Madam Kwa and her glasses

Images of Mr Lee Kuan Yew‘s beloved wife, Madam Kwa Geok Choo, have shown up very frequently in articles, videos, reports after the passing away of the great man.

Apparently Madam Kwa had been a great partner, adviser and assistant to Mr Lee. As a highly-educated woman, she also led a successful career as a lawyer and made great contributions to Singapore.

In most of the photos of Kwa across all her life span, she wore glasses and smiled elegantly. The black and white photos that were taken while she was at her 20s and 30s are especially impressive. The glasses nicely brought out this woman’s inner sense of intelligence, independence and a little bit of determination, which is a great definition of feminism for smart young woman like her during that era. At a time when educated Asian women like Kwa were still not very common, these glasses are no doubt a symbol of modernity and surpass their actual practical purposes.

Kwa’s glasses reminded me of Coco Chanel‘s little black jacket — probably invented around the same time when these black and white photos of young Kwa were taken. While just like how the little black jacket has been consistently reinvented in the new world of post/neo/hyper modernity, the feminism that was defined by Kwa’s glasses has also rapidly moved to a new and exciting stage.

Here is a fresh example of that:

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However I probably wouldn’t remember as clearly about Hillary’s glasses after flicking through any article full of her with glasses.

Back to the topic, this is my favorite photo of Madam Kwa:

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Source

— To memorise this amazing woman who had set up a great precedent of woman behind a great man, also to celebrate many other women who are standing or about to stand right in front of every other man.

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