By Not Known
The late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s passing was a great loss to our nation. Certainly his leadership was crucial politically, but personally I’m grateful that a lot of what he stood for resonated with Biblical values. Let me list a few:
1 DEFINING MOMENTS: During the Japanese occupation in 1942 he narrowly escaped being killed. Singapore’s separation from Malaysia in 1965 also galvanised the late Mr Lee to relentlessly pursue our nation’s survival without depending unduly on external aid. Such “life and death experiences” – not unlike conversion experiences – are critical moments when we see ourselves clearly and our calling in life is shaped.
2 TEAM: He gathered around himself a group of men committed to form a political party to fight for Singapore’s independence in the 1950’s, and so the People’s Action Party was born. Jesus gathered around himself core disciples who would influence others to join their cause, to build something new and radical. We too are to unite with fellow believers to build God’s Kingdom with commitment.
3 CARE FOR PEOPLE: From a speech in 1965 he said, “I have a responsibility for the survival of the two million people in Singapore… I am determined that they will survive.” He insisted on high standards of work excellence, and was relentless in fighting corruption. He stressed the importance of racial and religious harmony, as well as an equal society where no one would be favoured or discriminated against because of their race, language or religion. He felt a sense of duty and implemented policies which were for the good of all. There are memorable pictures of him sweeping the street, planting a tree each year, touring his constituency – a leader in touch with and serving his people.
All these virtues (excellence in work, justice, equality, harmony, etc) are found in the Bible. This sense of “pastoral” and exemplary leadership is what all church leaders should demonstrate. “The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve.” (Mk 10:45).
4 DEVOTED HUSBAND: Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen recounted how when Mr Lee was away from Singapore he phoned back every night to speak to his wife who at that time was in hospital and could not speak due to previous strokes. Mr Lee asked the nurse to place the phone next to his wife’s ear so he could speak to her. In Dr Ng’s words, “That image of Mr Lee hunched over the phone speaking to Mrs Lee who could not speak back will stay with me for a very long time as a simple but pure picture of true devotion.” “Husbands, love your wives..” (Eph 5:25).
5 NO COMPLACENCY/THE YOUNG/FUTURE: Mr Lee placed much emphasis on education, hard work and always upgrading to improve ourselves. Our spiritual journey also consists of “upgrading”, pressing on towards maturity and helping younger believers to grow. Paul urges us to “press on” (Phil 3:14) and in Col 1:28 to “present everyone mature in Christ” – causes for which he laboured and struggled with all his energy. We too should never be complacent but keep making disciples.
We thank God for the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s convictions and sacrifices which shaped our nation.