Monday, May 17, 2010

The Patriot

The death of a public figure usually sees books on the person’s life story fly off the shelves.

Not so for some personalities. There’s precious little in the open domain on the life of the Patriot, one of a team of men who charted an unlikely nation’s progress from Third World to First.

Netizens may indeed wonder why that farsighted titan would carry his hard won experiences to his grave. Thus far, the only insights the country’s citizens have about his psyche, temperament and leadership come from stories recounted by his peers or faithful staff officers who had the privilege of his tutorship.

He may have been a public figure, but was a private person by nature. The Patriot was hardwired to slog for the greater good of his countrymen. When he was compos mentis, he is said to have shared his thoughts so future generations would know the background, constraints and context to decisions made in the early years of independence. These were decisions that shaped a people’s future.

It was a timely move as his memory failed him in his later years.

His legacy is massive. Several volumes of oral history (classified S) are said to reside within a ministry on a hill.

The oral history that resulted is a real gem. Because it is classified S, few know or realise that the Patriot took the bold step of recounting his life’s story many years ago.

True to form, the Patriot took nothing for granted. To ensure the volumes would not gather dust for eternity, a select few were told they exist.

If the system wants younger citizens to know how their country's destiny was shaped by their nation’s founding fathers and the sacrifices of its older citizens, steps should be taken to declassify and publicise this rich oral history without delay.

The Patriot chronicled his past for a reason – for us to take a lesson from his life’s journey so we can build a better homeland.


Mike Yeo said...

I'm sure the Patriot will have some life lessons for us as individuals and as a country. And I too, look forward to learning those lessons.

The problem might be, maybe it might deviate slightly (or more) from the narrative some other interests want us to learn, hence we might not see it?

Anonymous said...

I also believe that besides the deviation from dominant interests, what the Patriot said might still be politically sensitive or even controversial in the larger regional geo-political environment.

Hopefully one day the archives will be de-classified and available for scholarly research.

It's likely most of us will not see that day arrive.