Thursday, 26 March 2015
Why Are Singaporeans Queuing Up for Hours to Pay Their Respects to Lee Kuan Yew?
A number of people have been asking me if it's worth going to see Lee Kuan Yew's body before he gets cremated on Sunday. Some of the more common questions included,
"Can you see his face? Cannot? Then maybe I won't go then..."
"How long did you wait?"
"I don't know if I should go down...there's so many things I need to do."
With all the media coverage and live updates surrounding the sheer number of people queuing up to pay their last respects to the late Lee Kuan Yew, I've also been seeing plenty of critics and skepticism on the whole issue.
While queuing on Wednesday, many office folks (mostly foreigners) who passed by also looked at us in the queue with amusement. They probably don't understand why we are willing to spend hours in the hot sun to pay our last respects to someone who is no more.
I wanted to write my own response, but then I woke up this morning to read a very moving eulogy by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen which left me in tears, and a sharp retort by a local Straits Times journalist. Thus, I reproduce parts of their speeches here.
Disclaimer: None of the following words nor photos belong to me. Rightful credits belong to The Straits Times, Channel News Asia, and the words of Minister Ng Eng Hen and Calvin Cheng.
Dr Ng said: “Why this deep sorrow for one man? Why do tears flow uncontrollably for thousands on his passing and memory?
No one moved Singapore as Mr Lee did - not in life, sickness or death.
He was that bright night star that guided us all, an impoverished and fearful nation through independence. He envisioned, then drove Singapore to become a success story - as he promised, from “mudflats to a thriving metropolis” that countries all over have sought to emulate.
He coaxed, pushed Singaporeans to do what was difficult, but ultimately right and good for their long-term interests.
We in Government and as MPs on the ground know how difficult it is to carry unpopular policies, even if they are right.
In return for the people’s trust and willingness to do what was needed, Mr Lee and his Government promised a better Singapore after these reforms. It seemed an unattainable dream when Mr Lee gave these promises in 1968. Singapore’s per capita GDP then was around Myanmar today. But at the end of it, Mr Lee and his Government delivered.
There will not be another Lee Kuan Yew who made us better than we are or could be. Mr Lee Kuan Yew founded, moved and lifted a nation. Because of his unwavering devotion and a life poured out for Singapore, he has made all our lives better and for many generations to come. Few mortals have accomplished so much in their lifetime.
Read the full speech here.
Posted by Budget Babe at 22:32:00