(Speech by Penang Chief Minister and DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng on the occasion of his father Lim Kit Siang’s 75th birthday celebrations in Equatorial Hotel, Penang on 20 Feb 2016)
This is one of my most emotional speeches I am giving on behalf of my family, my party the Democratic Action Party and many Malaysians to pay tribute in commemoration of Lim Kit Siang’s 75th birthday party.
I am also speaking as a son, the first-born to his father, a son who gave him much anguish and anxiety as well as I hope joy and pride.
I wish to start as a son together with my two sisters Hui Ming, Hui Ying, my brother Dr Lim Guan Choon and also my dearest Mom.
No words can express our honour and blessings to have you as our father principally because we never have to doubt nor question your love for us.
You were always giving and generous and unstinting in your love that we know that even if the whole world was against us, you were always there for us.
Yes, you were never always there for us but your presence brought both solace and comfort, courage and strength to continue and the inner confidence that doing the right thing is the only thing that matters.
Even when you were in prison and when we were too young to understand, we felt your love for us.
My first recollection of you under detention, was in a Selangor prison cell in prison clothes whilst being detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
You hugged us tightly and when we had to depart, you stood behind bars sadly and lovingly watching us leave.
We were all crying then and did not understand why we had to leave you behind. I never understood why you could not come home with us.
I knew how you felt 20 years later, when I was detained and had to watch my own children crying whilst leaving me behind after a prison visit.
Your love and Mom’s love were the rock we relied on to be where we are today.
Thank you Dad for taking care and loving us. We love you!
You are the bedrock for the DAP, the source of inspiration and fountain of hope for many members and leaders.
Nearly every party member of DAP joined and stayed on in the DAP because of you Kit and other leaders – because you dared to venture where even angels fear to tread.
Even in the darkest of days and the worst of times, the party never broke up because of the faith we had in you.
We could be detained by BN or be defeated in the general elections but we never lost hope in DAP.
You symbolised both courage, principles and a better Malaysia with rights, freedom, democracy and justice.
We never gave up because you never surrendered.
For Malaysians, you are a legend who have given them so much with a sacred promise of a better tomorrow.
When all hope is lost and filled with despair, you somehow injected courage and faith in us to pick ourselves up and fight on.
By the dint of your example, hard work, fortitude, far-sighted vision and intelligence as well as unmatchable political acumen, you impressed both friends and foes, allies and enemies.
In fact, Malaysia would be in a far worse state without you.
But how do you measure a man’s worth?
Is it in his life contributions, his family’s love and passion, in the lives of the many he touched and changed for the better or in the accolades of his admirers and the praises of his opponents?
If that is the yardstick, Dad, you have matched them all with flying colours.
But I would think that another important gauge would be the ability to inspire and motivate future generations to travel the same path after him, to do better and scale greater heights for a better tomorrow.
You are the pioneer who opened up new possibilities for us to consolidate and build on.
Your ability to make us believe that we can perform better than we feel we are capable of, makes you stand out.
And we here, who are all the younger generation of DAP and Malaysian leaders, is the best testimony of your success to build a generation of tomorrow leaders to keep the torch of the future burning bright.
As Plato said, “It is no shame for a child to be afraid of the dark, the real tragedy is when a man or woman is afraid of the light.”
Thank you Kit for making us bravely revel in the light!
Happy 75th Birthday and we will celebrate many more birthdays ahead.