If you were to ask them who has left the greatest impact on their lives, many famous leaders will readily tell you: “My mother” or “My wife”.
Singapore’s founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, for instance, was known for his wisdom and assessment of situations and people around him. Yet, in the eulogy he gave on his wife’s passing, he paid tribute to her significant contribution to his achievements.
“She helped me draft the constitution of the PAP,” he said. “For the inaugural meeting at Victoria Memorial Hall on 4 November 1954, she gathered the wives of the founder members to sew rosettes for those who were going on stage. . . . She had an uncanny ability to read the character of a person. She would sometimes warn me to be careful of certain persons; often, she turned out to be right.”
Indeed, women’s contributions have been integral to Singapore’s story of success. This year, the government has declared 2021 as the Year of Celebrating SG Women. It wants to honour the many important roles that women play in our society today, as part of a bigger aim to debunk stereotypes, change mindsets, and support and uplift women.
This idea of celebrating women’s contributions to society is not new. We read it in the ancient wisdom of Proverbs 31:31: “Honour her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”
This woman expresses her reverence for God in three main areas.
She manages her money well (Proverbs 31:16, 24), earning an income, and investing it carefully.
She’s generous with “the poor and opens her arms to the needy” (v. 20).
And she works diligently (v. 17), keeping long hours (vv. 15, 18) such that her work benefits those in her household and beyond (vv. 20, 24). She also plans ahead (v. 21) and shows much resourcefulness (vv.13–14).
Do you know such a person in your life? Let’s find creative and meaningful ways to honour them today.
Lord, thank You for the women You’ve put in my life
who have nurtured and cared for me,
helping me to be who I am today.
Help me to honour them today.