Prayers and good wishes for Heng's recovery

Tampines residents Kathy Goh (left), 31, and Janessa Thng, 30, leaving flowers at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where Mr Heng remains in the intensive care unit. They were among many who visited the hospital yesterday to place get-well cards, flowers and g
Tampines residents Kathy Goh (left), 31, and Janessa Thng, 30, leaving flowers at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where Mr Heng remains in the intensive care unit. They were among many who visited the hospital yesterday to place get-well cards, flowers and gifts for the Finance Minister.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Many people leave cards and flowers at hospital; religious leaders pray for him

Religious leaders of various faiths gathered at the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) headquarters yesterday evening to pray for a speedy recovery for Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, who collapsed from a stroke at a weekly Cabinet meeting on Thursday.

They were among Singaporeans conveying their good wishes throughout the day for Mr Heng, who remains in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH). Many had also gone to the hospital to leave get-well cards, flowers and gifts for him.

Mr Foo Check Woo, 60, president of the IRO and a representative of the Baha'i faith, said: "We thought that it was only appropriate for us to come together as an inter-faith community to pray for his quick recovery."

They were joined by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng.

Mr Tharman described Mr Heng as "someone who has the ability to work with everyone - people of different faiths, people of different ethnic groups, people from all walks of life".

"He represents the best in Singapore - something we all aspire to be," he said.

Since news of Mr Heng's stroke broke on Thursday evening, his Cabinet and parliamentary colleagues had also spoken of his commitment to his work.

Mr Baey, Mr Heng's fellow MP in Tampines GRC, told reporters that Mr Heng had been giving out carnations to residents at community events last weekend. "We all know he has heavy responsibilities as a minister. He travels quite a lot and yet, he spends time in his constituency," he said.

Tampines residents Kathy Goh, 31, and Janessa Thng, 30, who went to TTSH after work to leave flowers and a card, were among those who have often seen Mr Heng around the constituency.

Ms Thng, an Institute of Technical Education lecturer, said: "Seeing how hard-working he is, how much effort he has put in... we hope for his speedy recovery."

Prominent businessman A.R. Jumabhoy, from Scotts Group, also went to TTSH. The nonagenarian, who met Mr Heng last week at a meeting, said he was shocked to hear Mr Heng had taken ill.

"He is a very fine man... serving the public (and) serving the people", he said.

Others who showed up at the hospital included Gardens by the Bay chief operating officer Felix Loh and Poi Ching School vice-principal Esther See.

There was also teenager Sean Bay, who thanked Mr Heng for his work as Education Minister from 2011 until last year.

"You did a very good job... especially encouraging teachers not to be too strict (with) their students during exam time. I will do my best to do well in my studies and to be hard-working," he wrote on a get-well card.

The outpouring of good wishes continued online, with Facebook posts from opposition parties such as the National Solidarity Party and SingFirst, and politicians, including Singapore People's Party's Chiam See Tong and his wife Lina Chiam.

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said on Facebook: "Glad that Swee Keat is stable after the successful procedures yesterday.

"But these are early days and he will need close monitoring in the ICU for quite some time more. His wife and children are holding up well and grateful for your prayers and support."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2016, with the headline 'Prayers and good wishes for Heng's recovery'. Print Edition | Subscribe