See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Community Tributes for Lee Kuan Yew Draw a Million People in Singapore

Community tribute at Bedok Town Centre

Community tribute at Bedok Town Centre

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:

A family pays tribute to Lee Kuan Yew

A family pays tribute to Lee Kuan Yew

Community tribute at Woodlands

Community tribute at Woodlands

Community tribute at Senja-Cashew Community Club

Community tribute at Senja-Cashew Community Club

An artwork honoring Lee Kuan Yew made by young people from PCF Bukit Timah Branch

An artwork honoring Lee Kuan Yew made by young people from PCF Bukit Timah Branch

Community tribute at Yishun

Community tribute at Yishun

A student writes a note honoring Lee Kuan Yew

A student writes a note honoring Lee Kuan Yew. Community tribute at Botanic garden

Community tribute at Toa Payoh

Community tribute at Toa Payoh

Community tribute at Toa Payoh

Community tribute at Toa Payoh

Community tribute at Tanjong Pagar

Community tribute at Tanjong Pagar

Aside from the ‘community tributes’, Singaporeans can also leave a messages for Lee Kuan Yew through an online tribute page. Rosie Sim is one of those who honored Lee Kuan Yew:

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.

All photos are from the government page, Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

Our work building bridges across cultures, languages and perspectives is more urgent than ever before.

Learn more about Global Voices »

Donate now

Close