It’s been a turbulent last week.
I’m glad that it’s over. In a week that saw us Singaporeans united like never before, and most likely never again, we displayed the faith in coming together for the same cause. In losing Lee Kuan Yew, we didn’t just lose a great leader and visionary. We lost our father, the moment we dread in life.
In the space of a week, we came together. We rallied. In a country known for efficiency, everything else matters more than paying our respect for Mr Lee. We stood under the hot sun, queued for as long as 10 hours. But we didn’t grumble. Not a word of complain. We queued orderly, sat on the grass at times and moved forward round the snaking lines.
There were many unsung heroes that it a lot more bearables. The army, police and civil defence personnel. There were plenty of them and they set up barricades, ushered the crowd and kept things ticking. There are the volunteers that gave out bottled drinks, herbal tea, food ranging from burgers to chicken rice, snacks from biscuits to muffins, they ensured we never go hungry. There were many instances where businesses provided shelter, supplied umbrella, gave food and drinks and allowed those in line to relieve themselves in their washrooms.
“The heavens opened and cried for him.” PM Lee Hsien Loong said in his eulogy. Indeed. It was a heavy downpour, but that didn’t deter the thousands upon thousands of citizens bidding Mr Lee a last goodbye as the procession passed through the heartland estates. It was a heart-wrenching sight, when the collective cries of “Lee Kuan Yew, I love you” echoed around. People genuinely coming forward, mostly in white, in the heavy rain. There were plenty of flag bearers, many displayed the Singapore flag proudly. Many of them are old aged, some in wheelchairs, but the spirits remained high. People waved our flags in unity as the gun carriage breezed passed.
The past week has been extremely tiring, physically and mentally. But it’s also the time when I feel proudest of Singapore. It’s something I treasure and the stories will be retold many times over to my children and grandchildren.