Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

Blog: Standing in line to pay respects to Mr Lee Kuan Yew

SINGAPORE - Reporter Rachel Chang joined many others waiting in line on Wednesday morning to enter Parliament House to pay respects to Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

Here's a first-person account:

I joined the queue near Elgin Bridge (along North Bridge Road) at about 10am in the morning on Wednesday.

Fifteen minutes in, the gentleman in his 30s next to me disappeared, confessing that he did not realise it would be such an arduous thing.

Three hours later, a policeman told those of us in the queue that there would at least six hours more to go. Some of my fellow queuers peeled off then, like Janet, a middle-aged lady who is supposed to start her shift at a Buddhist temple at 5pm. She said she would leave the flowers she brought for Mr Lee at the tribute area near Clementi instead.

Around Canton Street, a nice shopowner left out dispensers of iced water and orange punch, which we guzzled with gratitude. Policeman around us were sweatily ushering crowds away from cars and putting up barricades.

The wait greatly improved when we reached UOB Plaza. The river breeze was cooling and the wide open vista was a welcome change from being stared at from a close distance by the office lunch crowds over their yummy plates of mee goreng.

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My fellow queuers and I are a supportive band of brothers. We urge one another to go for lunch or to the toilet while we hold their spots. We share umbrellas and tissue paper.

We keep calculating and recalculating the distance from where we are and Parliament House. It must be less than six hours more, we tell each other.