While the debates of the political aspects of the Singapore’s founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, are heating up these few days in light of his passing on last Monday 23rd March 2015, there is another aspect of Mr Lee which has been placed under the recent spotlight and has been gaining the attention of many.
It is none other than the love story between Mr Lee and his wife, the late Mdm Kwa Geok Choo.
Both Mr and Mrs Lee met during their college years and Mrs Lee was more than willing to wait for Mr Lee’s return from his pursuit of legal studies. Fortunately for them, the brilliant Mrs Lee managed to clinch the Queen’s scholarship and joined Mr Lee at Cambridge eventually.
Throughout all these 63 years, Mrs Lee stood by him, regardless of the existence of crises they have encountered.
2. Providing utmost support
Despite the numerous crises, Mrs Lee stood by Mr Lee. In their earlier days and during the starting up of this nation-building, Mr. Lee was tasked to undertake the case of the Postal and Telecommunications Uniformed Staff Union. Mrs Lee was the one who drafted Mr Lee’s statements from home on her maternity leave, so they were clear and simple. It would not be a surprise if Mrs Lee had been the one drafting and vetting all documents on behalf of Mr Lee all these years. One apt example was when Mrs Lee helped to draft the Constitution of the PAP.
Vice versa, when Mrs Lee encountered health problems, no matter how busy he was, Mr Lee always ensure that he set aside private time to interact with Mrs Lee. She was left bedridden after her second stroke in 2008. After returning home from work, Mr. Lee would sit by her bed and spend two hours telling Mrs Lee about his day and read her favourite poems to her. This continued every night without fail. It was even noted that a tired Mr Lee once fell asleep while reciting poems, hit his face on a metal music stand and suffered abrasions. Despite this, he continued reading to Mrs Lee every night nevertheless.
In his memoirs, Mr Lee said “I wanted someone my equal, not someone who was not really grown up and needed looking after, and I was not likely to find another girl who was my equal and who shared my interests.”
Some women are known for their neediness which turns off many men.
But not Mrs Lee. She was an independent woman.
Financially, Mrs Lee who was one of Singapore’s top lawyers, was able to earn enough to free Mr Lee from worries about the future of our children. She was also the main caregiver of her children, while her husband buries his head and soul into his career and passion.
4. Make time for one another
As above, even when Mrs Lee was bedridden, that did not deter Mr Lee from bonding with her.
When they are both well and able-bodied, they made time for each other. They would walk around the Istana gardens in the evening and to lead a healthy lifestyle, they would swim regularly together.
5. Make each other your confidante/best friend/soul mate
They would often confide in each other and as the stress of a politician was inevitable, Mrs Lee would provide her listening ear to Mr Lee.
In Mr Lee’s words “She had an uncanny ability to read the character of a person. She would sometimes warn me to be careful of certain persons; often, she turned out to be right.”
Mrs Lee was more than a wife to him, she was his confidante and advisor.
With that, I am truly touched and inspired by their love story. They are definitely one of the role models for all couples out there.
To further add on, I present you a very useful and inspiring quote which I often remind myself with (especially in times of anger and bitterness):
“A relationship is like a house. When a light bulb burns out you do not go and buy a new house, you fix the light bulb.”
Sadly, such enduring love stories are hard to come by now as more and more couples are constantly on the look out to buying new houses than fixing the fused bulb.
Mr Lee’s huge contributions towards our nation-building have now evolved into a legacy, for his unrivalled inspiration will always be etched in our memories. You may have differing views and disagree on his political decisions and movements, but what you can never dispute is the equally inspiring breath-taking love story which would continue to touched the hearts of many.