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 12 SEPT 2023  |  ISSUE 470

Dear Members and Friends

This Saturday we will commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. Not only was he our Founding Prime Minister. He was also the lead visionary of what Singapore could be and has largely become. He devoted his entire life to creating and sustaining an economically successful, multicultural society in which everyone had the opportunity to succeed. He devoted his entire life to Singapore and to making it a better place for Singaporeans. He did all this with modesty, eschewing a personality cult which is so often the result of selfish leadership. Mr. Lee was selfless.

The pilot exhibition of the Founders’ Memorial is entitled Semangat Yang Baru (SYB). The words are taken from our National Anthem and mean “forging a new spirit.” Mr. Lee, his extraordinary team and every member of the exceptional Pioneer Generation worked like Trojans to achieve a new spirit for themselves and to lay a firm foundation for us. Arguably, Mr. Lee’s greatest achievement was to create and bolster institutions designed to survive him and to allow us to build on the firm foundation he, his team and the Pioneer Generation built.

The SYB exhibition frames the establishment of our republic in terms of values. The value of self-determination as a reaction to the horrors of the Second World War. The values of equality and justice for women and men of all races as a rejection of the inequalities caused by male chauvinism and colonialism. The value of multiculturalism as the only basis on which to build a fair, multiracial society. The values of integrity and clean government as a response to what had gone before. All of these values and the young republic needed to be defended then, and now, with courage and determination. Economic success was, and still is, vital to providing our quality of life and enabling Singapore to be taken seriously – to punch above its weight. The prerequisites of economic success remain the values of openness to global investment and talent enabled by connectivity with the world.

We will never forget Mr. Lee and the values he personified. He, his team and the Pioneer Generation will always inspire us. The best way we can remember them is by living those same values to protect and serve Singapore and each other.

Yours faithfully
Victor Mills
Chief Executive

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