Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Boy Named Harry

His story started back in 16 September 1923
He was called to be anything but ordinary.
Telok Kurau was his primary school,
Which he noticed his classmates to be poor and not so smart too.

He got into Raffles Institution through his own merit,
Amongst the best, he worked hard to prove he wasn’t a dimwit.
Getting scholarships was like his second nature,
He ended as top student in Singapore and Malaya.

His education got disrupted during the World War II,
For survival, he worked as a clerk, transcriber and even sold his own glue.
The Japanese however always thought he was a threat,
Fortunately, he managed to escape the Sook Ching massacre’s blood shed

After the Japanese said Sayonara,
He went to England and graduated with a rare Double Starred.
He saw how the British abandoned Singapore,
And decided to come back to lead Singapore in case of any war.

On 12 November 1954, he started the ‘socialist’ People’s Action Party
Together with pro-Communists, they wanted to end the British rule ultimately
He won the Tanjong Pagar seat in 1955,
But had to contend with rivals both in and out of PAP in order to survive.

He was our first prime minister on 3 June 1959
While his estranged members started Barisan Sosialis when they were sidelined
He believed in the merger with Malaysia,
And on 16 September 1963, we were united with Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya

The marriage was not one filled with happiness,
The Malaysian government thought a majority Chinese PAP was dangerous
Racial riots got worse in 1964
And on 7 August 1965, he agreed to Tunku’s decision to expel Singapore.

We were now alone, this little red dot.
A lack of natural resources and limited defense left him distraught
On national television, he held back his tears,
Only because he knew that won’t help alleviate our fears.

Unknown to many, he had neglected his health subsequently
He took on the burden to consider his actions and consequences carefully
More and more immigrants started to come in 1970s-1980s
Together with his team, he focused on multiculturalism and built an unique identity

Throughout his term, he made radical decisions
Some may not agree with them, but no one can doubt he had a vision.
With the housing shortage, Singapore was once known as ‘the world’s worst slums’,
Slowly he moved his people from squatters to what it has now become.

He believed that education could build a nation
And so, he introduced bilingualism policy as part of integration
Slowly from a survival driven system,
It evolved to one on abilities, one that was not without wisdom

He knew we wouldn’t be able to survive any war or fight,
And so started the Armed Forces and seek help from Israel to set it right.
He knew without water from our neighbors we would die,
Recycling our own water was one of the things he knew we had to try.

Even with the demise of the love of his life,
He never forgot his love for his second wife.
He held this baby close to his heart
He was committed to not see it fall apart

This morning, saw a demise of a great man
One which we cannot deny, for Singapore at least, it was a God-sent
Without tubes and needles, you have been set free,
So rest well now Harry, 
And thank you for being that special leader to me. 

Picture taken from FoundingFatherSingapore

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