Thursday 26 March 2015

Is there a wrong way to pay tribute to Lee Kuan Yew?

After Mr Lee Kuan Yew's death on Monday, the organisers of the 2XU Compression Run posted this on Facebook:

In light of the passing of the founding Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, an official announcement will be...
Posted by 2XU Compression Run on Sunday, March 22, 2015

The run was scheduled to take place on Sunday, but that turned out to be also the day of the funeral.

What should the organisers do? Should they call off the run out of respect for LKY?

There could also be logistical issues since roads have to be closed for the run and the funeral.

But what about foreign runners who had already booked accomodations and flights to Singapore for the run?

I had signed up for the run too.

Some suggested that since the event shirt is black anyway, the run could be turned into a tribute to Mr Lee.

I actually thought that was a good idea, especially after the call to get 5 million people to wear black on Sunday to mourn for LKY went viral.

Picture thousands of black-wearing runners going the distance in memory of Mr Lee on the morning of his funeral. The shirt colour, the timing and the symbolism couldn't be more perfect.

But I figured the organisers needed to get some form of official blessing to make it a legitimate tribute, like, say, from Mr Lawrence Wong, who heads the Ministry for Culture, Community and Youth, which looks after sports.

But on Tuesday, the organisers wisely decided to postpone the event:

After serious consideration, we have decided to postpone this Sunday's run because it will coincide with the state...
Posted by 2XU Compression Run on Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What I find odd is that if you don't wish to participate in the rescheduled run, the organisers won't give you a refund, but you'll get the 21km finisher T-shirt – despite not running a single metre. That doesn't seem right to me.

At least the organisers didn't arbitrarily turn their run into some LKY thing, unlike one Minister of State, whose Facebook post I've embedded below:

In the Crossfit community, they named workouts after heroes. A practice I thought is rather meaningful especially for...
Posted by Teo Ser Luck on Monday, March 23, 2015

But Mr Teo Ser Luck wasn't the only one criticised for his unconventional LKY commemmoration. BreakTalk ended up apologising for its #RememberingLKY "commemorative" bun.

We would like to convey our deepest apologies with regard to the commemorative bun #rememberingLKY which was introduced...
Posted by BreadTalk® Singapore on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

At what point does an LKY tribute become inappropriate or, worse, exploitative?

Or just plain silly?

Tuesday was Gurmit Singh's birthday. So he decided to "dedicate" his birthday to LKY:

Wait, since when can you dedicate your birthday to someone else? I know Phua Chu Kang means well, but really?

And one guy turned his hot car into an LKY tribute on wheels.

I think it's a Lotus. Now that's a fast and furiously big fan of LKY.

Get your own LKY tribute car decals for free here:

And then there are the LKY T-shirts for sale online.

$16.90 at

$25 at

$29.90 at

Like the 2XU Compression Run finisher tee, you don't have to run a half marathon to get these shirts.


Ask BreadTalk.

I dedicate this blog post to LKY.

UPDATE: Wear black or white?