Friday, October 30, 2009

Lee Wei Ling's Half Glass in Washington DC

The article below is extracted from The Malaysian Insider [Link]

The glass is really half full — Lee Wei Ling

OCT 30 — This is the last week of October, well into autumn. As I do my step-aerobic exercises, looking out of my hotel window in Washington DC, I see a lone maple tree.

Half of its leaves have fallen. Of the remaining leaves, only a few are red; the rest are partially brown and partially green. They are wilting before they get a chance to display the splendid red that makes autumn my favourite season in the United States. The sad-looking tree reminds me that the year is drawing to a close.

It has been a dreary year, both for myself and the world-at-large. Yet, in spite of my misfortunes, there are many things that I am grateful for. The five months I spent in hospital earlier in the year gave me a chance to reconnect with old friends, some of whom I had lost touch with for three decades. I made new friends among the nurses and doctors who looked after me. I enjoyed writing my columns for The Straits Times and The Sunday Times, and still do.

After being discharged from the hospital, I was happy to see my patients again, and they were happy to see me. I have resumed travelling with my father Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, something that I used to do in my late teens and in my 20s, until work and my conference schedule put a stop to it.

This time, when my father asked me to accompany him on his trips, I dropped everything and joined him. I am travelling not for fun but to keep him company. As a result, I have had quality time with him.

While I have always known that my father was wise, I was surprised to see the movers and shakers of this world seek his opinion and advice on a multitude of international problems.

Over the past weekend, my father stayed in the home of Henry and Nancy Kissinger in Connecticut. For dinner on Saturday and again for lunch on Sunday, the Kissingers invited people from politics, academia, the media and business to meet my father. On Monday evening, Fed Malek of Thayer Capital organised a gathering at his home in Washington DC for my father to meet more movers and shakers. My father learnt about US perceptions of the world and the views of the Obama administration and Congress.

On Tuesday evening, at a black-tie dinner, my father was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by the US-Asean Business Council. Former US Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton sent taped tributes. President Barack Obama sent a statement that was read out on his behalf by Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell.

Kissinger and George Shultz — both former US secretaries of state and old friends of my father — attended the event. Both paid glowing tributes to my father. I am proud of my father, not for the award per se, but for making Singapore and Asean better places.

And for this event, even I, usually heedless of convention, was appropriately attired. I wore a Chinese jacket that my sister-in-law Ho Ching had bought for me, carried a bag that my friend and colleague, Professor Helen Tjia, had given me, and wore shoes bought by another friend. Together, they had conspired to ensure that I was dressed appropriately for the occasion.

I did not know how similar my thinking process was to my father's until after a private lunch with the Kissingers last weekend. Kissinger and my father were lamenting the state of the world, when my father said: “Henry, we must do what's right.”

My father has always tried to do what is right for Singapore, and for humanity. He will stand by friends who fall out of public favour to show the world: “To hell with you, he is still my friend.” These are the same rules by which I have tried to lead my much humbler life.

According to the psychologist Hans Jurgen Eysenck, sons think more like their mothers and daughters more like their fathers. My father believes in Eysenck's theories and blames himself for his non-conformist daughter.

He is a world-famous statesman, one whom world leaders consult. As Kissinger noted on Tuesday evening: “Over 40 years, when Mr Lee comes to Washington, he gets to see an array of people that almost no foreign leader gets to see... because he does not come as a supplicant.” Today, my father is to meet Obama.

But, after all is said and done, my father will leave it to history to have the final say on his life. In the meantime, he will simply continue to do what is right for Singapore and for the world. I believe that if there were more politicians like him, the world would be a better place.

This article began on a sombre note. I admire the Stoic philosophy, and had decided to take a stoic view of this year. But I have since come to the conclusion that the glass is half full, and that really, I and most Singaporeans are not in such a bad situation.

It is more likely to stay that way if we continued to do what's right — in season as well as out. — The Straits Times

The writer is director of the National Neuroscience Institute.

My thoughts:

After reading the article by Lee Wei Ling, some may be moved to think of their father and the quality time they wish to spend with their Dad. But how many can have the good fortune of "dropped everything and join him".

Being "lesser mortal", most would have difficulty getting approval for leave from work and would be scared stiff of being "dropped" from their job as money is needed to pay HDB mortgage, children's education and putting food on the table for the family.

No, I'm not talking about spending time with Dad in USA receiving accolades, I'm talking about some poor souls wishing to spend time with Dad who's sick and bedridden at his HDB flat with no maids or Amahs to help.

To be able to stay 5 months in a hospital without losing one's job is to have a very caring and generous employer. To be able to drop everything and have quality time with Daddy is to be luckier than Lucky Tan [Link]

With life come challenges and traumas. It goes with the territory of living. Rich or poor, elite or not, to every life a little rain must fall. Having gone through some serious health challenges and misfortunes of my own, I can appreciate, though not totally agree, with LWL's writings during and after her 5 months stay in hospital.

Lest I be a accused of being a poor sour grape and being mean to a sick person, I wish to state that I had my share of "half glass full" experience (dropping dead on the road with a heart attack and ventricular fibrillation) too. Though I did not need to stay 5 months in a hospital with special exercise equipment (I can't afford it anyway), it took me more than 5 years (without a job or income) to recuperate physically and financially!

Life is funny.

In trying to humanise or philosophise, one may upset readers by being insensitive to their sensitivities. It depends on where one is coming from and where one is heading to. The line between the intention to share one's sense of good/bad blessings and an exercise in shameless adulation can get blur at times.

I guess each of us, regardless of coming from family or famiLee, will do our best to do good, to leave a decent impression, before we are fed to the fish.

Some get the support of msm, some not.



At November 3, 2009 at 1:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

One cannot deny the accolades LKY received from friends like Kissinger and company. However Wei Ling should take note that the true measure of LKY's worth must come from ordinary Singaporeans
and the ultimate respect can only be earned from political opponents.

At November 3, 2009 at 12:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Realizing one's mortality is indeed sobering & Death is the ultimate equalizer of this one life we have. Its all Karma, what goes around comes around...we reap what we sow.

Thanks for writing, Fish!

At November 3, 2009 at 3:17 PM , Anonymous Ah Cow said...

Her article shows how disconnected father and daughter are from the average man in the street, the lesser mortals. There is really no need for her to pile on any more accolades on his overburdened shoulders.
She should instead write about the lot of the common man and what her father and his kakis have done to cause hardship to ordinary folk. She should come down to street level instead of hovering up there in the airy fairy atmosphere of the clouds.

At November 5, 2009 at 1:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since she claims to be so understanding about humanity. Someone should bring her to chinatown streets area and look at the numerous protitutes her father brought into this country to break many happy family and those cans & cardboard uncles and aunties and interview them to see what went wrong. Closer to her work area where should could easily take 5-months off, did she questioned why some patients could not afford medical fee?

At November 5, 2009 at 7:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, did anyone try to put themselves in LWL's shoes without posting some "jealousy comments" on how rich her family is, how great that she can spend time with her dad, with all the maids and drivers..etc. Yes, there are poor people in Singapore. But the government has been trying to narrow the poverty gap.

Think about US, France, Indonesia, Thailand..etc. Look at their leaders and their families' extravagant lifestyles, look at the corrupted political parties, that is what I call silverspoon fed and hypocrite and draining taxpayer's money. For her status, she could have lived in a much much more comfortable livestyles. But she chose to have a simple life. Why don't you all just accept and appreciate and respect her life.

Talking about medical fee, think about it -how much do you pay for your tax in Singapore? (3.5% to 20%subject to the individual's income). Look at OTHER countries tax rate with the so-called "good healthcare system" - England up to 40%, Australia up to 45%, USA up to 35%. You want good healthcare? Pay that amount of tax will do the work. In fact, I would not be surprise that in 10 years Singapore will increase their tax. Of course, then you can expect GOOD medical welfare.

At November 6, 2009 at 8:58 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sad that you think in that way, did you ever ask yourself, can you REALLY DO A BETER JOB THAN MM LEE, Given what he have done for Singapore, we must learn to be happy, given our limitation.You don't need to help him, he don't need it. Let help Singapore by not being unfriendly to those who build Singapore. I don't have to like him, but I must say he earned my repect. K.C. Ong

At November 7, 2009 at 1:40 PM , Anonymous diminished respect said...

The LKY in the early years worked for the people of Singapore and get this right, it was a collective effort !
Can anyone recall LKY saying he could not have done it alone or LKY giving credit to his peers and Singaporeans, especially his most recent visit to the USA ?

Can anyone ever claim he can do a better job than LKY ? Of course not lah! KC Ong, you are absolutely right. LKY is indispensable to the spineless PM and the entire PAP. Anyway, why care about who put the spineless PM to run the country or familee corporation, right KC Ong ???

By the way KC Ong, like you, I still respect LKY, but much less lah ! Because I am not happy with the Kangaroos in our courts, prostitutes in msm, gerrymandering, 81 stooges in parliament, ISA as a political tool, not least his daughter-in-law losing so much money lah ! LOL

At November 8, 2009 at 2:32 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone change..last time is good did not mean now still be good..when ppl get old they start to turn self fish, they start to scare that they lose their power..they scare of many thing..he maybe the hero of singapore that why until now, even he do a wrong thing say a wrong word think a wrong way even he is corrupted..i don think anyone will dare to say a word

At December 3, 2009 at 5:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If LKY is such a loyal friend, then what about what he did to Lim Chin Siong?

At October 3, 2010 at 1:45 PM , Blogger jamesboon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At October 3, 2010 at 5:37 PM , Blogger jamesboon said...

LOL @ the comments.They all have some degree of validity, both the naysayers and the supporters. We are products of our circumstances; Ms Lee never claims to be lesser or MORE for that matter.Read somewhere that of the three prodigious Lee progenies, the sister impressed their teachers the most. It speaks volumes that she picked a "lesser" route to journey. Even if the misfortunes of the first family insult the tissue-sellers, aluminium can and cardboard collectors of Singapore, even if Ms Lee fails to make the Siddharta or Mother Teresa cut, at least she asserts a view that is grounded and independent of the gahmen yes-men that the PAP machinery churns out so rigorously.

At October 18, 2011 at 3:44 PM , Anonymous camobel said...

Pretty helpful data, thanks so much for this article.

At June 8, 2013 at 12:58 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It had been a while since I visited website with such high quality
information. Thansk so much for the useful info

Feel free to visit my site - tips for getting pregnant

At November 1, 2014 at 8:57 AM , Blogger oakleyses said...

chanel handbags, gucci handbags, tiffany jewelry, jordan shoes, polo ralph lauren, christian louboutin shoes, christian louboutin outlet, oakley sunglasses, kate spade handbags, oakley vault, prada outlet, nike free, louis vuitton outlet, coach purses, coach outlet, kate spade outlet online, louboutin shoes, coach outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, coach outlet store online, nike shoes, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton, longchamp handbags, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet store, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton outlet online, tiffany and co jewelry, burberry outlet online, nike air max, prada handbags, louis vuitton handbags, michael kors outlet online, longchamp outlet online, cheap oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors outlet online, tory burch outlet, burberry outlet online, red bottom shoes, nike air max, louis vuitton outlet, ray ban outlet

At November 1, 2014 at 9:01 AM , Blogger oakleyses said...

asics shoes, p90x workout, insanity workout, ferragamo shoes, jimmy choo shoes, uggs on sale, beats headphones, mac cosmetics, reebok shoes, ghd, barbour, vans outlet, abercrombie and fitch, mcm handbags, marc jacobs outlet, longchamp, nfl jerseys, wedding dresses, babyliss pro, new balance outlet, rolex watches, north face jackets, instyler ionic styler, soccer shoes, bottega veneta, chi flat iron, abercrombie and fitch, giuseppe zanotti, ugg outlet, birkin bag, mont blanc pens, hollister, soccer jerseys, uggs outlet, ugg, nike trainers, lululemon outlet, nike huarache, herve leger, ugg soldes, valentino shoes, celine handbags, nike roshe, roshe run, north face outlet

At November 1, 2014 at 9:02 AM , Blogger oakleyses said...

timberland shoes, lancel, moncler, air max, hollister canada, moncler, oakley, converse, ugg boots, canada goose, ray ban, canada goose, vans, canada goose uk, baseball bats, juicy couture outlet, moncler, hollister, moncler, converse shoes, toms outlet, uggs canada, moncler, hollister clothing, canada goose outlet, moncler outlet, ugg, supra shoes, montre femme, gucci, replica watches, canada goose outlet, nike air max, karen millen, canada goose, canada goose pas cher, canada goose outlet, iphone 6 case, coach outlet, juicy couture outlet, louis vuitton canada, ralph lauren, wedding dress, moncler, parajumpers outlet, louboutin

At August 31, 2015 at 5:40 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

2015-8-31 xiaozhengm
michael kors outlet
burberry handbags
cheap ray ban sunglasses
michael kors
michael kors outlet online
pandora jewelry
ugg boots
michael kors bags
michael kors
ray ban sunglass
canada goose
hollister clothing
oakley sunglasses sale
air max 90
mont blanc pen
burberry sale
michael kors handbag
ralph lauren uk
michael kors outlet
kate spade bags
burberry outlet
kate spade outlet
toms shoes
canada goose
coach outlet online
nike blazer
toms outlet
michael kors outlet
fitflop uk
hermes belts
mcm outlet
fitflops outlet
true religion jeans
hollister clothing store
mizuno running shoes
abercrombie outlet
cheap uggs
soccer shoes
uggs on sale

At September 11, 2015 at 10:38 AM , Blogger said...

20150911 junda
replica watches cheap
michael kors handbags
ralph lauren
timberland uk
ugg boots for women
longchamp handbags
cheap jordans for sale
new balance outlet
nike blazer
ralph lauren homme
nike uk
michael kors handbags
ralph lauren
new balance shoes
adidas trainers
air max 95
cheap uggs
tory burch outlet online
oakley sunglasses outlet
cheap ray ban sunglasses
adidas gazelle trainers
toms shoes outlet
nike trainers
rolex watches
burberry sale
fitflop shoes
soccer jerseys wholesale
michael kors outlet
michael kors uk
ralph lauren
nike uk
air max 90
nike air max
mizuno shoes
kate spade bags
chaussure louboutin
coach outlet store online
coach factory outlet
tory burch shoes

At December 18, 2015 at 10:27 AM , Blogger chenlina said...

giuseppe zanotti
cheap air max
coach outlet store online
polo ralph lauren outlet
louis vuitton outlet
air max 90
uggs outlet
ugg boots for women
michael kors outlet stores
coach outlet store online
michael kors outlet
nike huarache
coach outlet store online
polo ralph lauren
cheap uggs for sale
kids lebron shoes
uggs on sale
true religion outlet
ugg boots
marc jacobs handbags
nike trainers uk
oakley outlet
ugg boots outlet
michael kors outlet online
coach outlet store
michael kors outlet
louis vuitton bags
oakley sunglasses
abercrombie & fitch
ugg boots on sale
ugg clearance
canada goose outlet
lebron 11
air jordans
michael kors outlet online
michael kors handbags
christian louboutin
the north face
canada goose outlet

At October 31, 2016 at 1:28 PM , Blogger wesan michael said...

vera bradley backpacks
jordans for cheap
nmd adidas store
nike air zoom structure 19
kobe basketball shoes
nike roshe run
lacoste outlet
longchamp online shop
michael kors outlet store
adidas superstar UK

At April 21, 2017 at 10:22 AM , Blogger raybanoutlet001 said...

michael kors outlet clearance
ugg outlet
coach outlet
nike outlet
oakley sunglasses
christian louboutin outlet
coach outlet
ugg outlet
kate spade outlet
ray ban sunglasses outlet

At June 8, 2017 at 5:43 PM , Blogger raybanoutlet001 said...

coach outlet
mont blanc pens
gucci outlet
indianapolis colts jerseys
ralph lauren
new york knicks
nike outlet store
ugg outlet
michael kors handbags sale
adidas nmd runner

At February 2, 2018 at 10:14 AM , Blogger raybanoutlet001 said...

nike tn pas cher
oakley sunglasses
packers jerseys
ray ban sunglasses outlet
minnesota vikings jerseys
ugg outlet
chicago bulls
dolphins jerseys
miami dolphins jerseys
uggs outlet

At February 6, 2018 at 11:22 AM , Blogger qq888 said...

adidas outlet online
chrome hearts online
yeezy shoes
converse outlet
nike air max
jordan shoes
tom ford sunglasses
michael jordan shoes
dior glasses

At March 31, 2018 at 2:22 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

retro jordans
yeezy boost 350
adidas nmd
golden goose outlet
true religion jeans
adidas yeezy
chrome hearts
adidas superstars
nike outlet store online shopping

At April 18, 2018 at 2:53 PM , Blogger Unknown said...


chicago bulls jersey
new york knicks
cheap mlb jerseys
nike roshe
cheap ray bans
nike air huarache
browns jerseys
ferragamo shoes
patriots jerseys
mbt shoes outlet

At May 18, 2018 at 10:57 AM , Blogger raybanoutlet001 said...

ralph lauren outlet
air jordan 4
moncler outlet
adidas nmd runner
coach outlet
adidas superstar
pittsburgh steelers jersey
coach outlet online
ralph lauren uk

At June 19, 2018 at 10:35 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

nike air max 2018
oakley sunglasses
ray ban sunglasses outlet
pandora jewelry
adidas store
nike huarache
air max 2018
ray ban sunglasses
adidas yeezy

At July 30, 2018 at 11:15 AM , Blogger Unknown said...


michael kors outlet
nhl jerseys wholesale
air jordan 8
coach factory outlet
jordan shoes
issey miyake perfume
prada outlet
nike outlet
moncler jackets

At March 25, 2019 at 12:29 PM , Blogger yanmaneee said...

hermes birkin
calvin klein outlet online
kyrie 3
canada goose
yeezy 700
balenciaga shoes
goyard bags
timberland boots
red bottom heels

At March 25, 2019 at 12:35 PM , Blogger yanmaneee said...

adidas nmd r1
kyrie 5 shoes
adidas nmd
kyrie 5
gucci belts
lacoste polo
kd 11 shoes
golden goose outlet
jordan 12
adidas stan smith shoes

At April 8, 2023 at 6:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeezy gap
goyard outlet
yeezy 700
birkin bag
jordan 1 mid
bape shirt


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home