Way back in 1969 or 1970, when I was eight or nine years old, my uncle, my mother and a few other relatives went to the old Satay Club at the Esplanade for dinner.
After dinner, we walked along the beautiful Queen Elizabeth Walk, somewhere near where the Esplanade theatre is today.
As a young boy then, I listened to what my uncle had to say as he pointed out to sea: "This man, he wants to put lots of soil out there and build tall buildings and have trains running underground. This man is crazy, mad, silly! It cannot happen!"
I wondered who "this man" was, and finally understood it to be none other than our first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
Today, if my uncle were still alive, he would be shocked to see Suntec City, Marina Bay Sands, South Beach and many other skyscrapers, as well as the Promenade, Esplanade and Marina Bay MRT stations - all built on reclaimed land.
How wrong my uncle was.
It was from the year of that dinner onwards that I developed an interest in Mr Lee. I admire him as a great leader, and he will be dearly missed by all Singaporeans.
I thank him for making Singapore what it is today.
Each time I walk past the Esplanade, I will remember his great vision.
I hope to one day tell the story I heard as a child from my uncle to my grandchildren.
This article was first published on March 26, 2015.
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