I never thought his death to hit me so hard. I woke up on Monday morning and first thing I saw was my sister's message that Mr Lee passed away early that morning at 3.18am. It immediately brought me to tears and I just could not shake off that dreadful feeling throughout the day, especially when reading through all the heartfelt tributes to him. Worst was when I saw PM Lee fighting back his tears to complete his ministerial duty to us when he announced the passing of his own father. I let them flow freely on his behalf.
I think I scared the boy too. I looked, sounded and felt like someone close to us had passed away. I've never met Mr Lee in person before, but hearing his stories from my parents and seeing his contributions everywhere, the pain of losing someone dear struck me hard as he was truly like our nation's Ah Kong. It was a sad, sad day for me, for us, for Singaporeans all over the world.
We knew the inevitable was coming. In the days leading up to his passing, there were those sad one-liners from the PMO and we wished desperately for more information. However, deep down we knew they couldn't give us more in case it drove us deeper into hope or despair. We prayed fervently for a miracle that he would at least live long enough to celebrate SG50 with us on 9 August this year.
Alas it was not meant to be. Words cannot express the gratitude and utmost respect I have towards him, as I've never been good with them during grief. But I'll try a short one.
"Dear Mr Lee,
You have lived a life worth living and brought Singapore to where it is today. You have made us proud to be Singaporeans, to stand tall whenever people ask where we come from. I've never lived through the hard days and can only imagine how difficult it was for you to bring us to this state of glory in just one lifetime.
It is my honour to have called you our leader, and I am greatly saddened that you're not around anymore.
As a citizen, I will continue as best as I can to live up to your expectations and build on what you have given us. As a parent, I will continue as best as I can to make sure my daughter does not forget your legacy, and grow to keep Singapore outstanding for many more generations to come.
Rest in peace, Sir."
Thank you, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Thank you for giving your life to us, and for keeping your vision and determination to build a better Singapore for all of us.
Mr Lee's body will lie in state at Parliament House from today until Saturday 28 March, for the public to pay their last respects. They can do so from 10am to 8pm daily during that time.
The Lying In State is part of the State Funeral procession, and is a tradition in which a coffin is placed in public view to allow the public to pay their last respects to the deceased. All members of the public can pay homage to the late Mr Lee. While there is no age restriction, children should be accompanied by adults.
There is no official dress code or code of conduct when paying respects at the Lying In State, but the public should be mindful of the solemnity and decorum of the occasion, both in their dressing and bearing.
A state funeral service for Mr Lee will be held at 2pm on Sunday 29 March at the National University of Singapore's University Cultural Centre, followed by a private cremation at Mandai Crematorium.
Condolence books and cards will be available in front of the Istana main gate from Monday to Sunday, for those who wish to pen their tributes to the late Mr Lee. Condolence books will also be opened at all overseas missions for overseas Singaporeans and friends.
The public can express their condolences and share their memories of the late Mr Lee at the official website. People can also call the 24-hour hotline on 6336-1166 with queries, or visit Remembering Lee Kuan Yew Facebook page for more details.