While Singapore mourned the loss of her founding father and first prime minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew the past week, the artistic community also mourns the loss of two giants in their own right, Nobel-winning Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer and British composer-pianist Ronald Stevenson.
I never thought that I’d feel sad about the passing of someone I had not known personally, but strangely, as I stood with the rest of my Esplanade colleagues along the road in ponchos, drenched from the heavy rain while waiting for Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s cortege to pass, it struck me that without Mr Lee’s foresight and innovation, Singapore would not be what it is today; and among many other things, I would probably not have had exposure to the arts, the opportunity to learn music, and the chance to combine my passion for music and the arts in such a wonderfully varied job.
So thank you, Mr Lee, for all you have done, and may you rest in peace. Your legacy will always be remembered.
“It is still beautiful to hear the heart beat
but often the shadow seems more real than the body.
The samurai looks insignificant
beside his armor of black dragon scales.”
– from ‘After a death’ by Tomas Transtromer
and a video of my professor Kenneth Hamilton playing his teacher Ronald Stevenson’s Fantasy on Britten’s Peter Grimes.