Snapshots of S'poreans paying tribute to Mr Lee Kuan Yew compiled into a book

They were born in the late 1980s, just a couple of years before Mr Lee Kuan Yew stepped down as Prime Minister of Singapore.

But while they enjoyed the fruit of his policies, they rarely saw the man in action.

This prompted professional photographers Bernice Wong, 26, and Juliana Tan, 25, to get involved in a unique project to bring together images of people paying tribute to Mr Lee during his wake and funeral in the last week of March.

The two project directors behind the initiative said: "For our generation, Mr Lee lived in our textbooks, in taxi conversations with drivers grumbling about the 'gahmen' (government), and in National Day telecasts.

"When we entered university, we read papers criticising his tough stance on opposition parties, censorship and other issues.

"As a teenager transiting to adulthood, it was easier to be sceptical than grateful."

After Mr Lee's passing, they saw a range of stories celebrating his life, from television documentaries to special editions of newspapers dedicated to him.

Social media was flooded with old clips of Mr Lee's interviews, articles such as 91 Quotes of Lee Kuan Yew That Show Why You Either Love Or Hate Him and many others.


Facebook became a platform for heartfelt tributes.

Together with other members of Platform, a gathering of Singapore-based photographers who use stills, videos or multimedia to tell stories, the book Thank You, Mr Lee was born.

Fifty-three images from 21 photographers are included in the 96-page book.

From March 25, the team held an open call over five days.

Photographers were invited to send in their work as single photographs or a series.

The team then whittled down the more than 40 submissions to 21.

In the book, published by Basheer Graphic Books, the team decided not to provide captions, letting the pictures speak for themselves.

In an e-mail to The New Paper, the duo said: "What we saw in the days after his passing was truly remarkable and many of the pictures in this book will attest to that.

"But even more important than the individual actions was that we, as a nation, felt a collective sense of loss."

They said they made this book in the hope that it will bear witness to those feelings, for the photographers and for the readers.

"And while we should continue to be critical in our thinking, at this time our hearts are filled with gratitude," they added.

More information

WHAT: Launch of Thank You, Mr Lee

WHEN: Thursday, 7.30pm

WHERE: Basheer Graphic Books, Bras Basah Complex, #04-19

BOOK DETAILS: Priced at $12.99 each, 1,500 copies of the 96-page book will be on sale at Basheer Graphic Books and other book stores from Friday.

CONTRIBUTORS: 21 amateur and professional photographers submitted their images for free for the book.

They are Jean Loo, Shintaro Tay, Ung Ruey Loon, Edwin Koo, Chia Aik Beng, Ron Lee, Loh Kengfun, Tom White, Chua Chin Hon, Mindy Tan, Ted Chen, Lim Weixiang, Jimmy Sng, John Heng, Alvin Ho, Sean Yeo, Darren Soh, Koh Szekiat, Benjamin Lim, Melvin Tan and Shyue Woon.



This article was first published on April 7, 2015.
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