Head, Civil Service’s note to public officers – Remembering Mr Lee Kuan Yew
Head, Civil Service, Mr Peter Ong, has written a note on “Remembering Mr Lee Kuan Yew” to mark the passing of the founding Prime Minister of Singapore. The note, reproduced below, was sent to some 141,000 public officers working in 16 ministries and more than 50 statutory boards.
Remembering Mr Lee Kuan Yew
It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the news of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s passing this morning, 23 March 2015 at 3.18am.
To say that Mr Lee served Singapore and Singaporeans for almost all of his adult life would be understating his extraordinary contributions. Mr Lee and his Old Guard colleagues played indispensable roles in transforming Singapore from a Third World country into a First World country that is peaceful, cohesive and prosperous. Without him and his colleagues, Singapore will not be where it is today.
Mr Lee Kuan Yew was also singularly instrumental in creating the Public Service ethos that we have today—clean, efficient, effective and indeed exceptional. As a young civil servant, Mr Lee’s leadership left a deep impression on me and I had the great privilege of watching, from close up, the way he handled many important issues, such as relations with major countries, in both good and bad times. Those of our colleagues who have worked closely with him speak of his legendary attention to detail, his exacting performance standards and the clarity of purpose he applied to every problem. They also found the side of him that was a caring boss.
But underpinning all this was Mr Lee’s unwavering dedication to keeping Singapore successful. For Mr Lee, if something was worth doing for Singapore and Singaporeans, it was worth doing it very well. We saw this, for example, in his dedication to the cause of the trade unions, so that workers can have a share in the fruits of the nation’s progress; his promotion of home ownership so that every Singaporean has a stake in the country; his personal attention to the greening of Singapore which he saw as a means of gifting to every Singaporean, no matter his station in life, a very conducive urban environment. The list is endless.
Mr Lee’s passing is a poignant moment in Singapore’s history, a moment for all of us to pause and reflect on his contributions to Singapore. A series of public events will be held to remember Mr Lee and I invite you to participate in them and join fellow Singaporeans in honouring the first among our founding fathers.
As we mourn the passing of a great leader, an astute statesman and an exceptional Singaporean, let us seek to emulate his passion and dedication in serving Singapore and Singaporeans. Let that be Mr Lee’s legacy to the Singapore Public Service.
Head, Civil Service
23 March 2015