For someone who hates queuing, I joined hundreds and thousands of Singaporeans to queue for hours under hot sun at the Padang to pay last respects for a mere 10 seconds to the man with the most famous initials in Singapore, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
This afternoon, the day of his state funeral, it was rather poignant that Mr Lee’s final journey through the streets of Singapore include my home estate of Queenstown which falls under the Tanjong Pagar Constituency of which Mr Lee had been MP for decades. (Pictured above from the third floor of Faith Methodist Church, the cortege as seen on Commonwealth Drive outside Commonwealth MRT station). Watching hundreds of residents braving heavy rain to line the streets and “send him off” was really heartwarming.
This past week, seeing Singaporeans of all ages, regardless of race, language or religion, braving sun and rain just to pay respects to the nation’s founding father (who passed away on March 23) not just at the Padang but also at tribute centres set up across the island, has been heartening. Not forgetting the many Singaporeans overseas who were able to tune in to the week’s proceedings through online means and sharing their thoughts via social media as well.
Yet, I know there are Singaporeans out there who hate him with venom and would not hesitate to say so to all and sundry…
I admit it, the man is not perfect. I myself don’t agree with all of his policies and beliefs, I do think some of the insensitive things he’d said should have been left unsaid, and, yes, he had been rather harsh to some of his opponents. One thing I do hold against him for sure is that, being one of the MPs for Tanjong Pagar, he WAS primarily the reason why I never had a chance to vote in the general elections for the last 20+ years as we always get walkovers!
But let’s give credit where credit’s due: without this man, Singapore would not be the successful country that it is today. For us who were born in this tiny red dot, we would not have a country to call our own, we would not have a place to call home. “Look around you,” as PM Lee Hsien Loong said this afternoon at the funeral service (inbetween holding back tears of a grieving son.) LKY’s achievements for Singapore are clear to see.
So thank you, Mr Lee, for your legacy. There won’t be another man quite like you. RIP, Sir…
(Photo: The Straits Times, 28 Mar 2015 by Desmond Foo)
M49’S PHOTO MUSINGS:
OccupyPadang: Forget the National Day fireworks, forget the F1 night race. The Straits Times front page image above of thousands of people still making their way to the Padang to pay their last respects to Mr Lee (whose body was lying in state at the Parliament House round the corner) late into Friday night says it all. The fact that thousands of Singaporeans, notorious grumblers and complainers, would queue for up to 10 hours in an orderly manner, without complaining, and were actually – whoa – friendly and helpful to each other is truly heartwarming. I think we always knew we had it in us. It just need the death of a great man to bring it out of us in a big way.
Just want to take this opportunity to thank all the army lads and gals, police officers and volunteers who worked so hard in ensuring that the vigil at the Padang went on smoothly.