Singapore lost one of its founding fathers Dr Toh Chin Chye in February 2012. On the flipside though, Singaporeans now have another opportunity to be familiar with another of our founding fathers just as we had been educated of Dr Goh Keng Swee, Mr S. Rajaratnam , Mr Lim Kim San and Madam Kwa Geok Choo after their passing.
Like many of us who have not personally known Dr Toh, we have all been reading about his humble beginnings, principles in life, admirable personality, the sacrifices he made with the various roles he played and his active contributions as a vocal backbencher, which immensely benefited Singapore.
Tributes for Dr Toh poured in from all walks of life. These tributes are testimony of Dr Toh’s invaluable contribution to Singapore’s strong foundation as a young, dynamic and successful nation. The tributes in particular, have brought many of us down the lanes of Singapore’s history and is an eye-opener on how fortunate we are to be the beneficiaries of Dr Toh’s selfless effort.
As with several of our founding generation, Dr Toh also played pivotal roles in the various ministries and was a pillar of support in many of the crucial political decisions and visions made for Singapore. Not surprisingly, Dr Toh was also the founding chairman of the People’s Action Party and it has been quoted that if the lightning in the PAP symbol represented Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the white background referred to Dr Toh Chin Chye with both founding fathers associated to action and purity respectively.
Dr Toh helped to see the party and Singapore through the political turbulence of the 1950s and 1960s in addition to helping the PAP see through the internal struggles between the pro-communist and non-communist members. Dr Toh’s demise is a loss to PAP. The baton passed by him and all of PAP’s founding fathers has to be carried forward amidst a different set of challenges, political and economic environment to bring Singapore to a much greater height and a brighter place for our increasing population and global hub status.
While a vast majority of PAP members have not had the opportunity to work with and be guided by Dr Toh, his belief in collective leadership and experience in leading the Party as well as our Nation would be important in shaping our reflection and plans on how we intend to move forward in this fast paced era with a touch of humility and concern for all Singaporeans. As for the younger generation, awareness of our rich past and strong leadership would lead one and all to a better future and unity.