Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

5.30am update: Unofficial queue to pay respects to Mr Lee Kuan Yew forms in wake of suspension of entry to Padang

SINGAPORE - An unofficial queue snaking around St Andrew's Cathedral to the Supreme Court has been formed by people who want to pay their final respects to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

This comes after entry into the Padang, the official holding area where a huge crowd is already waiting, was temporarily closed at about 11pm on Friday.

One of those in the unofficial queue was NUS undergraduate Duan Tian Zhi, 27, who was standing at the Supreme Court.

"I know this is the queue to the queue. I went to Raffles Place MRT at 3am and walked over here because I heard City Hall was closed.

"I'm happy just to get in to Parliament. If I have to wait to 8pm then so be it," he said, referring to the time that the lying in state period ends.

Also in the unofficial queue is Mr Low Wun Gong, 56, the chief executive of a consultancy. He is stationed in Shanghai and touched down at Changi Airport at about 3pm on Friday specially to pay his final respects to Mr Lee.

Asked how long he was willing to wait, he said: "Well, getting to say farewell is the purpose of this trip, isn't it?"

Those at the Padang also faced an arduous wait as the queue had grown so long that a new holding area was set up at the floating platform.

After finishing the wait at the Padang, people had to walk to the floating platform before turning back in the direction of Parliament House, where Mr Lee's body is lying in state.

Even after hearing the news of the temporary closure of the queue, many had lingered around the City Hall area, hoping for the suspension to be lifted.

Meanwhile, a throng of volunteers worked tirelessly to distribute bread, biscuits, apples, and even sweet potatoes while others gave out bottles of water and cans of herbal tea and isotonic drinks.

Some of the supplies came from companies and others came from ordinary Singaporeans stepping forward, such as a family that bought 525 apple pies from McDonald's for those waiting in line.

The queue remained orderly throughout the night, with applause breaking out sporadically for the volunteers and spirits remaining high as people chatted or tried to catch a nap while waiting.

At about 3am, a few drops of rain could be felt but it was not enough to get people to break out the umbrellas.