October 6, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — theinkhorn @ 1:18 am

This sudden influx of overly-dramatic tributes to the late Mdm Kwa Geok Choo is both sad and amusing to me. It is also pathetic, and hypocritical, and just reading them makes me ill.

I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t really care. It’s not that I’m being intentionally spiteful; it’s not in my nature. Nor am I putting on display any sort of sarcastic response. I genuinely don’t care. I didn’t care that she was alive, I didn’t care that she was sick, and now that she’s passed, I’m certainly not going to insult her and her family by pretending that I ever did. But I do feel offended, and disgusted that so many would make the effort to perform such a cruel piece of deception.

While I must confess to being slightly horrified with Gopalan Nair’s very angsty farewell passage to Mdm Kwa, I cannot help but respect his honesty. Instead of crumbling and revering one of his arch-nemeses as she lay in her casket, he chose to ignore being politically correct, and let her have it. But you. You, you and you. The baby-boomers and the echo-boomers. What exactly is it you wish to accomplish?

Perhaps you wanted to feel better about not knowing her real name. Or her age. Perhaps you wanted to feel better about not even knowing where she was, or if she was even alive. For whatever reason, you choose to revere her for the woman she was, even though it is evident that none of you really even care to begin with. What’s even more perturbing to me, is that you’d assume this plain show of deception to be a show of respect to her and her family. If anything, it is a sign of MASSIVE disrespect. A mockery.

Go on, make your online eulogy. Parade your faux sense of respect and self-righteousness around and garner in return satisfaction that you’ve done the right thing. You can call it respect for the dead, or anything else that makes you feel better about yourself. I’ll call it what it really is.


  1. i couldn’t agree more with you. she was an invisible woman, by and large. maybe pple feel guilty that they don’t really care and are trying to cover it up. but this a rather sycophantic society these days.

    Comment by genghis — October 6, 2010 @ 2:41 am

  2. Well, I think its good manners to offer condolences to the ones who grieve for the loss of their loved ones. And so I suppose its appropiate for people to extend their condolences to the Lee family. The opposition parties and their leaders have done well in sending messages of condolences. This injects decency and gentlemanly behaviour to our political discourse and culture.

    There is also the question of proportion. The response to her death has been er..rather…disproportionate. The stories about her in the media sounded kinda syrupy. I think she would have been embarrassed by the titles – “mother of the nation” and “first lady”. And the gun salute?? Nuff said.

    Comment by Bill — October 6, 2010 @ 12:51 pm

  3. Imagine you have this good friend, but you’ve never seen the wife before and you don’t know her. The two of you meet up, and he sadly informs you his wife has recently passed on.

    I’m curious to know how cold you will react to a good friend at this time, even if you don’t know his wife.

    Granted MM Lee isn’t exactly a “good friend”, but I think it’s all about basic respect, particularly to someone who is a towering figure in Singapore, even if not universally well-liked.

    Comment by Jezebella — October 6, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

  4. genghis and Bill – Sycophantic is the perfect word, thank you genghis. Sure Bill, decency and gentlemanly behaviour and all the nonsense, but how much of it is genuine? If it were your wife, would you accept this cheap, insincere attempt at decency? Politicians are the original conmen. What’s our excuse? And yes, syrupy is an understatement. I leave you with content from a friend’s facebook status:

    “Overheard: The late Mrs LKY is not the ‘mother of Singapore’. Unless you consider Lee Hsien Loong, Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling–the PM, a CEO and a paediatrician–as ‘Singapore’, which would suggest the country is politically monopolised, corporatised, and infantilised. I mean, it’s not…right?”

    Jezebella – I would stop at “sorry for your loss”, and buy him a cold one. What we’re seeing has spilled over from basic respect and leaked into the section I call “hypocritical wankery”.

    Comment by theinkhorn — October 6, 2010 @ 3:00 pm

  5. Dude, you’re awesome.

    Comment by Nevin — October 6, 2010 @ 5:12 pm

  6. They are doing it because of her husband?

    I did a mental review of press reports/publicity about/on/concerning her but could only come up repeatedly with the line to the effect that ‘Mrs Lee would be accompanying him (LKY) on the trip’ – again and again. That’s the truth. It was reported that she shunned publicity.

    I saw her only once – face to face – at the Cold Storage. I chanced upon her pushing a shopping cart with a grand child in it and bodyguards on the periphery coming from the opposite direction as I rounded a row of shelves. She and the nearest bodyguard gave me a very quick stare/look with me returning the compliment and stepping aside to allow her the path to proceed. She had that worried look which she wore in practically picture I have seen. I was therefore quite surprised to see pictures of her in her younger days that were so refreshingly different. So I note that she hadn’t always looked like those pictures I have been used to seeing.

    Mrs Lee rest in peace.

    Comment by Anon — October 6, 2010 @ 6:00 pm

  7. Exact words I told my wife – no offense but why are the media and people groveling like spineless morons? Was she Mother Teresa? What did she do to get FOUR, mind you, FOUR long pages in Straits Times?

    Was she better than my mum? I doubt so. Yet it was as if we owe our lives to her. True she could have been great but the extend to which they exalted her was… nauseating.

    No disrespect to her and the family. Consolences to them But this time the media was just too overwhelming and full of agenda.


    Comment by Kaffein — October 6, 2010 @ 6:53 pm

  8. I guess that whatever you do, and that includes whatever you live with, for several decades will show on your face.

    Yes, Mrs Lee, you can rest in peace now.

    Comment by Manda_la — October 6, 2010 @ 8:07 pm

  9. Dear Inkhorn,

    I think our political discourse could be more civil and gentlemanly. No need to talk about “being my own hatchet man”, “cul de sac”, “fixing people” “knuckledusters” etc…And a person’s grief needs to recognised and accorded the due respect. To accord respect to someone is not to approve their politics or their past behavior, its about who we are as a people.

    How much of all this outpouring is genuine? We’ll never know will we? Its obvious that some are trying to score some political points and maybe even curry favor. The SDP’s one line condolence message I thot was tasteful and showed class. There was no hint of affection or admiration only respect for the grief of the family. Was CSJ trying to polish his public image? Unlikely. If he was trying to do put up a false front, he would have moved to the centre of our politics. He does not show any signs of doing so.


    Comment by Bill — October 6, 2010 @ 11:00 pm

  10. Bill,

    You can see why I could never be a political figure. I enjoy lying, I won’t deny it. The satisfaction of a successful con, the thrill, it’s almost incomparable. To me at least. But I also enjoy hearing the truth, something not all of us share. We(humans) love to hear what we believe is the truth, which is why religion still exists but that is another story for another time. I don’t believe that in the event of death, one should afford to the deceased or his/her family the sort of brutal, brutal honesty Nair did. I believe that if you don’t feel like you have anything nice to say, and you don’t wish to be deceitful, the most decent thing you could do is not say anything. Which is exactly what I did.

    Politics is another issue altogether. SDP had to release a statement. All the parties had to or it would’ve been the political equivalent of downing just enough bleach to send you for a stomach pump, yet not kill you. But I’ll give CSJ credit for being smart enough not to milk it.

    Comment by theinkhorn — October 7, 2010 @ 1:23 am

  11. Ha! ha! Ha!…I like you already Inkhorn…there aint a pharaiscal bone in your body. You´re right about not saying anything if you have nothing nice to say.

    Comment by Bill — October 7, 2010 @ 1:54 am

  12. What’s your take on the letters of condolences sent by LHL and GCT to JBJ’s son’s?

    Comment by Bill — October 7, 2010 @ 6:48 am

  13. She was a great wife & great mother, I accept that but then she had no reasons not to be. She did not have to face any hardship or poverty. Money and almost absolute power was at her discretion, yes I accept that being the PM’s wife or moter does have its pressure, which million of women would love to have.

    Her husband never was once incarcerated. If I have respect, it is for the wives of Said Zahari, Dr Lim Hock Siew and others like them , who stood by their husbands and raised the family despite their absence of their husbands due unfair inprisonment without trial.

    Now did she save millions from poverty, did she fight for the rights of the oppressed no, but she did fight for the husband and children. Now that makes a great wife and mother just like the millions of mums in Singapore. So do not epitomise her but just accept that she did her duties well.

    Comment by Curious — October 7, 2010 @ 8:39 am

  14. Bill – Thank you. The JBJ letter of condolences was very clever indeed, considering our prime minster’s fondness for onions and chillies. It was honest, that much is clear. It was also manipulative, though I can’t be sure that wasn’t purely coincidental.

    Curious – Very valid point. Am very glad you brought that up. It’s not something most will consider.

    Comment by theinkhorn — October 7, 2010 @ 3:30 pm

  15. hello, where can I find the gopalan nair piece?

    Comment by Anonymous — October 7, 2010 @ 5:22 pm

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