Over the years, I may not have agreed with everything MM Lee Kuan Yew said or did. But one thing I will say. He did far more for Singapore than I ever did. I was born during the racial riots; he lived through it.

He was forced out of a federation he believed in. When he made the resolution that, “Singapore will survive”, I wonder if he believed it. One thing I have no doubt. He was going to die trying.

He succeeded.

Recently, I have been commissioned as a team to write the text on a personal hobby of one of our founding fathers of Singapore, S Rajaratnam. As part of this process, I have become reacquainted with the heritage of the island, particularly from 1880s to 1960’s. It is remarkable what we have achieved. It has given me a new appreciation for what these men and the early citizens of the sovereign republic achieved.

And it’s not only LKY. It’s men like S Rajaratnam who legitimized this tiny island on the world stages as our first foreign minister. An ideas man, a brilliant mind with an unfailing spirit. Men like these, including Goh Keng Swee, Toh Chin Chye, need to be acknowledged.

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