13 July 2015

LKY Reads Proclamation Of Independence

This coming National Day morning, Singapore residents will hear the voice of their country's first prime minister, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, reading the Proclamation of Independence, according to the People's Association ("PA")[1].

The recording will be played on all local TV and radio channels and heard at National Day observance ceremonies organised by PA's grassroots organisations.

PA Chief Executive Director Ang Hak Seng said, "The reading of this Proclamation by our founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew will remind us of the core values that our pioneers embodied, such as community resilience, racial harmony, determination to overcome the odds and placing community above."

It was not Mr Lee but a Radio Singapore announcer who read the Proclamation on 9 August 1965.

A recording of Mr Lee reading the Proclamation was made just three years ago.

It is not clear who initiated the recording — Mr Lee Kuan Yew or his son Lee Hsien Loong who was then (and still is) prime minister and chairman of PA's Board of Management or PA's then Chief Executive Director Yam Ah Mee — and what the motivation was.

Reading the Proclamation to the public on 9 August 1965 was a unique historic moment in time that occurs only once — hopefully — in a lifetime; the Proclamation can be read to the public once and only once. That special moment is past; it is gone forever. It can never be repeated. It's silly and futile to try to redo or re-create it in whatever form.

Now that PA reminds us that Mr Lee did not read the Proclamation on 9 August 1965, it is only natural to wonder why Mr Lee — the man who some people mistakenly consider to be Singapore's "founding father" or "founding prime minister" — didn't do it. In most or all other countries, the proclamation of independence would be read by the head of state or the head of government. But not Singapore.

We can only speculate why it was so. Perhaps, Mr Lee was overwhelmed by anguish upon Singapore's being ejected from Malaysia. As he said, "For me, it is a moment of anguish because all my life … the whole of my adult life … I have believed in merger and the unity of the two territories [Singapore and Malaya]." Perhaps, he didn't want independence and didn't want independence thrust upon him.

Looking back, however, in the light of Singapore's progress as an independent nation, Mr Lee would have been relieved and delighted, rather than feeling anguish.

But that doesn't mean that he should allow the Government to make a recording of his reading the Proclamation 47 years later nor that PA should broadcast his belated reading of the Proclamation 50 years after independence.

When PA does broadcast next month the Proclamation as read by Mr Lee, hopefully it will make it very clear to the public that they are not listening to the original recording of the Proclamation that was made on 9 August 1965 by a Radio Singapore announcer.

Better still, what PA should do is to broadcast the original reading of the Proclamation. It would be authentic.


1. Singaporeans To Hear Proclamation Of Independence In Lee Kuan Yew's Voice On Aug 9 The Straits Times 10 Jul 2015.

1 comment:

  1. This is a joke, the man never wanted independence and if fact "fixed" the referendum so that no one can vote "no". He did not proudly shout Merdeka nor was he happy about being kicked out. So do not try to rewrite history