Musing Over a Passing


Spent, after being a wife, a lover and a daughter.


A husband’s grief, a son’s yearning, a grandchild’s adoration and the surprising public worship and idolization that exceeded all expectations, we all saw that – and the human, soft side of Lee Kuan Yew – in the past few days when Mrs Lee passed away.

If there’s something to galvanize a nation, that was it.

Pardon my cynical tone. But I’m an old fart, and a skeptic at heart. I’ve seen it all.

However the Lee family did right in refusing pages after pages of silly newspaper ads offering condolences. Nice to see The Straits Times’ advertising department smarting from that one. Lots of lost revenue there. Yes, I’m gloating.

As to be expected, mindless and hyperbolic platitudes proliferated but lots of praises heaped upon the late Kwa Geok Choo were said in sincerity, although online there were some rather rude and nasty comments by all kinds of brainless retards. Uncalled for, really. Why speak ill of the dead?

As to praises, what more can I say? What can I contribute? I will only add to the chatter, the sound and fury. But to be fair, Kwa played a pivotal role in Lee Kuan Yew’s life and in being his “tower of strength” she indirectly molded the rest of us into what and who we have become.

But she was neither Lady Macbeth nor éminence grise, at least I don’t think so. Not in the way some have insinuated.

What she was, was the dutiful Asian wife, always a couple of steps behind her husband. And she not only managed their household and raised their kids, she even helped him with his work, while maintaining a professional life of her own.

But isn’t that expected of wives? Sure, some do it better than others. I wonder how various women perform under different circumstances.  Do English-speaking, bright women from privileged, educated backgrounds differ from the illiterate ones who wallow in the slums? Does it take formal education to make women good wives?

It’s not easy being a wife. Boy, am I glad I am not a woman. What’s worse, we don’t appreciate the women in our lives enough. When I was young, I was told to look for a woman to marry who’s a wife, a lover, and a bit of a daughter all at the same time.

That’s a tall order, and being the wife of a living god must surely make that a lot more tougher in more ways than one.

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