Sreelatha Menon, Residents’ Committee Member, Tanjong Pagar Community Centre
My family and I have been residents in the Spottiswoode Park estate since 1978. We have three children and six grandchildren. My husband and I have been active members of the resident's committee since 1993.We are originally from Kuala Lumpur and only settled in Singaporeafter our marriage in 1966.
Memories of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew
Tanjong Pagar has been Mr. Lee’s Constituency since day one. I met Mr Lee during one of his walkabouts in my estate. Words cannot express the excitement we felt when we met him! We felt honored that he took the time to speak to us, that he was sincerely interested in the work my husband did, and about the school situation with our children. He was also concerned about our welfare within theestate and seemed genuinely pleased that we were contented. He struck me as down-to-earth, meticulous, curious and interested in our personal experiences and our perception of how our country was run.
My deepest memory of himwas of his visit to Spottiswoode Park on November 2006, for the inauguration of our upgraded lifts. I had the privilege to be the lady-in-waiting for Mrs. Lee. The whole evening was spent accompanying both Mr. & Mrs. Lee as they traversed the estate. We also spent time admiring the completed lifts that were a
product of Mr. Lee’s Lift upgarding Programme (LUP). During that time, I had theprivilege and pleasure of chatting with Mrs. Lee, and to my surprise, our conversation was no different from that between two housewives! That day, we also visited an elderly wheel-chair-bound resident, for whom the lifts were a Godsend.I could tell that enabling this resident made Mr. Lee happy and proud, and he shared that sense of achievement with me.
Mr. Lee’s leadership is the stuff of legends. He is well-known and often cited as a visionary, who led with passion and unflagging determination. The success of Singapore and its Grassroots system is testimony to his leadership. Watching him lead inspires me to
steel myself against obstacles and overcome challenges. His pro-family stance keeps me on my toes when it comes to prioritizing the nurturing of our family. I hope to think that through his influence, my husband and I have brought up our children well to become filial, caring, respectful, inclusive and responsible citizens, and that we have inculcated in them the importance of education. Mr. Lee has also instilled in me a sense of thriftiness, the willingness to work hard, to keep myself active and healthy.
Community Starts with Me
I feel honored to serve and contribute to our community in whatever small way I can to keep Mr. Lee’s legacy alive, and to ensure a succession plan of future volunteers is in place, and adequately experienced to boot.My colleagues and I are conscious of the need to cater to the constantly evolving needs of the community. I am heartened that we have successfully reached out to younger residents through social media. Community Service is the heart of nation building, and we can all learn from the Lees.