Now that our founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew is gone, what about his house at Oxley Road? What will happen to his house? If I’m not mistaken, he did mention in no uncertain terms that the house should be demolished to make way for developments when he’s gone. He did not wish that his house be preserved at the expense of under-utilization of precious land. He would prefer the land where his house is sited and the surrounding area be freed for optimal utilization! After all, it’s prime land where every inch is gold.
Mr Lee’s wish for the ultimate disposal of his house need to be respected. But before that, I feel that the house ought to be refurnished and open up for public viewing for a limited period of time before it’s demolished. The old bungalow where Mr Lee lived most of his entire adult life also need to be meticulously documented for posterity before it’s gone. In the event that Mr Lee’s old house at Oxley Road is open to the public, I suggest a nominal fee of $10 be charged for visitors with the Pioneer Generation and students paying half the rate. The money collected could be donated to charity like the Students Pocket fund for needy students or presented to the library. Mr Lee used to donate to our public library.
The above suggestion is a win-win situation. The public curiosity could be assuaged and at the same time doing a good deed via donating the collection to charity to accumulate merits for Mr Lee. I believe it will be resounding success if Mr Lee’s old house is open for public viewing. We could see for ourselves the overwhelming response from the public when Mr Lee’s Red Box is displayed at the museum. Long queues were formed when the public got wind of the Red Box display prompting the authority to extend visting hours to cater to the unexpected huge crowd. Mr Lee’s book; “One Man’s Views” also hogged the current Bestsellers List at bookstores selling like hot cakes. As such, we could expect huge crowd to swamp Oxley Road right up to Orchard Road if his house is declared open for public viewing.
The insatiable appetite of the public for Mr Lee’s legacy is not surprising at all. Up to now, most of us do not really know how Mr Lee lived his frugal life in the old bungalow. We could only see the house from the outside. The public could not get near to the heavily guarded house. Even non-residents of the neighborhood are not allowed to pass by the house. But when a photo of his living room cum dinning room is circulated on line, it went viral. Some of the netizens even started comparing his living room with some other VIP’s luxurious opulent living room setting!
Do consider the suggestion to open up Mr Lee’s house for public viewing before it’s erased from the public mind forever. I’m sure many of us would like to take pictures of ourselves with frens and family members as a memento in Mr Lee’s house for remembrance even if it’s a wee bit of his legacy where we could treasure and keep for eternity. Pls do not deprive us Singaporeans of this privilege.