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.

Leave a Reply