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Saturday, 28 March 2015

5 hours to Parliament House to Pay Our Last Respect to Mr Lee Kuan Yew

Date: 26.03.2015

All my life, I hate to queue.

But I was mentally prepared for the 8 hours queue to pay my last respect to Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

I know 8 hours is not a laughing matter, but I have to do it.

As hubby wasn't sure where to park and how long to park was unpredictable, we took the MRT to City Hall.

Age is really catching up, my weak "bladder syndrome" acted up again and I was frantically looking for toilet once out of train.

There was already a long queue outside the washroom in the MRT station.   *Panic mood* button on, we speeded into Raffles City Shopping Mall for the washroom at the 1st floor.  No luck, the situation was the same.  *Super panic mood*, we went to the 2nd floor and saw another snake queue of the same length.  *Super panic + going to burst* we run to the 3rd floor, only 5 ladies ahead of me.  Finally relieved, we walked back to the main entrance of City Hall MRT where there were sign boards directing us to Pandang.

It was around 5.30pm.  Crowd control began before we reached Pandang.

We walked passed Suntec City with tribute on their giant screen.

We walked with the crowd, passing by Civilian War Memorial and The Cenotaph.  I felt like a student all over again going on a education excursion with the school.

Where is Padang, we didn't know, we just followed the crowd of queue.

When we finally saw the Padang field, this row of mobile toilets greeted us.

As we moved on, we saw tents with massive beverage supplies.

I took a bottle and said Thank You and not just a superficial thanks.

Finally in Padang after 1 hour at 6.30pm, sky was getting dark.  This was the cluster queue in front of us.

We were stationed in the batch for about 2 hours.
Volunteers passed down drinks and biscuits, people from the "outer rim" would pass them down like passing baton.  I wasn't too sure I was hungry or bored, just snacked on.

Hubby had "threatened" to bring me home if I whined, so I kept very quiet.  He kind of think that I wouldn't pull through the 8 hours (as forecast).  Though he knows me well, sometimes he underestimate me.

Some decided to back out at this junction, some realised that they need more than biscuits to keep going and requested to leave the queue to ta bao and come back.  People started to talk to people standing besides them, most of them from work.

Our cluster was finally asked to move.  But surprisingly we moved out of Padang, along Singapore River.

The queue became stagnant again.

One lady among us said out loud: "Look!  Our Singapore is so beautiful!"

Another one said: "Yes, I had never look at it so closely before...."

I found myself started to tell two women (non-local) beside us about how smelly Singapore River was, it was Mr Lee Kuan Yew who patiently took up a 10 years project to clear it.  Only after it's cleared, the beautiful shore line started to build up.  A few others around listened too.

I asked them why did they queue since they weren't Singaporeans.  They replied that they consider it an honour to be able to pay respect to this great man of ours.

When the crowd started to move, people in front would warn those behind for stairs ahead.  I never know Singaporeans could be like this.  How is it that these people, only well known for being kaisu, can be so considerate and so caring??

There were men wearing white long sleeves with a black bend, walking around, keeping the crowd in order.  We spoke to one of them, he was a young chap, mid twenties, perhaps.  He said he was on duty from 7am to 1am on Wednesday.  Went home sleep a while and came back in the morning around 8am again.  I told him "辛苦你了,谢谢哦!"  "没有没有,不辛苦!" he replied with a broad cheery smile.

If you think queuing is tough, others around aren't relaxing either.

At one point, some one in the crowd was filling unwell, the crowd was screaming at the top of their lungs for medic.  The medic ran top speed with a wheel chair towards the crowd.  I was........ very touched by the scene.

By the 4th hour, everybody was exhausted, whenever we made a 10 metres move forward, we cheered, encouraging each other to hang on, not to give up.  We were total strangers, and yet, I felt the strength of unity from them.

I had never felt so proud being a Singaporean before.  The 5 hours queue had given me a valuable lesson that I'll never forget in my life time.  It was heart-breaking yet heart-warming.

5th hour, we reached the security check.  "With Bags lane" long queue, "Without Bags lane" no queue.  It's consider swift, we made it to the Parliament House, at last.

Bowed, I really wished I could stay a little longer, just a minute longer, but I understand that the situation wouldn't allow.....  Held my tears, we bid Mr Lee Kuan Yew goodbye.
Image from Channel NewsAsia
I know this day will come, but it's still painful.

When I was a primary school girl.  My father would tell us about his childhood, how hard life was when the living condition was less hygienic; how different races conflict each other.

He said when Mr Lee Kuan Yew became the Prime Minister, the fate of Singapore changed.

I had witness the MRT being built in 1987.  I had inhaled the foul smell at Singapore River too.  Singapore was just improving and prosper every single minute under him.  Opposition parties during that era was redundant, really.  We trusted and listened to nobody except LEE KUAN YEW.  Probably sounded very much like an obedient citizen being spoon feed comfortably without any thoughts.  But think again, nobody in the right mind will support a leader if he (and his spouse) behaved like our neighbours'  :X

He banned chewing gums, it was absurd.  But again, if everybody had behaved themselves by throwing the gums in the bin instead of sticking them all over especially at the time the new MRT stations, the law wouldn't had been pass down.

Nobody is perfect, so is Mr Lee Kuan Yew.  But he had build up Singapore from a resourceless slump to this city we are living today.  Most important of all he had love the nation whole heartedly and self-lessly.

Mr Lee was critically ill, the more well wishes from the public, the more I felt that he was leaving.
Image from Channel NewsAsia
Then irresponsible people, from innocent youngsters to brainless adults of my age started to spread rumours of him being dead.  I was like..... hello where are your respect?!?  People nowadays just conveniently clicked "Like" and "Share" without using their brains.

Until on the 23rd March, I turned on my phone before brushing my teeth and saw the official news....

Our Father is gone, for real....

For the past few days, the TV was documenting old videos of his speech on different occasions.  I had watched them before, but re-watching them again after he passed on was difficult to bear.

There were 3 videos that left the greatest imprint in my heart -

* He cried when we were detached from Malaysia.  We were so small, defend-less, resource-less, but he took up the swamp, he took us up.

* He said "Nobody can bring Singapore down!  As long as I am here!"

* He said "If there's anything wrong, I'll jump up, even from my grave to protect Singapore!"

I know he meant every word he said, we had witness all he had done for us.

There won't be another man like him in another hundred years to come.

I feel scared and insecure.
Without him, there won't be Singapore and how is Singapore going to be like without him?

Sir, forgive my selfishness.
May I beg you to watch after Singapore from heaven?

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