SINGAPORE - The voice of Singapore's late founding leader Lee Kuan Yew echoed from beyond the grave as the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games opened with a lavish and hi-tech ceremony on Friday.
Excerpts from Lee's pronouncements on health and fitness were played to the capacity National Stadium crowd before the Games were declared open to a burst of fireworks.
The Games are being held after Lee's death in March plunged the small, wealthy nation into mourning, and coincide with Singapore's 50th anniversary of independence.
"Today we also pay tribute to to Singapore's founding prime minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew," sports minister Lawrence Wong told the crowd at the newly redeveloped stadium.
"Mr. Lee played a key part in developing sport in Singapore. He officially opened our former National Stadium in 1973 when Singapore first hosted the SEA Games." A giant Singapore flag was projected onto the venue's retractable domed roof, before athletes from the 11 participating countries filed through the venue.
Some 402 gold medals in 36 sports are on offer at the event, which melds Olympic disciplines with lesser-known, regional pursuits and concludes on June 16.