Week 45 (Tuesday): Force of Life

Week45_Tu

“Then after Moses grew up, his faith made him refuse to be called Pharaoh’s grandson. He chose to be mistreated with God’s people instead of having the good time that sin could bring for a little while. Moses knew that the treasures of Egypt were not as wonderful as what he would receive from suffering for the Messiah, and he looked forward to his reward.” Hebrews 11:24-26

How does one become a force of life?

A Force of Life does not feel inferior.

It can be said that Lee Kuan Yew is a man of his time. He lived in a time when colonialism and imperialism were the factors that determined the trajectory of countries and territories. He lived during the time when Singapore was a British colony. And at the age of 19, he witnessed first-hand the cruelty of Japanese imperialism during the Second World War. He lived in a time when being Chinese and Singaporean meant being perceived to be inferior to the colonial masters and subordinate to the imperial invaders.

Lee Kuan Yew once recalled that he himself should have been killed by the Japanese imperial soldiers as a huge number of taller and larger built Chinese Singaporeans were ordered to dig their own graves and were then killed by being shot from behind. He was about to board the lorry that would have brought him to his death when he was allowed to board the next day instead. This proved to be a game-changer for him when a sudden change of Japanese imperial officers the next day ultimately led to his life being spared.

The death and destruction brought about by war almost stole his future away from him. The toxicity of pessimism and doubt that pervaded during his youth seemed to have the power to define his destiny. Lee Kuan Yew, after the war, had the opportunity to study in London and there he thought that even the greatest of empires can come to an end. Post-war London was a place that allowed Lee Kuan Yew to reflect on freedom and what it means to take a stand for one’s homeland. As a Chinese Singaporean, he felt unwelcomed in London as he experienced first-hand how the Westerners perceived themselves as superior over the people from the Orient. Lee Kuan Yew said that in the midst of a different culture, he did not see himself as being inferior in any way. He fought bigotry with pride over his own Oriental roots and unmatched diligence as a student. He was never ashamed for being a man of Eastern heritage in a period when his country has not proven anything yet to the world.

He eventually returned to Singapore. As a passionate young man who had gained wisdom from his first-hand experience of the Second World War as well as his time as a student in London, he found himself becoming the leader of a country without natural resources and a post-colonial people without a common identity. Fast forward today, Singapore is now a nation of the future where what were once impossibilities have become the norm. It is a city-state that represents the future aspirations of mankind. All that Singapore achieved over five decades would not have happened if the man who was called to lead the “against all odds” journey of his country was a man who saw himself inferior to everyone else around him. There is dignity and nobility that comes with being able to stand by one’s people especially during the worst of times.

Moses was a prince of one of the most powerful kingdoms in the history of mankind but by faith he refused to be called Pharaoh’s grandson and instead chose to be mistreated with his the people of his own race. Moses was not lured by the accoutrements of Egyptian royal life. He saw that to journey with the God of his forebears Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was a much greater reward. Such is a Force of Life. He is an individual who does not allow his fear and the societal notions of power and prestige to define what he is and what he can do. He is driven by a heavenly fire. He is led by an understanding the world around his can never define him and, on the contrary, the world within him is what will transform the world around him no matter the darkness and the destruction.

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