Mr Lee Kuan Yew's casket leaves Istana: Hush inside, applause outside

Mr Lee Kuan Yew's casket leaves Istana: Hush inside, applause outside
PROCESSION: The State Flag is laid over the coffin of the late first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in Sri Temasek.

From all walks of life, people came together yesterday to bid farewell to Singapore's founding father and first prime minister.

Thousands of people turned up, many of them early, to get the best vantage points on the pavement along the 2km barricaded route.

They were there to witness a gun carriage, bearing Mr Lee Kuan Yew's casket, make its way from the Istana to Parliament House.

He died on Monday.

It did not matter that the procession, which moved from Orchard Road through Bras Basah Road and North Bridge Road, took only about 10 minutes.

The first person in the queue reached the Istana by 5.30am.

Ms Angela Tan, 50, a businesswoman, said: "Mr Lee's death is a great loss to Singaporeans. He was a well-respected man."

Retiree Adeline Choo, 53, who arrived at 7.45am, said: "I am usually very apathetic about local politics, but I had to come and pay my last respects because Lee Kuan Yew was more than a politician.

"He was not just human, he was like our superhero."

Over at Parliament House, where the gun carriage was not expected to arrive until 9.30am at the earliest, a son and a mother had taken up their positions across the road at 6.45am.

Mr Lai Chin Beng, 47, who is unemployed, and his mother, 75, started walking there from their three-room HDB flat in Redhill at 4am.

He said in Mandarin: "My mother really wanted to be here and she insisted that we set off from home early. Since there were no bus services at that time, we decided to treat it like a morning exercise."

Madam Goh Ah Choo offered a toothless smile, then said in Hokkien: "Mr Lee was a good man. If not for him, Singapore would not be what it is today. For all that he has done, he is definitely worth the time and effort."

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