“It has been two years and four months since his wife of six decades was bed- bound by a series of strokes, unable to speak. “What to do? What else can I do? I can’t break down. Life has to go on” said Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew in an unusually personal and reflective interview with the New York Times, in which he spoke at length on religion, meditation and caring for Mdm Kwa Geok Choo 89, his wife.
Mr Lee added “I try to busy myself but from time to time in idle moments, my mind goes back to the happy days were up and about together. “
An agnostic, Mr Lee said “I’m not sure who’s going first, whether she or me. So I told her, I’ve been looking at the marriage vows of the Christians. The best I read was “To love, to hold and to cherish, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, till death do us part.” I told her I would try and keep you company for as long as I can. She understood. “
“How do I comfort myself? Well I say life is just like that.” He compared the stress of her condition to the stress he faced when Singapore was kicked out of Malaysia. “That’s intense stress and it’s over but this is stress which goes on. “
He finds a measure of solace through meditation which he learnt from a friend whose wife later died from cancer. His views on the after-life? “Well what is next, I do not know. Nobody ever came back.”
“I started it (meditation) about two or three years ago when the Chief Investment Officer of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, I knew, he was doing meditation. His wife died but he was completely serene. So I said , how do you achieve this? He said I meditate everyday and so did my wife when she was dying of cancer, she was totally serene because she meditated every day and he gave me a video of her in her last few weeks completed composed, completely relaxed and she and him and been meditating for years.
Well I said to him, you teach me. His is a devout Christian. He was taught by a man called Laurence Freeman, a Catholic. His guru was John Main a devout Catholic… in fact he is coming to visit Singapore and we will have a meditation session. The problem is to keep the mind from running off into all kinds of thoughts. It is most difficult to stay focussed on the mantra. The discipline is to have a mantra which you keep repeating in your innermost heart, no need to voice it over and over again throughout the whole period of meditation. The mantra they recommended was a religious one, Ma Ra Na Ta, four syllables. Come to Me Oh Lord Jesus. So I said Okay, I am not a Catholic, but I will try. .. so I used Ma Ran Na Ta. .. You must be disciplined and I find it helps me go to sleep after that.
I am not converted. “
The above was extracted from Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s interview with the New York Times just before his 87th birthday in 2010 from the Singapore Today Newspaper dated September 13, 2010.
It is my prayer today and for the forseeable future, for the whole Lee family (Mr and Mrs Lee Kuan Yew, including our present Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong and his family, the younger brother Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his family and their sister Ms Lee Wei Ling) that the Lord Jesus will indeed come to and draw each one of them to Himself .
Even so Lord Jesus, please come to them in Your own special way. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.
I hope all the Christian readers on Christian Blessings will join me in this prayer for Singapore’s first family.
Note to our foreign readers… Mr Lee Kuan Yew is our Minister Mentor and for many years the man who defined Singapore as its Prime Minister since independence – he is father of our present Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and is well respected by many of the political and business leaders in the world including the USA, China, Russia, Europe.