At the end of the State Funeral, we were gathered at the TV for the minute of silence signalled by the PWS. I had ZK in my arms and Ah Yee was carrying ZY - of course the kids didn't realise the significance of this week, the week that witnessed the passing of a giant and the coming together of so many Singaporeans for one single purpose. Even the heavens cried. (Or we would have brought the kids downstairs to line Commonwealth Avenue!)
It has been two very heavy weeks. This time two weeks ago, I was coughing madly but had to go back to work to prepare for a meeting on last Monday - which was to discuss what to present at a meeting today on what to discuss at a meeting in May!! And, best, after Monday, it was decided that we needed yet another pre-meeting yesterday. Seriously...
Last week was heavy for two reasons - there was the preparation for the pre-meeting today and there was national mourning.
I have been following the news when I can, i.e. on the way to and from work though I usually ended up looking ridiculous cos I would be tearing up here and there. There are so many articles on LKY - how to he led his team to build up Singapore, first-hand accounts of him, but what caught my attention most was when Mrs Lee was mentioned. I'm such a sucker for love stories.
I signed up to go to the Parliament House last Wednesday to pay my last respects to the man but due to limited allocated space for my office, I wasn't able to go. I was on the reserve list (?!) but wasn't activated. Perhaps just as well cos my colleagues who went were stuck in the bus for hours and the group split up when they walked near so a number didn't get to go near to bow at all. Heard the public generally just walked past that day. And the queues just kept getting longer and longer.
So I thought I'd just go to my office's reflection session on Thursday - a couple of videos and a few speeches were on the cards. All was fine until the big boss spoke. He barely started when he teared. And then everyone started crying too! :( We were asked to reflect on LKY's legacy for Singapore and Singaporeans, and for us personally as well. Many tuned in to the special Parliament sitting that afternoon too, but I couldn't cos of work. I could, however, hear sniffles from the two colleagues flanking me as they watched the live streaming.
But then, I still wanted to go! Thought of going with Sito on Thursday night but the estimated waiting time as of 11 pm was eight hours?! I stayed up to do work and checked the queue duration along the way - before I slept around 4 am, a colleague had waited for four hours and counting!
So last Saturday, we went to the Botany Centre community tribute centre but there was a queue too - only an hour but 10 min could be too long when you have two kids with you. They had no priority queue so we left for dinner.
But I wasn't giving up, not even when Sito gave me a valid counter-argument: If someone else had died and the queues snaked on, LKY might just tell everyone to not waste time and get on with life, he being pragmatic and all. Well, my heart defied logic. After all, it's LKY leh! My 偶像!
So I went with fellow LKY groupie CY instead to the AMK tribute centre. We waited in line to get to the front, which was in no time at all. An elderly volunteer along the way was thanking us and told CY that we were too young to understand what people of her generation had gone through. The amount of flower bouquets was amazing. A volunteer led the group to bow three times to the wall with his picture and video, just behind the flowers.
The scene was quite amazing. The flowers. The people. The volunteers of all ages - kids handed bottled water to us. The wall of colourful post-it notes from so many people. It felt awesome to be standing there. It felt awesome to be Singaporean.
I was very heartened by what I saw and heard the whole week. I mean, people went to pay their last respects to LKY not because they loved him like family or friend, right? I think people respected him and went to thank him for what he had done for Singapore, the country we share. I'm very 感动 because going by what you normally see and hear, people don't love this place very much. You see, I'm more than a LKY groupie; I'm a Singapore groupie :)