After three weeks in Singapore, I finally flew back to Buenos Aires last weekend, touching down at the Ministro Pistarini airport on Sunday evening.
When the Emirates air stewardess announced over the intercom that we were able to use our handphones, I turned my phone off airplane mode.
The first piece of news I received was this – a Bloomberg article reporting the passing of Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew.
My heart sank, heavy with grief and sadness.
Lee Kuan Yew’s death, which I only got to know about through an article when still on the airplane, thousands of miles away from home, was hard to take it.
I guess, in that moment, I wished to be with fellow Singaporeans who understood that loss of a man whose impact and influence on both his nation and the world was irrefutable, and cannot be diminished even in death.
His passing is a loss that most Singaporeans, young or old, rich or poor, would personally feel as their own.
(For an updated coverage of Lee Kuan Yew’s passing and the outpouring of responses to it, read the Straits Times’ live blog).
In the past few weeks that I was back in Singapore, essentially Lee Kuan Yew’s lifelong project, I saw the city-nation through both tourist and citizen eyes.
Walking about my homeland, which turns 50 years old this coming August 9th, I found parts of which I identified with, and other parts which seemed strange, foreign and new.