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Date [ 2015-03-27, 11:41 ]

Singapore’s founding father dies of pneumonia. 


(Singapore=Koreanpress) Benjamin Kim =  Close to  160,000 people  waited for about eight hours to pay their respects to the Father of Singapore, the island state’s first prime minister. Thebody of Lee Kuan Yew was due to pass on its way to lie in state. Lee died on March 23 after being hospitalized on Feb. 5 for severe pneumonia. He was 91.

With the nation’s flag draped over the coffin, it was carried to Parliament House on a gun carriage from the presidential palace on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. Mourners were allowed 24-hour access and by Friday the number had swelled to around 200,132 people.

In the line-up to view the lying-in, the hot weather rose to 91 degrees and Parliament staff began handing out bottles of water to those standing in line. Further help was give for the elderly, pregnant women, families with infants and those with special needs, with the set up of a separate line.

A day earlier, on Thursday, Members of Parliament and cabinet ministersat a special sitting to honour Lee, wore black and white.  They also had black ribbons pinned to their chests. In a rare burst of acknowledgement, Low Thia Khiang, Secretary-General of the opposition Workers’ Party, described Lee as having “outstanding wisdom and courage.” Others, such as lawmakers, including Josephine Teo, had wet eyes to wipe away as the accolades poured in for the former Prime Minister.

As a mark of respect, some roads were closed, other cancelled events of gaiety and some buildings went a step further by turning their lights off. In this way, Singapore showed its love for Lee and his rule of the island from 1959 to 1990. He stepped down from the cabinet in 2011.

Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen eloquently said. “His loss is deeply felt, a nation cries out in mourning. There will not be another Lee Kuan Yew, who made us better than we are, or could be.”

Come March 29, Lee’s state funeral will be attended by government leaders from ASEAN and the rest of the world. This  public ceremony on Sunday at the University Cultural Centre(UCC) will be preceded by the State Funeral Procession from Parliament House to UCC. This will commence at 12.30pm and is scheduled to end at 5.15pm and covers a distance of 15.4km.

Malaysia’s Yang DiPertuan Agong and Indonesian President, Joko Widodo will be present with other Asian leaders at UCC.  Other Southeast Asian leaders who have indicated their commitment to attend include Myanmar President Thein Sein, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Adding to the attendance will beJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, South Korean President Park Guen-Hye, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Across the continents, Canada will send its Governor General, David Jognston.  China will be sending its top government leaders

But unlike China, which has yet to release details of its delegation, President Barack Obama has already announced a Presidential Delegation to participate in the State Funeral. Leading the delegation will be former United States President Bill Clinton, and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. The latter was a very close friend of the late Lee...

The attendance by such distinguished personages speaks volumes of the respect and admiration held by the world for Lee Kuan Yew. Truly a statesman of the world.

abc@koreanpress.net







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