SINGAPORE - It was a day when many of Singapore's leaders past and present joined former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in celebrating his landmark 90th birthday.
Just before parliament adjourned on Monday, Leader of the House Ng Eng Hen made a short speech to thank Mr Lee for having left a "lasting legacy" for all Singaporeans. The elder statesman had "achieved greatness" in lifting an entire nation and improving the lives of several generations of people, he said.
Mr Lee had entered the chamber about 10 minutes earlier, just as parliament was wrapping up an adjournment motion on assistance for children of disadvantaged families.
Dr Ng, who is also Minister for Defence, noted that Mr Lee had been a member of Singapore's legislature for 58 years, starting in 1955, when he was elected to the country's first legislative assembly.
"Singapore was not even yet independent, and still a colony. For length of service alone, 58 years is a remarkable record. But it is what Mr Lee has accomplished for Singapore over that lifetime of service and struggle that is astonishing and without peer," said Dr Ng, as MPs thumped the armrests of their chairs in appreciation.
The House later gave the nonagenarian a standing ovation.
Dr Ng went on to say that it would not be possible to recount all of Mr Lee's accomplishments in a few minutes, for any attempt to do so would be an injustice.
"But I would, on behalf of all members, express our profound admiration and gratitude on Mr Lee's birthday."
Mr Lee, an MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, had made "special efforts" to be in the House - against his doctor's advice - said Dr Ng, adding that all MPs wished him happiness and continued good health.
A birthday party was later held in the Members' Room of Parliament House, where a cake shaped in the number "90" was rolled out for Mr Lee.
Apart from a video from the labour movement featuring well-wishes from workers, MPs presented him with a birthday card and a nine-volume set of books on his political career, published by the National Archives and Cengage Learning Asia.
Earlier in the day, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy organised a one-day conference to mark Mr Lee's birthday.