Singapore Extends Viewing for Lee With Mile-Long Line
Singapore’s government extended viewing hours for people to file past the coffin of first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew as thousands lined up in the city’s midday heat.
The line stretched across a mile mostly along the Singapore river through the financial district. Roads had been closed earlier and crowds lined streets as Lee’s coffin was carried on a gun carriage from the presidential palace to Parliament House. His body will lie in state for four days.
“He’s the godfather who protects Singapore,” said Robbie Ng, a 55-year-old department manager at grocery chain Cold Storage, as he visited the Istana presidential palace to pay his tribute. “Without him, we wouldn’t have been successful.”
The public are paying tribute to Lee, who died at 91, following a two-day private family wake. A state funeral service on Sunday will be followed by a private cremation ceremony. Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah and Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing were among the first to visit and pay their respects.
The viewing hours were extended to midnight from 8 p.m. today, according to an official Facebook page set up for tributes to Lee. “There are currently overwhelming queues at the Parliament House, and the team is doing their best to facilitate your visit,” according to a post.
The crowds gathered at Parliament House before Lee’s body arrived at about 10 a.m. Singapore, with more than 200 people in the area as early 8 a.m. The afternoon temperature rose to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius), according to the Weather Channel.
The city’s nightly laser-light shows have been canceled, lights were turned off at buildings, while events from a half marathon to the unveiling of new corporate services have been put on hold. Companies ranging from Singapore Airlines Ltd. to Google Inc. have also marked the event or lauded his contributions to the nation and their respective industries.
“In some ways, he’s really still here, the city he’s built, the system he’s built, the kind of DNA, the basic understanding of how things work in the world,” Simon Tay, a law professor at the National University of Singapore and a former nominated member of Parliament, said in an interview.
The city’s two casino resorts canceled their iconic light and water shows. Marina Bay Sands in the island’s downtown dropped its nightly laser-light show for the week.
Genting Singapore Plc, which runs the Resorts World Sentosa gaming property, also halted street acts at its Universal Studios theme park and suspended marketing events.
Changi Airport set up Lee’s black and white photos at check-in rows. CapitaLand Ltd., Southeast Asia’s largest developer, turned off lighting for building signage at its properties in the city.
Dress codes have been adjusted at some companies. United Overseas Bank Ltd. asked its employees to wear dark blue or white when they pay tribute to Lee, according to an internal memo. About 300 workers at Chevron Corp.’s 27 gas stations in Singapore dressed in black polo shirts in place of red uniforms, while the Singapore Exchange Ltd. provided black pin ribbons for all its employees.
Google’s Singapore homepage has an image of a black ribbon, which has become a symbol of mourning for the nation on social media. Typing in the web address of DBS Group Holdings Ltd., Southeast Asia’s biggest bank, brings customers to a black screen with a photo of Lee and the words “Remembering Lee Kuan Yew 1923-2015.”
Uber Technologies Inc. pushed back the introduction of its supercar service, which allows users to ride in Lamborghinis and Maseratis, it said in an e-mail.
Singaporeans are paying tributes to Lee, leaving flowers and memos outside Istana, the hospital where he died and other designated areas.
“I want to thank him for what he fought for us for the last 50 years,” said Andrea Lee, 39, who took a day off and stood in line for 1 1/2 hours with a bouquet of pink orchids. “Without him, we would not have come this far.”