ReTRIeVIA

:: trivia retrieved ::

Mr E. W. Barker

In the last few weeks [note: in year 2001], the papers carried several reports about Mr E. W. Barker’s life. Mr Barker was much respected and highly regarded by all who knew him. You can read some background about him and his contributions to Singapore’s development in the book, “Lee’s Lieutenants” (Lam, P.E. & Tan, K.Y.L.; 1999; Allen & Unwin).

On Page 83 of this book MrBarker describes his heritage as, “You could say I am 25% German, 25% Indonesian, 12.5% Japanese, and 25% Scottish and 12.5% Irish”. To that we could add, “100% Singaporean”.

You probably would have guessed that the ‘Lee’ in the book title, “Lee’s Lieutenants” refers to Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Like Mr Lee, Mr Barker was also a well-known lawyer. Lawyers, of course, fight for their clients in court cases.

Page 85 of the book records that Mr Barker once represented Mr Lee in an accident case. This is what Mr Barker recollects of the case.

“The accident occurred at Middle Road sometime in the 1950s. Lee was a most difficult client. He refused to keep quiet and took over the cross-examination. We nearly lost. Lucky for me we didn’t.”

Another interesting part of this book recounts how Mr Barker became involved in politics. In Page 85 he said, “Lee was very interested in politics but I was not. I was much more interested in sports”. So, why did he join politics?

On Page 86, Mr Barker recalled, I joined for Singapore. I was born, bred, educated here.

There’s a feeling of attachment and loyalty. Besides being an accomplished sportsman, scholar and statesman he also loved music. He loved playing the guitar and a favourite song was, “Enjoy Yourself”. If I remember correctly the words of the song go like this:

Chorus: Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.
Enjoy yourself, while you’re still in the pink.
The years go by, as quickly as a wink.
Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.
You work and work, for year and years,
You’re always on the go,
You never take a holiday,
You’re busy making dough.
You say you’ll have your fun,
When you have made your pile.
Imagine all the fun you’ll have,
In your old r-r-rockingchair!
Repeat : Enjoy yourself, etc.

Great song. Great man. Rest in peace, Mr Barker.

Re-trievia recalled: Excerpts from Year 2001
Tan Wee Kiat

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Written by Ivan Chew

19 October, 2007 at 10:16 pm

Posted in Year 2001

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