Sunday, March 29, 2015

The passing of an era...


The Passing of an Era | 29th March 2015. Today is the State Funeral. The Republic of Singapore Air Force Black Knights were planning to fly in a Missing Man Formation over City Hall and Supreme Court as Mr. Lee Kuan Yew's cortege goes past these historic grounds which has witnessed the announcement of the Japanese Surrender by Lord Mountbatten in 1945, the Merger in 1963 and countless National Day Parades since 1966.

 *29th March 2015 may be a rainy day and the RSAF had not been able to perform the aerial salute but the downpour has evoked memories of the 1968 National Day Parade for some and perhaps would be of equal significance for all who attended, watched and participated in today's State Funeral. I was seeking closure after the previous drawing until the RSAF approached me to do one more piece of work, seeing the historical significance in the subject and urged by a couple of friends, I reluctantly agreed.

 This is dedicated to Singapore and to the pioneers who helped build Singapore, many of whom have walked the grounds of the Padang or the City Hall like our ah kong and ah mas and our leaders including Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and Dr.Goh Keng Swee, both of whom have played a part in the establishment of the Singapore Air Defence Command (today's the RSAF) in the late 1960s - 1971.


A Legacy. A Post-LKY Era. As the State Funeral approaches, I think one of the images that would remain in my memory for a long time are the images of the Gun Carriage Funeral Procession from the intermittent CNA live stream on the morning of 25th March 2015


Lee Kuan Yew, at Commonwealth Close, Blk 85-86, HDB’s third estate in Queenstown known for its chap lak lao (16 floors) which outdone the colonial SIT’s 1956 Forfar House (14 floors) at Princess Estate. The HDB completed 1000 units of housing within 5 years. This was in May 1965. In the same year, Singapore separated from Malaysia on 9th August 1965. 

 However, Lee Kuan Yew and the pioneers like Lim Kim San, Goh Keng Swee and S.Rajaratnam, quickly regained composure and set out to work, together with our ah kongs, ah mas, papas and mamas to achieve what seemed impossible in 1965 and made Singapore what it is today. There were sacrifices and there were achievements, the Singapore story is no fairy tale but it is still no mean feat. 

I think one of the most inspiring moments was when Lee Kuan Yew addressed and reassured the nation on 9th August 1965. As the leader of a young and uncertain Singapore, he knew he had a duty and he had to be strong: “I would like finally, if I may, just to speak not to you but really to the people of Singapore. I have been so busy in the last few days, I haven't had the time to compose my thoughts in writing to tell you what it is all about and why what has happened has happened." “There is nothing to be worried about it. Many things will go on just as usual. But be firm, be calm." The illustration is based on a photograph taken by Larry Burrows (1926 - 1971), a photojournalist from Life Magazine.


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