More than a million people in Singapore flocked to 18 community centers in the past week to give tribute to the country’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who died on March 23, 2015.
The ‘community tributes’ were set up since the waiting time for people who wanted to visit the lying in state of Lee Kuan Yew at the Parliament House was more than six hours.
Lee Kuan Yew was Singapore’s founding leader who ruled for more than three decades. After his term ended in 1990, he continued to serve in the Cabinet as Minister Mentor. His son is the incumbent prime minister.
Lee Kuan Yew is remembered as the man who led Singapore’s transformation from a poor island city in the 1960s into a prosperous global city today.
Lee Kuan Yew is also an influential leader in the Asia-Pacific. In the past week, 170 foreign dignitaries from 27 countries paid tribute to Lee Kuan Yew at the Parliament House.
But it was in the ‘community tributes’ where Singaporeans from all walks of life were able to affirm not only the popularity of Lee Kuan Yew but also his enduring legacy as the country’s founding father. The ‘community tributes’ united Singaporeans in mourning the passing of Lee Kuan Yew and honoring him as a great leader of the nation.
Below are some of the scenes at the community centers:
We sometimes wonder what Singapore stands for and if we ever have a Singapore icon. Is it the Merlion? Vanda Miss Joaquim? The Esplanade? The Singapore Flyer? The Parliament House? We never get to agree with a common identity, but Singaporeans and people from all over the world can easily identify with Mr Lee Kuan Yew as Singapore. A living icon and sense of common identity among all of us indeed.
Lee Kuan Yew’s burial is scheduled today.