Nee Soon Says Our Last Goodbyes
Steady streams of residents from Nee Soon GRC descended on the community tribute site in front of Yishun MRT in the last week of March. They came bearing white roses and chrysanthemums, and a heavy heart as they waited patiently in line to pen their last goodbyes to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, founding Prime Minister of Singapore.
On 25 March, MPs for Nee Soon GRC announced a memorial event organised for the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew on 27 March via their individual Facebook pages. Despite the short announcement, several thousand residents thronged the Nee Soon tribute site. By 8.00pm, the crowd had swelled to more than 15,000 residents, both young and old, who stood shoulder to shoulder in solemnity to pay their last respects.
The event was marked by videos of Mr Lee’s trademark fiery speeches and personal stories by Nee Soon residents whose lives have improved from his policies. Minister K Shanmugam delivered a moving eulogy based on his interactions with Singapore’s first Prime Minister, and whose personal life had been transformed. (Excerpts here)
Ms Umalmageswari, 35, a kindergarten teacher says, “He was a really good leader; and made us very proud to be a Singaporean…He did so much. He was a great inspiration for all of us.” Ms Umalmageswari and her colleagues also shared with the children in their kindergarten about the contributions which Mr Lee made for Singapore, and they came with farewell notes which the children wrote to place at the community tribute site.
The evening concluded with a candle lighting ceremony. Candles representing Singaporeans were lit up on the map of Singapore, with Mr Lee’s portrait in the centre – accompanied by a sole bag-piper playing to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. In the words of Ms Phua, a consultant who attended the event, “Thank you for giving him such a beautiful tribute.”