Since one of my watsapp friend told my husband and me now that paying our last respect to Mr Lee Kuan Yew is operating 24hrs in the parliament, we decided perhaps should go and pay our last respect to our First Prime Minister. Flooded with media that Mr Lee was our founding father, i feel a more appropriate and sensitive way to address Mr Lee Kuan Yew, he was one of our founding fathers instead. I read that there are other founding fathers of our nation as well besides Mr Lee. See the shot shown below. The so-called “Big 5” ministers of Singapore’s founding Cabinet members in 1959.
We left home about 1.45am on 26th mar 2015, thinking should had lesser crowds as its in the wee hours. But No !
Arrive boat quay around 2am. While searching for the queue start point, we met a nice couple asking us if we are going to Parliament House and should join the queue at Hong Lim park. This is my first contact of “One consciousness” in this urban city for such a long time.
I was amazed and proud of the orderly queueing manner of Singaporeans. Not much people “cut queue” except for a very very small minority throughout the 2.5hrs queuing.
Bottled drinks and strawberry buns were given out along the queue-route.
The queue no longer was as reported like yesterday afternoon that needed to queue for 6-8hrs.I think we were lucky. It’s was a breezy night. I took the opportunity to re-look at our financial hub in this night. It was a peaceful night. So much has changed in this part of Singapore where I used to work there some 17 years ago.
My husband commented we were actually walking down the path of LKY.
The route: Hong Lim Park- OCBC Centre- Singapore Land Tower- Bank Of China- Fullerton Hotel- Cavenach Bridge – Victoria concert hall – Singapore River – Civilisation Museum-Parliament House.
Photo below: Half-Mast at Fullerton Hotel
Normally, I would not have the chance to walk along this route. This time I took the opportunity to stop by, reflect,read some of the statues’ descriptions and even saw Deng Xiao Ping Figurine at Singapore River. I feel that although I am a Singaporean, I have not understand deep enough of my nation. Somehow, I took Singapore and Mr Lee for granted. At this moment, I am deep with gratitude for all that he had done for Singapore, both right or wrong.
When we were nearer to the last stop, there are condolences cards and pens available for those of us who wants to write our condolences messages. We wrote ours briefly.
Photo: The last stop outside parliament house
We were then directed to the area for inspection; checks on our bags. (Tips: As there will be security checks, it is also advisable not to carry too many items, to cut down waiting time and ensure a smooth flow of the queue.)
Photo: Half-Mast at The Parliament House
Honestly, all came a little fast. Before I knew it, I am already inside Parliament House and the photo of Mr Lee was not far.
There were bodyguards and ushers around and one officer kept on saying: “move forward… Move Forward…” As I walked, I bowed 3 times… But it was just too fast to process any thoughts… My thoughts only started to conjure when I am out of the entrance door. And there I saw queue waiting to enter the Parliament House for their turn. The snake-like queue do not seemed to stop forming since 25th March 2015 and may just be like this till the 29th March 2015.
Although, I felt it was just too fast for me to pay my last respect to Mr Lee but based on mathematical calculations, this has to be the way. Imagine 4 millions people going to pay their last respect within 4 days? Say 1 million people per day, that will be 41,666 people an hour and 1736 people in a minute..that is an enormous figures.
So what are the lessons i learned ?
1) The Unity of ONE Singaporeans; One Nation. I feel it in the air…in the gestures of Singaporeans.
2) A world-class civilised Singaporeans. Look at our orderly peaceful queue. Period!
3)An efficient Singapore. Look at how fast rest stops were setup along the routes, complimentary drinks and buns were given..
4) A continuous learning and willingness to change for the better attitude. Always fine-tuning to better systems. Look at the decisions to operate 24hrs public transport system or the 24hrs opening of the Parliament House for public to pay their last respect to Mr Lee and a separate lane for those on wheelchairs, who are pregnant, with special needs, and families with young children and elders .
Honestly, there were decisions of Mr Lee that I do not agree, such as his autocratic leadership, too much control over his people and nation medias alike or his imprisonment over his opponents without trial, etc. But no doubts, the results of Singapore today shows what was the best for Singapore at his time. And he did what was necessary for the best of our Singapore at that time. Who am I to say he was right or wrong? He understands Singapore deeper and wider than I did. Period.
Mr Lee will lives in the hearts of all Singaporean. He will continue to be our learning mentor through the wisdom he left for us. He left us with systems – systems of values of meritocracy, multi-racialism and non-corruptibility and SIngaporean should built the foundations laid by our pioneers.
Now, my concern as like many younger generations Singaporeans are: What will be the future of our nation? How can we do our part to continue building a better Singapore? Providing Singaporeans and our future generations a better sustainable lives?
As I am writing this, I don’t know. All I know is if Singaporeans are United, Strong, Determined, Never Give Up Attitude, Flexible and always look out for better ways to improve ourselves (not being complacent), WE, Singaporeans will Stand Tall and live the Spirit of Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
Penned by: Katherine G.S.Y