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Tribute to Sylvia Lim

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A tribute to Sylvia Lim – Response to her Budget speech





“I have seen old black and white photographs of my father giving briefings to then Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who used to visit army camps with his family dressed in shorts; these photographs told perhaps of a different working culture then, with little time for pomp and ceremony.”



Maybe I’ll be damned for voicing this. So be it.


Say what you like about LKY, he did right by our parents and by us, then, with his right focus on issues and plans that really mattered, didn’t he?


In kaki shorts and his wife & daughter as plainly dressed compared to the expensive clothes the current PM’s wife appears when meeting the SCDF recently.


No drinks or bites on the table, can’t even see a spinning ceiling fan and no retinue of bodyguards. That’s something I always scratched my head. Back in the 60′s when Singaporeans were more violent (Hock Lee riots, strikes, protests etc), bodyguards were sparse. Now, with only a riot in 45 years and by foreigners, our ministers are either more fearful, no balls or have a greater sense of their own self-importance that they need more protection.


Perhaps, we need to revert some changes in some areas to what used to be…. some pomp, less pomposity, some ceremony, less ceremoniousness.




“Foreign Minister George Yeo… told me that he had been taught Military Law by my father in the army, and that he believed the Prime Minister had been too.”


“As we approach our nation’s 50th anniversary of independence, it is a useful time to reflect on how we are bound by ties through the Pioneer Generation. Their high sense of commitment to Singapore lifted us through hazy beginnings and daunting odds. They had little time to complain, but just got on with what needed to be done. Their fighting spirit inspires us, their children, to defend what they have built, and to bring our country to greater heights.”


Perhaps, this speech will be seen later as her coming out speech to assert her place as a PM-in-waiting.


First, she brandishes her pedigree. No daughter of a dud she, but one whose pa had a hand in educating ministers in his area of expertise.


Then she, with a flourish, concludes her speech referencing our nation’s half-century run tied to the ‘high sense of commitment to SGP… thro’ hazy beginnings and daunting odds… little.. complain(t).. just got on with what needed to be done. Their fighting spirit inspires us… to bring our country to greater heights”.


You can almost hear a heart drop…. Lee Hsien Loong’s heart wishing he had said those simple words instead of Sylvia Lim.

Change we must.



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