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Remembering Mr Lee Kuan Yew
PCF remembers our Founding Prime Minister for all the things he has done for Singapore and in particular, for PCF. Mr Lee Kuan Yew was a great man and a visionary. Mr Lee and the other Founding Fathers of modern Singapore saw the need to lift Singaporean families out of the poverty cycles in the early days through education. The PAP Branches then started kindergartens that were accessible and affordable for all children. PCF has grown since then educating over 1.2 million children to date.
His love and support for PCF was evident from then till now. As the Branch Chairman for PCF Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru and through his personal efforts in fundraising, he helped to set up three kindergartens and one childcare centre in the Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru constituency.
One of the most notable memories of Mr Lee was during the opening of a PCF kindergarten at the Pinnacle@Duxton on 15 August 2010. This kindergarten was built to meet the demand for preschool services for young families living in Tanjong Pagar.
On the evening of 15 August 2010, PCF students and their families along with fellow residents were very excited and elated to have Mr Lee Kuan Yew officiate the opening of the Centre. A group of PCF children prepared a short presentation on Mr Lee and what he had had done for Singapore. The children also took the chance to interact with him and ask him questions.
One child asked where Mr Lee lived and he laughed with everyone when another child answered on his behalf, exclaiming that he lived in Tanjong Pagar! He then, in a grandfatherly manner, told the children he lived in Oxley Road, near Orchard Road.
Another child asked why Mr Lee decided to open the kindergarten in Tanjong Pagar. He then put the answer in a candid and simple way to make sure the young audience could understand him. He told them that for the longest time there was no children living in Tanjong Pagar, and then they came! So he had to build a kindergarten for them.
Finally, one child asked, “Mr Lee, why did you build Singapore?” To this simple question, he smiled and replied, “So you would have a place to live!” After the heart-warming session with the children, Mr Lee also took time to pen his wishes for the children. He wrote “Wish all of you a bright and happy future”.
Those moments of Mr Lee interacting with the young children would be treasured as it gave the picture of how a Great Founder has touched the lives of the many young generations after his. Till this day, Mr Lee’s wish for our PCF children is preciously framed and displayed at the centre.
Aligned to his belief that PCF should provide preschool programmes of a high quality, he agreed to work in collaboration with Etonhouse to run a PCF Childcare Centre at Tanjong Pagar. He announced this at the Tanjong Pagar National Day Dinner on 16 August 2013. He said …..
“I am also happy to announce this evening, the establishment of a new PCF pre-school in Tanjong Pagar called Hampton@Tanjong Pagar… this will allow parents in Tanjong Pagar to send their children to a pre-school that will give the children a strong foundation in both English as well as Chinese. Hampton@Tanjong Pagar will provide high quality early childhood programmes at affordable prices to young families living in the Tanjong Pagar–Tiong Bahru constituency. It will offer a holistic and integrated curriculum, an innovative second language programme in Mandarin, and a learning environment that caters to all domains of child development”.
It was again evident of how Mr Lee, as the Branch Chairman for PCF Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru, was always thinking of the young generation and their needs.
All PCF centres are encouraged to share with our children on Mr Lee and all the things he did in his entire life for Singapore. Children can make cards and crafted flowers, and organised to visit the nearest Community Tribute Sites to pay their respect and for Teachers to share such teachable moments. We are all grateful for what Mr Lee did for every Singaporean and every child.
We take this time to celebrate his life and achievements and his vision of a bright future for our children through the quality preschool education that PCF provides, giving them a head start in life.