icon for worship.
We don’t need more books about how much ice cream he ate, nor do we really need tours to gape at the sort of food he liked and where he ate them. Our children don’t need picture books portraying him as the sole architect of every bit of Singapore’s success, and we certainly don’t need more posters and memorials to remind ourselves not to forget him.

What we need is to be able to think critically and maturely, to remember him in the proper context, to restore to their rightful places other individuals who have made an impact on our history and society, and to strive to see both Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore as they really are.

This Article reports:
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In Lee’s former constituency of Tanjong Pagar… People have been holding up pictures of the late leader as they visit the blooms – a specimen of Aranda Lee Kuan Yew – an orchid species named after the late leader… Citizen’s initiatives included a silent candlelight rally, a guided tour of his favourite haunts in Singapore and a bound collection of oil paintings depicting Lee.
This Twitter Account (which looks like it was set up for the purest of intentions) has drawn abuse by internet trolls:
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 This Tweet that’s asking for other people to be remembered:
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 This Writer who is worried about his Books and their Genre-change:
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And of course… not forgetting… #EverythingosoPAPfault
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Then there’s this seemingly helpful (and also a little disrespectful) plugin called Forget Ah Kong:
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Cut each other, and every one some slack, and a slice of rainbow cake we say… 
We are kinda new to this sort of grieving. A Death has occured, and not just any death, it’s the death of a man that was a revolutionary statesman, a revered grandpa, and a doting husband all at once. What we do know, is that the wound of grief never fully heals; the scar may fade, but it will always be there with us.  You never get over grief but you do learn to live with it. And just as it takes the experience of death to know of grief, it also takes the experience of recovery to know that all of us will eventually recover.
“time will heal” as they say… and it’s only been a year…
Gotta wonder what #RememberingLKY #TwoYearsOn will bring, eh? 

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The Editor

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