By: B Goode
In fanfiction, a Marty Stu is a character so perfect as to be annoying. The Marty Stu character is almost always handsome, smart, etc… In short, he is the “perfect” man.
It is one sure way to turn people off from reading a book or watching a movie. And that is why, heroes will always inevitably come with some weaknesses. Superman and his kryptonite; Hulk and his mental issues; Batman and his daddy issues; Catwoman and her lesbian issues; and our new found internet hero, Amos Yee with issues all over the place.
There is no denying that Lee Kuan Yew was a great man. But he wasn’t perfect. In certain things, he could have done better. If you read closely the eulogies and the narration about his life by his children, you could sense that he could have been a better father.
And the stories about his treatment towards his political foes would be a cause for reflection. No doubt we could argue that he had to do what he had to do considering the circumstances, but it would not deflect the fact that Chia Thye Poh was detained for 32 years or that JBJ died a bankrupt.
Or if you looked at his spartan house, you could either see a frugal man or a stingy man.
But what is more important is that when you raise someone up on an improbable pedestal and make him a model of perfection, you are turning him into a Marty Stu and people will get turned-off.
We should remember him as what PM Lee had said; in moderation. And to remember him as a great man who had done a lot for his country but not without his flaws.
So when we are considering on the ways to honour this man, we should remember that he was not superhuman.
And he himself would not want to be iconised so much so that he wanted his house to be demolished so that it would not be turned into a shrine. And yet, there are still people who insisted to preserve it as if to create their own batcave or stark tower to give them a place to worship their hero.
And now they are making a musical about that man. One thing for sure, Jailhouse Rock will definitely not be on the songs list. And Adrian Pang and Sharon Au will be playing LKY and Mrs Lee respectively. You could describe LKY and Mrs Lee anything you want; powerful, pleasant, down-to-earth but handsome and beautiful are definitely not on the list. If this is not one way of turning LKY and his wife into Marty Stu and Mary Sue, I don’t know what is.
We want our heroes to be imperfect. We want our heroes to exhibit some vulnerabilities. Because it would make a better story that despite the imperfections and vulnerabilities, they were able to rise above it all and saved the day.
And here we already have an imperfect hero. He doesn’t need any more embellishments. He doesn’t need a superhero costume made.
He just needs people to know when to just stop.