Fearlessness is his name
Founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's qualities are a source of inspiration for activist Hamidah Aidillah Binte Mustafa who most admires his fearlessness.
Growing up, I fondly remember how my parents and grandparents would talk to me about Mr Lee Kuan Yew and how the pioneering PAP team transformed Singapore from slums to what we are today. They described the dingy toilets, the torrential rains which translated into major floods, and the lack of good connecting roads and seamless transportation. And that's when we realise how far we've come.
Through Mr Lee and our founding fathers, the Party has brought this country forward. It has given it stability, peace and security. It has kept Singapore's flag flying high, in the region, in the world and above all, it has given Singaporeans the chance to pursue their dreams and ambitions.
I hope the foundation of such aspirations will continue to evolve and encompass all strata of our society. I hope we will see even greater inclusiveness of those with alternative dreams and professions to succeed in this very country we call home - as a continuation of Mr Lee's legacy.
However, what I personally find unforgettable about Mr Lee is his indomitable spirit. A person who never gave up on Singapore, and one who never threw in the towel in his fight for Singapore's independence.
I remember his enquiring mind and his critical thoughts. But above all, I admire his fearlessness.
Reading history books and watching videos of his fiery speeches, I saw that he was unafraid of Western imperialism and was unimpressed by the white man who may think he's superior to us. As a minority in this country, I hold dearly to such a spirit. He taught us that we should never fear, to be the very best of ourselves - to work hard within this meritocratic system - and to be unafraid to stand up for truth and justice.
Beneath Mr Lee's steely resolve, though, I think he has in his own way, taught us about compassion and kindness to others. Through the PAP, he fought for better economic conditions for us and helped uplift the poor. This can still be seen today in the meet-the-people sessions that take place across the island, month after month, year after year. It is also reflected in the quiet way, without fanfare or need for recognition, in which PAP activists help in grassroots work in their personal time.
Synergy between seniors and young
As a Young PAP activist, I believe the qualities exemplified by Mr Lee such as fearlessness, intellectual curiosity, and standing up for justice form the hallmarks of the PAP.
However, I believe we need to form even closer relationships between the young and senior party volunteers. This is akin to the "kampung spirit" which is more pronounced in the older party activists. It is through this spirit of friendship that closer bonds are forged and learnings passed on to a younger generation. There is a Malay saying "yang muda disayangi, dan yang tua dihormati" which emphasises the concept of the old loving the young. In turn, the young respects and learns from their elders.
I believe that learning is a life-long process and has to be done continuously. There is so much that the young could learn and do in synergy with our seniors and vice versa. The old guards have achieved so much and are a vast repository of information and lessons that the young could draw upon.
We could only achieve greater good, together.
The writer is Deputy Organising Secretary of Young PAP.
This article was first published in the May 2016 issue of Petir Magazine.