Florist gives away roses, gerberas in honour of Lee Kuan Yew

Florist gives away roses, gerberas in honour of Lee Kuan Yew
MOVING: Passers-by at flower shop Artisan De Fleurs at Raffles Place were touched by the florist’s kind gesture.

Instead of making a quick buck, this florist at Raffles Place was giving away white roses and gerbera daisies to people who wanted to pay their respects to Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

The man, in his fifties, refused to be named and reluctantly gave us answers because, he said, he was not in this for the publicity.

A black bucket sat outside the shop, Artisan De Fleurs, with a sign inviting all and sundry to "Please help yourself to a stalk for free if you are going to pay respects to our beloved Mr Lee Kuan Yew".

The white gerbera daisies are usually sold for $2 a stalk and the white roses, $4 a stalk.

White gerbera daisies are used to signify purity while the white roses are presented to offer condolences.

The flowers have been going fast.

In the time The New Paper spent observing the shop yesterday morning, a full bucket of over a dozen flowers were snapped up within half an hour.

The owner and two employees were kept on their toes replacing the flowers.

They wrapped each and every stalk in plastic sheet and covered its base with damp cotton which they secured with aluminium foil, just like they would do for any paying customer.

The florist said he has not been keeping track of how much money he has spent since he started giving out the flowers on Monday.

He plans to continue the act till Friday.

He said: "It is the least I can do.

"Mr Lee did so much to give us what we have today. What's a bunch of stalks to pay tribute to the man who led us here?"

SURPRISED

One of the many people who picked up a stalk was Madam Jessica Chan, 55, a personal assistant who works at the Marina Bay Financial Centre.

"I looked at him with (what could have been) a big question mark on my face and he said, 'Please take one and go and pay respects'.

"I was so thankful and replied to the man 'thank you' and he just smiled."

This act of kindness was something Madam Chan described as a rarity.

"I have never met someone as kind as this florist.

"This is not normal. When I first saw the sign, I had to do a double take to make sure I was reading it correctly.

"I also checked for fine print and was pleasantly surprised when I realised it was a genuine contribution to the public in memory of Mr Lee."

Many others stopped by the shop at the basement of 5, Raffles Place, to pick up a few stalks for themselves.

Relationship manager Annie Liu, a permanent resident, said: "I cannot believe that a store like his, where the rent is expensive, is giving out flowers for free.

"It is such a kind thing to do for the public".

The 28-year-old China-born executive, who has lived in Singapore for five years, is set to head to Parliament House this morning, to pay her respects to the man she called "the nation's father".

A gun carriage will carry Mr Lee's coffin from the Istana to Parliament House this morning.

crobert@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Mar 25, 2015.
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