|When you gotta go, you gotta go!|
Perhaps we have been too harsh on the man, he could have been merely taking orders like the rest of the sycophants. Maybe he is not as thick skinned as the remaining others. "You will not find anyone in Bedok who is pleased that he is stepping down," looks like a nice epithet. Better to go off with a pleasant memory than be haunted by regurgitated abuses of the past.
The press didn't highlight the election incident of 1997, when the Workers' Party had complained to the police that Goh Chok Tong, Tony Tan and Brigadier-General (NS) Lee Hsien Loong had been sighted inside a Cheng San GRC balloting station on Polling Day. Instead, they flagged him with the Contemplacion case. "He was very determined not to let this case become a cause for the rupture of Singapore-Philippines relations," wrote the press. Although "he managed the whole case in a very clinical and effective way", there were ugly protests in front of the Singapore Embassy in Manila and diplomatic relations with the Philippines were strained for quite a few years.
"Life has an unfair, unpredictable quality about it and you must take it as it comes. But then, that's not what I would have thought if you had asked me when I was 30 years old. Now it's a different perspective. How many of my generation as alive, never mind being fit and mobile and still compos mentis?"
That was Lee Kuan Yew circa 1998, speaking to Han Fok Kwang, Warren Fernandez and Sumiko Tan for the book, "LKY, The Man And His Ideas." He adds, "At 70-plus, what do I need? Time to reflect." Perhaps the same thoughts went through Jayakumar. On the other hand, if he teams up with similarly outgoing Abdullah Tarmugi and the bunch of Chinese-educated MPs arm twisted into early retirement, now that should make one hell of a GRC team. We can dream, can't we?