Overheard from -> Huifong Ng (FB Link)
My tears were wiped. My palette was placed. My brushes were laid. ‘Thank you,’ I said.
I have finally finished painting the highly esteemed Mr Lee Kuan Yew, at his emotional announcement of Singapore’s independence, back in 1965.
I had taken 3 months to find a most poignant moment to paint of this great man. Amidst pictorials, interviews and videos of Mr Lee, this particular moment of his announcement touched my heart, even though it was 49 years ago! Only a genuine emotion is able to travel across such a long span of time into another one’s heart!
Due to the passion towards his country and compassion for his people, a dedicated soul too strong in his love for his nation, shed tears. Crying is not a sign of weakness but a significant meekness of heart with distinctive quality and strength.
Singapore has always been sentimental for me. In 1984, I was only three, my family took our first trip ever to the Lion City. To prepare all of us for this momentary first time on a plane, my mother dressed my brother and me up in our finest clothes. As she put a dash of makeup on my face, she whispered excitingly, ‘We’re flying on a plane!’ That moment still sits vividly in my heart to this day.
In the recent years, I have also been to Singapore frequently. Destiny has given me the opportunity to hold my first solo exhibition towards the end of the year. It was with an overwhelming gratitude that I wanted to paint something or better yet, someone for this beloved country.
Painting Mr Lee was an emotional experience. I had to take rest in between days so I could get away from crying. Then, I would return to paint again with persistent heartfelt passion. At the same time, it was also an exhilarating moment as I enjoyed each brushstroke and painted this man with my heart.
This is what I learned after watching and reading media about Mr Lee:
1. A sincere person who appreciates friends and colleagues.
2. A compassionate leader who cheers for his team.
3. A doting grandfather just like anyone his age.
4. A loving man to his family and the late Mrs Lee.
5. A man of all emotions and stories, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
As Singapore celebrates National Day on 9 Aug, here’s wishing all Singaporeans ‘A happy and beautiful 49th birthday!’