Singapore starts tree planting drive to mark 100th birth anniversary of founding father Lee Kuan Yew

The city-state of Singapore began this weekend a greening drive that will see 10,000 trees planted to honour the birth centenary of founding father Lee Kuan Yew. Known informally as “LKY”, he was born on September 16, 1923, and died on March 23, 2015.

The famed Singapore skyline of shiny tall buildings is complemented by green spaces like the Telok Blangah Hill Park. Picture courtesy:

Lee Kuan Yew, who served as the first Prime Minister of Singapore for 31 years (1959-1990), is credited with turning Singapore into a dynamic and highly disciplined city-state, now one of the world’s most visited cities.

Lee Kuan Yew aka LKY at the National Day Parade of Singapore in 2012. Photo courtesy:

The greening drive is part of the People’s Action Party (PAP) plans — under the umbrella of ‘LKY100’ — to mark the visionary founder’s birth centenary with a series of activities.

The nationwide initiative ‘Tree Planting Days’ was launched yesterday by Lawrence Wong, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) of Singapore, at Jalan Besar GRC. He was joined by other politicians and about 100 local residents. Together, they planted 100 trees “at the green spaces around Saint George’s Lane”.

A PAP article on the party website said that the tree planting was “in commemoration of Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy of a green and sustainable Singapore” and will continue in a staggered manner over several months, covering various parts of the island.

Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong (left) launched the tree planting initiative on May 7, at Jalan Besar GRC. Photo courtesy:

Lee Kuan Yew is not only the founding father, but is also informally known as the “chief gardener” of Singapore — he introduced the country’s first largescale tree planting campaign in 1963 and presented the “Garden City” vision in May 1967. Present-day Singapore is known for its skyscrapers but has also invested in healthy green spaces, including tourist attractions such as the elevated walkways at Telok Blangah Hill Park.

A Singapore government website dedicated to remembering Lee Kuan Yew quoted him as saying in a 2011 interview, “I have spent my life, so much of it, building up this country. There’s nothing more that I need to do. At the end of the day, what have I got? A successful Singapore. What have I given up? My life.”

People’s Action Party lists ‘Tree Planting Days’ programmes

In its report on yesterday’s tree plantation drive, the PAP article quoted DPM Wong as saying, “Mr Lee devoted his life entirely to building Singapore and advancing the well-being of all Singaporeans. His ideals and convictions shaped the mission of the People’s Action Party from its beginning, and helped to raise living standards for successive generations of Singaporeans.

“In these challenging times, I hope the same ideals and values will inspire a new generation of Singaporeans — to face the future with guts and gumption, to continue defying the odds, and to build a better Singapore together.”

The birth centenary of Lee Kuan Yew is being marked with LKY100 initiatives, including community dialogues and public programmes. Photo courtesy:

Wong said that the LKY100 initiatives would include community dialogues and public programmes. The PAP website lists ‘Tree Planting Days’ programmes in several places, to be held over the next few months in the run-up to the 100th birth anniversary of Lee Kuan Yew.

The Straits Times has reported that the first tree planted under the initiative was a Pink Mempat tree, which was the same kind of tree that Lee Kuan Yew had planted during the first greening drive 60 years ago.