The prossession at Parliament House has just passed. It was raining heavily. The cheering of “Lee Kuan Yew” of Singaporeans and residents braving the heavy rain to farewell their cherished leader have bought Singapore together. A nation of champion complainers were in one united voice giving honor and glory to the Father of Modern Singapore.
LKY has led a very frugal life. His home in Orchard was simple and basic. If the mega church pastors had lived as such, Singapore would have been a far different place. He had put the prosperity of the nation first and would not let go, and not his own prosperity.
In the 60s, LKY had faced the hard truths of the separation from Malaysia which would have weakened Singapore’s role as the port for the Malay Peninsula natural resources. The British Navy were leaving and with it 150,000 jobs. The communist had infiltrated the political parties and were on the rise with conflicts in Vietnam, China and Korea.
It was indeed a miracle that Singapore not only survived but prospered, and it wasn’t due to greater social justice or equality but a pragmatic action discerning the reality. And the measures were indeed harsh if taken out of the dire context of the 60s and 70s. Few of his fellow independence fighters against the colonial masters in Asia from other countries managed to transcend to good governing.
The massive legacy of Lee Kuan Yew can be seen in the numerous skyscrappers, the casinos, one of the greatest airport and port in the world when Singapore actually had nothing. A visit to Sentosa would see the greyish waters and beaches not fit for swimming. Yet, his legacy can be seen all around in the giant island sentosa resort.
By the 80s, the Catholic Liberation theology movement which had arisen from the depths of the Latin America Marxist struggle came to Singapore. The Catholic Church was not just another faith but a state reporting to Rome. The potential was there of foreign influenced social justice groups stirring issues, but the real threat may have been miniscule by the innocent “do gooders”.
Christianity had grown 3% in one decade from 10% in 1980 to 13% in 1990 due to the charismatic revival. Although the Catholics formed 5% of Christians, there was a real fear that liberation religion mixed with politics with the increasing Christian growth.
But liberation theology was beginning to loose popularity. The charismatic renewal in the Anglican church in the 70s and 80s called for a return to blibical Christianity. The liberal Christian Conference of Asia, HQ in Singapore was finally expelled by LKY in Dec 1987 after a direct challenge.
The crackdown on the alleged Marxist conspirators in the late 80s brought Civil society to a standstill for the next decade. This void was filled by the much bigger Charismatic evangelicals such as FCBC Touch ministry and City Harvest Community Services cultimating in the Love Singapore with their dominion theology. The independent churches had pushed a Christian growth reaching 20% to-date. Lee Kuan Yew may have acted too fast.
Gays were quickly used as a wedge issue to gain support and wider influence into society, government, and media by Christians, but Lee Kuan Yew was quick to state that
“If in fact it is true, and I have asked doctors this, that you are genetically born a homosexual — because that’s the nature of the genetic random transmission of genes — you can’t help it. So why should we criminalize it?” LKY 2007
“They’re modern thinking people. This is the reality of the society, we decide what is in our interest and how the people will react. Homosexuality will eventually be accepted. It’s already accepted in China. It’s a matter of time before it’s accepted here. I don’t see the grassroots being converted to Christianity. If the grassroots are converted, and it’s total, then we become a different society. ” LKY 2011
“No, it’s not a lifestyle. You can read the books you want, all the articles. There’s a genetic difference, so it’s not a matter of choice. They are born that way and that’s that. So if two men or two women are that way, just leave them alone. Whether they should be given rights of adoption is another matter because who’s going to look after the child? Those are complications that arise once you recognise that you could actually legally marry, then you say I want to adopt. Vivian Balakrishnan says it’s not decisively proven. Well, I believe it is. There’s enough evidence that some people are that way and just leave them be.” , LKY 2011
Normal media pragrammes has just returned after the funeral which has been previously showing the last 50 years of LKY’s achievements. The adverts and music have returned to the malls. But will it be business as usual after LKY?
I don’t believe that the funeral organisers ever envisaged more than 300,000 paying their last respects to LKY over the few short days some waiting for upto 8 hours, of the many who crowded the streets along the path of the funeral possession shouting “Lee Kuan Yew”. Perhaps, in his death, LKY has united a nation naturally divided into race, and religion.
Will Singapore including the evangelical Christians able to face the hard truths and the consequences of their action against gays? Will the liberation theology workers with the not so blibical industrial gospel be able to spread their wings again?
Will Singapore be a faith hub, the Antioch for Asia for the Charismatic evangelical revival throughout Asia? It will probably not because gays will become a stumbling block for many have suffered and been devastated and lives lost because of Christian condemnation. Christians have worn white against gays, declaring their self righteousness, when they should only wear it in funeral.
The passing of LKY marks the stage where Singapore have grown of age. Perhaps now is a time for greater social justice and equality that the Christian Left Liberation activist have fought for which hitherto has been denied to the marginalised when the priority was in nation building. Perhaps, the kindom on earth was always going to be a dream.
Lee Kuan Yew didn’t do it alone. God has blessed Singapore because it has a purpose and a destiny in World evangelism that the name of His Son Jesus may be known. The Gospel has been spread all over the world by the independent churches. He may not have believed in Jesus, but I am sure God have guided his mind and heart for the prosperity of Singapore.