It was seven o’clock yesterday morning. The queue at Parliament House was one and a half hours long.
Fast forward to six o’clock last evening. The queue became eight hours long… and it extended all the way to the Raffles City Shopping Centre.
This morning at 7am, the waiting time in the queue was seven hours – but by noon, it had increased slightly to 8 hours’ waiting time.
Singaporeans have lots of respect for Mr Lee
Yes, Singaporeans queued to pay their last respects to Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s Founding Father and the very first Prime Minister of our island nation. Mr Lee became Prime Minister in 1959 and during his 31-year reign, he was the architect behind many significant changes in Singapore’s history, such as the separation from Malaysia in 1965. He played an important part in transforming Singapore from a third-world fishing port to the cosmopolitan city that Singapore is today.
Mr Lee passed away on Monday at 3.18am – at the age of 91 years old.
Waiting in a long queue to say “goodbye” showed that Singaporeans really cared about the passing of Mr Lee.
Said Josephine Seet, 55, who works in drafting, “I really respect Mr Lee and whatever he has done for Singapore. We will miss him very much. He was a very brave man with such a strong character and we can learn a lot from him.”
Added Kee Rui Jie, 28, an accountant, “As the founding father of Singapore, he delegated his whole life to our nation and the service of Singapore, which is a very sacrificial thing to do. I hope that we, as the next generation, will be able to strive to be someone like him so that Singapore will continue to have a good future ahead.”
Eternally grateful to Mr Lee for making Singapore into a safe place to live
For others, they are eternally grateful to Mr Lee, in how he has made Singapore into such a safe place for them and their families. Said Dave Ho, 34, an engineer, “I am so grateful to Mr Lee for making Singapore a better place for younger generations like me. All because of him, my family and I, as well as everyone else living here in Singapore, are quite pampered and we will all continue to work to make sure it stays this way. Though I am not from the pioneer generation, I really respect Mr Lee a lot and I just hope that he will be able to rest in peace now, after everything that he has done for all of us.”
Look up to Mr Lee for how he has transformed the island state
Some Singaporeans also look up to Mr Lee in terms of how he has successfully transformed the nation from a small fishing port into a successful first-world metropolis. Said Patrick Soh, 45, who is unemployed, “I admire how he managed to transform Singapore from a third world nation into a first world country. As a Singaporean I am grateful for everything that he has done ever since the 1990s until the day of his passing. He faced many problems and obstacles along his path to success but he has managed to overcome everything for Singapore’s sake – and I look up to him for that.”
Agreed Min Seah, who is unemployed and in his 50s, “Without him, Singapore would not be able to succeed and get to where it is today. So I am very proud of Mr Lee. He is a really intelligent person, to be able to tell exactly what we need to do in order to go forward in the direction that we have gone. Singapore has lost a great leader and there will never be another one like him.”
Respect for Mr Lee also extends to Malaysians across the Causeway
The respect and admiration for Mr Lee isn’t just amongst Singaporeans alone. It also extends to across the causeway – as many Malaysians have migrated to Singapore and have since made our island nation their home. One of these Malaysians is Ng Kee Meng, 36, who works in facility management. Said Ng, “I am a Malaysian, but I have lived in Singapore for more than 10 years. I think Mr Lee is a great leader and without him, there would be no Singapore like we know today. There is no doubt about that. Mr Lee has also created a very harmonious and peaceful country with all the races and religions living together without conflict, which is an admirable thing to achieve.”
“I felt really sad when Mr Lee passed away but I am eternally grateful for everything he has done for Singapore. If it were not for him, I would not have been able to get my comfortable job here and a nice place to call home today.”
Confident of Singapore’s continued success in the near future to come
And Ng is confident that Singapore will continue to be successful, at least in the next 50 years. He said, “I think what Mr Lee has left behind is very lasting and every Singaporean will be able to carry on his legacy and continue what he has left off.”
Agreed 61-year-old Singaporean retiree, Goh Yong Tian, “The prospects for the future of Singapore are definitely good because a solid foundation has already been built by Mr Lee. I believe that Singaporeans will go forward based on what Mr Lee has left behind and continue to create a solid fundamental base for Singapore to see further success.”
As at 11pm last night, a total of 147,791 people have paid respect to Mr Lee at Parliament House.
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