Elderly Singaporeans share memories of Mr Lee

Elderly Singaporeans share memories of Mr Lee
PRICELESS: Mr Kho Seow Chew, 78, took part of his entire collection of photographs of Mr Lee Kuan Yew to the community tribute centre in Tampines to share with other people who turned up.

For years, he has been buying and collecting old photographs of Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

Yesterday afternoon, Mr Kho Seow Chew, 78, took part of his entire collection, worth $40,000, to the community tribute centre in Tampines to share with other people who turned up.

The tribute centre is one of 18 set up islandwide to allow people to pay their respects to the late Mr Lee.

The centres will broadcast live footage of the state funeral service of Singapore's first prime minister on Sunday.

They will close at the end of the State Funeral.

Speaking to The New Paper in English, the retiree, who has been collecting these photos since 1963, said: "I have always been interested in Singapore history and I kept these photos as I wanted to show the people today how Singapore has changed over the years."

Over the last few decades, Mr Kho had bought the photos and postcards from various places, including the National Archives of Singapore, with each item costing an average of about $25.

Now, he hopes these photos will help promote the nation's heritage to the younger generation.

He added: "It's nice to see so many people paying their tributes to the late Mr Lee. The response is greater than I had expected.

"Mr Lee was a very determined man who did a lot for Singapore including promoting racial harmony, bilinguism and international friendship with other countries."

Another Singaporean who fondly remembers Mr Lee's contribution to the nation is retiree Madam Chang Hui Hong.

The 67-year-old had gone to the Parliament House on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, hoping to pay her respects.

However, she gave up after seeing the snaking queues on both nights and headed to the community tribute centre in Tampines with her aunt, Madam Lin Siew Khee, 78, yesterday instead.

Both will go to the centre again tomorrow to watch the live telecast of Mr Lee's funeral service.

"I am quite disappointed that I can't see Mr Lee in person at the Parliament House. My legs hurt so I cannot queue for too long under the hot sun. I guess coming here to pay tribute is good, too," Madam Chang said in Mandarin.

"Mr Lee was a noble man who did a lot for our nation. I will regret it for life if I didn't pay my respects to him."

Factory worker Ang Yew Teck, 70, took time off from work to head to the tribute centre in Tampines to show his gratitude to Mr Lee.

Mr Ang had an operation on his right leg in 1999 and cannot stand for long hours at a stretch.

THOUGHT THAT COUNTS

He said in Mandarin: "It's the same, whether we pay our respects at the Parliament House or here. It's the thought that counts. For me, queueing for eight hours is impossible as my right leg hurts.

"Before Mr Lee took over, we had a very tough life. It's because of him that we have hawker centres, coffee shops, a home to live in, and proper roads. I had to show up to pay my respects. He made our lives better."

Madam Teo Soh Kim, 74, agreed.

The retiree took the train from Changi to Tampines on her own to pay her respects as she does not know how to go to the Parliament House by herself.

She sobbed uncontrollably and said in Hokkien: "I am very, very sad. Mr Lee is a good man and helped us a lot. It's hard to put into words how I feel about his contributions to Singapore."

 


This article was first published on March 28, 2015.
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