This was penned by my sister, Srila.
It is Nineteen Seventy-five
Thirteen years of age
Be aware of the world around you
Says Dad, bless his soul
So I begin to notice politics
LKY, Goh Keng Swee, Rajaratnam
Devan Nair, Hon Sui Sen, Othman Wok,
many others working as a team
Setting up systems, solving problems
Creating a nation where there was none
Creating opportunities within and without
in a world where size mattered
They had all the answers to all problems
Integrity, education, work ethics, quality
If the fundamentals are right, they showed us
The money will come.
They were right. It did and quickly.
The people, my Dad, and me – were sold.
This was Home, truly.
Why were there these other men then,
Jeyaratnam, Francis Seow, Chiam See Tong
And a few others, often lone voices
Challenging status quo, touting other points of view
at great risk to themselves
Pre-Internet, pre-Facebook, pre-twitter
It was hard to know if they spoke for the one
Or for the many,
for mainstream media never helped
Men who, once the opposition path chosen,
Could not stop or turn back easily
Lives spent standing up for an alternative path
Hits and humiliation taken
for the people, for Dad and for me.
Is it possible for a nation to be built by one man
Or is it many hands made up of different fingers
Moving in the same direction?
Nineteen Seventy-five, politically curious.
How interesting, a crisis in Australia
Whitlam, a giant, good looking man
Sacked by his boss and
Fraser, installed in his place
Would I have foreseen then
Thirty years almost to the day
That the fruits of policies they set in motion
Would see me call Australia home too?
A fair go, mateship, regardless of colour or creed,
work hard, play hard, welcome to our far corner
Bombarded with exciting new ways of thinking
Challenging ideas, differing views, exhilarating debates
So many new opportunities for a new migrant
Made possible by men I only knew by name
In Nineteen Seventy-five.
Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser and Lee Kuan Yew
Pass away within six months of each other.
Goh Keng Swee, Rajaratnam, Devan Nair, Jeyaratnam,
And others, pre-deceased.
Millions like me, in both my homes, have what we have
Because of leaders who were good men.
Good leaders are often controversial,
Both in life and in death
But that they were good men, like Dad, who did their best
Will stand the test of time.