Monday came and went like every other Monday did - not so manic, not so blue. The nation’s mourning week for Mr Lee Kuan Yew has passed, and everyone reverted, en-masse, their Facebook profile picture to the one they used before grieving. I wonder if grieving to us is like a switch - you turn it on one day, then turn it off another day. Maybe there was a remote control for the sky as well, as it rained lesser than the day before.
On Sunday, national flags were draped over the metal barriers as rain poured from the heavens. Singaporeans from all walks of life waved their national flags as the hearse of LKY made its way from Parliament House to the University Cultural Centre at NUS. People sang “We Are Singapore”, while others chanted “LEE KUAN YEW! LEE KUAN YEW!” Patriotism abound, was it just only for that day, the day our first Prime Minister is being sent off to rest, finally? I was disappointed with smartphones being whipped out the moment his casket reached the gates of Parliament House. Are we programmed solely by campaigns from the institution, not from the grassroots? Perhaps a loud “NO CAMERA. FINE $1000” sign, or even a code of conduct broadcast in all four national languages might help. Then again, dear modern Singaporeans, we are definitely above that.
In my conversation with a friend, he highlighted how the propaganda machine was in full swing the entire week. No, the media in Singapore is not a propaganda machine, but merely a reflection of who we are as Singaporeans. They would ask, “do you want us to help you figure out what is sadness?” In response, an outpouring of grieve and a reinforcement of our collective thinking and feels. A positive reinforcement? Maybe yes, maybe no. As far as I recall, Jordan Hill’s Remember Me This Way was played more times the past week than when Casper the movie was released in the late 90s’.
Music. When Adagio for Strings was being performed by the SSO as the casket entered the stage, I mistook it for ‘The Matrix’ variant of Enigma Variations. Honestly, too much seriousness has filled our consciousness, so the break in grieving was a welcome relief. Eulogies were punctuated with jest, sorrow and to some extent, a hint of regret. Weary were some, teary were most. The sky stayed overcast - there was definitely no remote control.
Dusk on Sunday was a warm yolky glow. I would prefer to remember it that way in contrast to the violent thunderstorm the Sunday before. Some call it a new era, others a apprehension of things to come. Whatever it may be, even if you may disagree…
And now, back to normal programming.