I remember certain memorable snippets of conversation during his wake, told mainly by others, friends. A couple of examples, paraphrased:
“Can you imagine someone like JBJ now, with his Brit-accented English, who’d captured not just the imagination, but also the votes of the mainly Hokkien-speaking Chinese Singaporeans in Anson back in ’81? Wow…an enigma.” (actually we sort of discovered how and why this happened…so…)
“Did you hear his little laugh in the middle of a sentence? Especially in that video, ‘One Nation Under Lee’.” – my friend then imitates it, Brit accent and all – “Lee [Kuan Yew]…heheh [chuckles]…must have read Machiavelli.”
Some of us laughed at this, others just smiled.
Banners at his wake. They read “From: Anson, Hougang, Potong Pasir supporters.”
(Photo courtesy of Jacob’s Weblog)
The Man from Anson – poem by Patrick Low, 1996. At JBJ’s wake.
(Photo courtesy of Rachel Absinthe)
Vigil in memorial of JBJ, Speakers’ Corner, 4 October.
(Photo courtesy of Thomas T.)
Here are some blogs that covered the funeral and immediate aftermath, ranging from the straightforward to the more analytical. There’s even an academic paper.
A legacy that will always be an inspiration: A tribute to JBJ (Sgpolitics.net) – in which E-Jay remembers how his personal encounters with JBJ spoke more volumes about the real man to him, much more than what the mainstream Singaporean media could distort or convey.
J B Jeyaretnam: The iconography begins (Yawning Bread) – in which Alex Au discusses JBJ’s enduring significance and how the margins of history would always conquer the ‘centre’ in the long run.
A week of sadness – and hope (TOC) – in which Andrew Loh ruminates on his experiences around the events from JBJ’s wake to the weekend of his funeral. He mentions his response to the prime minister’s so-called condolence letter, the spontaneous singing of the Singapore national anthem at his cremation ceremony, and a hope that Singaporeans – more and more of us – carry on his legacy.
*MUST READ* From Zero to Hero: Reinstating a Singapore Icon (Opinion Asia) – in which Terence Chong deconstructs the state’s re-construction of JBJ’s life for its own nation-building agenda. He calls nation-building projects “exercises in cognitive dissonance on a grand scale”, and warns against losing remembrance of JBJ’s true values and beliefs such as pluralist democracy, human rights and press freedom – and of allowing the very institutions that he fought against to re-define, re-interpret and sanitise them.
JBJ’s was the good fight (Malaysia Insider) – in which JBJ’s great-nephew from across the Causeway attempts to get to the heart of JBJ the fighter, lawyer, politician, and human being. He takes apart Singapore’s sad state of politics; and although he is realistic in his assessment, he nevertheless ends with a hopeful note about Singaporeans.
J B Jeyaretnam: Three decades as Lee Kuan Yew’s bete noir (Jacob’s Weblog) – An embed and link to a paper written by Michael D. Barr.
J.B. Jeyaretnam (The Economist) – Trust this publication, one that I don’t normally read, to have such a succinct title about the man. And speaking of the man – the last sentence of the piece is worth the price of the whole magazine in hardcopy (even for those who detest the mag and all that it stands for).