Remembering Lee Kuan Yew - Thank you - The nation with you in your final journey - See u in heaven

Remembering Lee Kuan Yew - Thank you - The nation with you in your final journey - See u in heaven
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Thursday, 26 March 2015

New queue system more organised, but delay as long as before

New queue system more organised, but delay as long as before 


Wait more pleasant with new queue system, but delay is as long as before 



The priority queue. -- PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG, KEVIN LIM, NEO XIAOBIN


The priority queue. -- PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG, KEVIN LIM, NEO XIAOBIN


People paying their respects to Mr Lee. -- PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG, KEVIN LIM, NEO XIAOBIN


People paying their respects to Mr Lee. -- PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG, KEVIN LIM, NEO XIAOBIN 

The normal queue in the Padang, with shade tents. -- PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG, KEVIN LIM, NEO XIAOBIN (SHOT FROM SWISSOTEL THE STAMFORD)

The normal queue in the Padang, with shade tents. -- PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG, KEVIN LIM, NEO XIAOBIN (SHOT 

FROM SWISSOTEL THE STAMFORD)





After waiting patiently in line for their moment in front of Mr Lee's casket, people said their goodbyes to him in personal ways. Among the thousands who filed past yesterday were those who wept, knelt, waved, saluted and bowed. -- ST PHOTOS: ONG WEE JIN, MARK CHEONG

After waiting patiently in line for their moment in front of Mr Lee's casket, people said their goodbyes to him in personal 

ways. Among the thousands who filed past yesterday were those who wept, knelt, waved, saluted and bowed. -- ST 

PHOTOS: ONG WEE JIN, MARK CHEONG


After waiting patiently in line for their moment in front of Mr Lee's casket, people said their goodbyes to him in personal ways. Among the thousands who filed past yesterday were those who wept, knelt, waved, saluted and bowed. -- ST PHOTOS: ONG WEE JIN, MARK CHEONG



After waiting patiently in line for their moment in front of Mr Lee's casket, people said their goodbyes to him in personal 

ways. Among the thousands who filed past yesterday were those who wept, knelt, waved, saluted and bowed. -- ST 

PHOTOS: ONG WEE JIN, MARK CHEONG

After waiting patiently in line for their moment in front of Mr Lee's casket, people said their goodbyes to him in personal ways. Among the thousands who filed past yesterday were those who wept, knelt, waved, saluted and bowed. -- ST PHOTOS: ONG WEE JIN, MARK CHEONG

After waiting patiently in line for their moment in front of Mr Lee's casket, people said their goodbyes to him in personal 

ways. Among the thousands who filed past yesterday were those who wept, knelt, waved, saluted and bowed. -- ST 

PHOTOS: ONG WEE JIN, MARK CHEONG



After waiting patiently in line for their moment in front of Mr Lee's casket, people said their goodbyes to him in personal ways. Among the thousands who filed past yesterday were those who wept, knelt, waved, saluted and bowed. -- ST PHOTOS: ONG WEE JIN, MARK CHEONG

After waiting patiently in line for their moment in front of Mr Lee's casket, people said their goodbyes to him in personal 

ways. Among the thousands who filed past yesterday were those who wept, knelt, waved, saluted and bowed. -- ST 

PHOTOS: ONG WEE JIN, MARK CHEONG


After waiting patiently in line for their moment in front of Mr Lee's casket, people said their goodbyes to him in personal ways. Among the thousands who filed past yesterday were those who wept, knelt, waved, saluted and bowed. -- ST PHOTOS: ONG WEE JIN, MARK CHEONG

After waiting patiently in line for their moment in front of Mr Lee's casket, people said their goodbyes to him in personal 

ways. Among the thousands who filed past yesterday were those who wept, knelt, waved, saluted and bowed. -- ST 

PHOTOS: ONG WEE JIN, MARK CHEONG




A NEW queue system put in place yesterday for people to pay their last respects to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew shortened waiting times in the morning, but could not hold back the unceasing crowd by nightfall.

Early birds who began lining up in the morning to get to Parliament House, where Mr Lee is lying in state, did so in 45 minutes. But by 11pm, an official announcement said the wait would take seven hours.

However, such was the sheer volume of numbers that ushers on the ground said the reality was an eight-hour wait. This put the queue time back to what it was the day before, on the first day of public mourning.

The number of visitors over the two days, as of 11pm yesterday, was 147,791.

Yesterday, even those in the "priority" queue - for the elderly with their families, and those with children or special needs - were told by ushers the wait would be at least seven hours.

And as day turned to night, the priority queue began restricting entry for the elderly to those accompanied by only one adult - as at least one family of three found out to their dismay and told The Straits Times about it.

Secretary Lily Wong, 60, like many others, left the priority queue on hearing of the longer delay. "I'm not dressed to go to work tomorrow," she said.

An usher advised people to go to community clubs to pay their respects, or "come back around 3am when the air is more cooling".

However, those in the crowd said the wait was made more pleasant than the day before thanks to better organisation, shelter, clear instructions from ushers and refreshments handed out along the way by well-wishers.

For the first day of the lying-in-state, Wednesday, queues had extended around the city district and waiting times were as long as eight hours. After times to pay respects were extended first to midnight, then to 24 hours, people continued to arrive all night.

But at 7am yesterday, a new system for the queues took effect. State funeral organisers designated the Padang as the sole entrance for the queue, whereas before, haphazard lines caused confusion about where to join the queue.

Yesterday, there were ushers who walked the length of thelines holding signs, directing those aged above 60, the infirm and those pregnant or with children to "keep to the right" for priority lines. While there was a priority line the day before, not many had known about it until news reports surfaced. The ushers shepherded the rest towards the Padang, where the normal queue begun.

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) had worked through the night to put up barricades and shade tents there. By 6.45am yesterday, barricades marking out clear paths and 102 tents had been set up. Work continued through the afternoon to set up more tents.

Engineer Elvin Foo, 33, who works in the area, said he had intended to join the queue on Wednesday with his colleagues. "The queue was all over the place," he said. "It's much better today, with one place to join the queue."

Mrs Suzie Laing, 57, a real estate agent, said: "Today's queues are more organised."

By 4pm, an unrelenting stream of citizens extended round War Memorial Park and through the City Hall underpass, then filed through the new lines at the Padang, until at last they reached Parliament House. Good Samaritans - companies and individuals alike - made the waiting easier by giving out refreshments and hand-fans. Temasek Holdings loaned out 30,000 umbrellas.

Housewife Joelle Lu, 31, meanwhile, who arrived in the late morning, was grateful for the relatively shorter priority queue that she could enter with her twin sons, aged 18 months. She said: "The line to pay respects to Mr Goh Keng Swee (former Deputy Prime Minister and finance minister who died in 2010) was already a two-hour wait - no doubt Mr Lee's would be longer. I'm glad they announced this queue, so that mothers can still pay their respects to Mr Lee without putting the children through too much stress."

Inside Parliament House, ushers repeatedly urged crowds not to stop, and "to pay your respects as you move". One elderly Indian woman, however, paused to stoop and touch the ground near Mr Lee's casket. With tears running down her cheeks, she then brought her fingertips to her eyes - a move that signifies respect, according to customary Indian practice.

Members of the public may pay their respects to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew all day today, overnight and until 8pm tomorrow.
BACKGROUND STORY
STABLE AND PROSPEROUS
"Before the time of the People's Action Party (PAP), my father had been bedridden since I was 11. There was very little financial aid for us, and we all suffered because of it.
Now, my job relies on people having stable finances, and the fact that the job is doing well means that the country is doing well, something that we owe to Mr Lee. I think that Mr Lee has helped our little red dot to glow like a sun."
- Mr Low Kim Suan, 67, a financial consultant at NTUC Income, recalling the lack of social assistance before Mr Lee and the PAP came to power
GOLDEN HANDSHAKE
"Twenty years back, Mr Lee visited the Yishun area, and he shook hands with my daughter. I told her, don't wash your hands, Lee Kuan Yew's handshake will bring you good fortune."
- Mr Teo Hock, 60, a coffee shop worker, recalling his excitement upon meeting Mr Lee in person for the first time
FROM KAMPUNG TO FLAT
"I remember that Mr Lee came to Yishun Kampung back in 1966. I was five years old then. When he laughed and smiled, we felt compelled to do the same. It was very addictive. To me, he felt like a citizen just like us, not a very high-and-mighty leader like the heads of other countries.
The first person to get a flat in our family was our maternal grandmother. It was a Toa Payoh flat, much bigger than what we had in the kampung, and so much more comfortable."
- Madam Peh Geok Choo, an office cleaner
PASSPORT THAT ALWAYS IMPRESSES
"When I travel overseas and immigration officers see the red passport I hand them, they always look very impressed or in awe. I think that if not for Mr Lee being here, we would not be able to get a reaction like this."
- Madam Alice Foo, 51, a hawker
WOOING FOREIGN FIRMS
"(Foreign) investors do not come in easily, they need to be convinced... Mr Lee managed to do that, and get them to stay in the country.
Even now, all the big countries say they have missed a great friend. They understand how great a person he was."
- Mr Peter Goh, 66, who says he would not have got his job at Japanese company Murata Electronics if not for Mr Lee's efforts in attracting foreign investors to Singapore
A CARING PERSON
"I met Mr Lee during his pre-election campaigns in Hougang. This was before he became Prime Minister, before 1959.
I was drawing water from a well at that time. He stopped to ask me if that water was clean enough to drink.
That proved to me immediately that he was a very caring person, and that he was able to interact easily with the people he met."
- Madam Irene Tay, 66, a former businesswoman, on her experience speaking to Mr Lee when she was a pupil at Xin Min Primary School
A FIRM HAND
"He was always very friendly to Singaporeans... Yes, he was straight-talking but he needed to be firm in order to get things done. I can still remember when he cried on national TV when we separated from Malaysia. I've always respected him for that.
He contributed to our lives in such meaningful ways. Without his leadership, we wouldn't be living so comfortably in our Housing Board flats today. We probably also wouldn't have clean water or accessible transport."
- Madam Ho Chow Toh, 83, who queued alone at the Padang from 3pm to 7pm

The Straits Times / Top of The News                              Published on Friday, 27 Mar 2015


By Rachel Au-yong, Miranda Yeo And Walter Sim



miranday@sph.com.sg               rachelay@sph.com.sg              waltsim@sph.com.sg


 Where we are right now is nothing by chance, it has to have a team of great leaders to bring us to where we are, From a fishing village to a 1st world urban city nation. All Singaporean owe it to Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his team. Even though not all policies are likable by all, but we can see the results with our own eyes. Mr Lee had dedicated his entire life to the building of Singapore. Let's do our best to pay tribute to our founding father Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Let's focus on reading all the positive news rather than negative news. Let's do our best to salute our great leader. He deserve our respect.

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