SINGAPORE - AGAINST his doctors' advice, Singapore's longest-serving parliamentarian returned to the House on Monday on the occasion of his 90th birthday.
In the Members' Room after the sitting, PAP, opposition and Nominated MPs sang Happy Birthday to founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in English, Mandarin and Malay.
He blew out the candle on a cake shaped like the number "90", and then told them his wish: that Singapore's Government continues to be clean and honest, and they all do their part to uphold the highest of moral standards.
Reflecting on how different the Parliament House they were in was from the simple building he first entered in 1955, Mr Lee said that Singapore then was a far cry from what it has become today.
It was 50 years of clean and honest government that made this transformation possible, and he told MPs that all present had the responsibility to keep it this way.
While frail, Mr Lee spoke with his characteristic conviction at the simple celebration that lasted a mere half hour.
He had been advised by doctors not to attend, and there were reports that he planned to mark his birthday at home with his family.
But a sense of anticipation built during yesterday's parliamentary sitting as news spread that he would join them.
After parliamentary business was concluded, Leader of the House Ng Eng Hen delivered a tribute that was capped with a standing ovation from the House.
"Mr Lee, with his singular mission and dedication, steered this country to independence and laid the very foundations that transformed Singapore into a modern and thriving metropolis," he said.
"He led and forged a nation which today is admired worldwide for its prosperity, harmony and stability. In lifting an entire nation and improving countless lives of Singaporeans of several generations, Mr Lee Kuan Yew has left a lasting legacy to all of us and achieved greatness."