Why overseas S'poreans love Singapore

Not so long ago, the Government wrung its hands over whether Singaporeans who went overseas were stayers or quitters.

Overseas Singaporeans, including myself at the time, responded that we should be seen as "ambassadors" and not "traitors".

The grief that Singaporeans overseas showed over former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's death speaks volumes ("Tears flow as S'poreans abroad gather to watch funeral"; Monday, and "Overseas citizens prepare to watch live telecast of funeral"; Sunday).

Overseas Singaporeans do not love or miss Singapore because of laksa or chicken rice.

What they treasure is the vision of Mr Lee and the political will of his team to stamp out corruption, racism and plutocracy, to build a country that is as meritocratic and successful as possible.

Far from being quitters, Singaporeans overseas are, in fact, better placed than most to see the scourge of poor governance.

They know Singapore is a place where they have plenty of liberties, even if these are not part of textbook "democracy".

There are, of course, naysayers.

We all know Mr Lee had a very hard way of dealing with people he felt were bent on destroying his favourite "child", Singapore.

I ask these naysayers to look around and see if they can find the perfect leader, who has done everything right and is appreciated by all segments of society.

Look at the countries who have shaky governing institutions and no rule of law. These countries are ruled by autocrats who hold the factions together with brutality and bribes.

And once these autocrats are gone, the countries descend into factional fighting and worse.

Saying "thank you" is an inadequate way to show our appreciation to Mr Lee. Still, we thank him for the Singapore we (including those living abroad) call home.

Agnes Sng (Ms)

This article was first published on April 1, 2015.
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