Dawn to dusk events mark day Mr Lee Kuan Yew died

Volunteers and partners of the People's Association laying flowers at a remembrance site for Mr Lee at Istana Park yesterday. At the National Gallery, on the steps of the former City Hall, a group of volunteers formed an illuminated ribbon with elect
Children laying flowers as a form of tribute to the late Mr Lee at Jurong Lake Park yesterday, on the first anniversary of his death. More than 350 residents also joined DPM Tharman in planting 53 mempat trees, which will be part of the new Jurong Lake Gardens.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Volunteers and partners of the People's Association laying flowers at a remembrance site for Mr Lee at Istana Park yesterday. At the National Gallery, on the steps of the former City Hall, a group of volunteers formed an illuminated ribbon with elect
Volunteers and partners of the People's Association laying flowers at a remembrance site for Mr Lee at Istana Park yesterday. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Volunteers and partners of the People's Association laying flowers at a remembrance site for Mr Lee at Istana Park yesterday. At the National Gallery, on the steps of the former City Hall, a group of volunteers formed an illuminated ribbon with elect
At the National Gallery, on the steps of the former City Hall, a group of volunteers formed an illuminated ribbon with electric candles, and got passers-by to pen messages on the candles.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Morning walk, tree planting and candlelight ceremony among events to remember him

Mr Lee Kuan Yew's commitment to exercising daily inspired 600 people to gather at Dhoby Ghaut Green before dawn yesterday to mark the first death anniversary of Singapore's first prime minister.

They went on a 2.8km brisk walk that took them close by Mr Lee's home in Oxley Road.

Education centre owner Jean Ho, 50, who was with her husband, said the event organised by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry was "a meaningful way for us to remember our dear Mr Lee's legacy".

"He embodies the fighting spirit of our forefathers, and he taught us the importance of having a harmonious society," she said.

"Living together in peace with people of other races is something we cannot take for granted, and is one of the things I am grateful to the late Mr Lee for."

THANKS, MR LEE

I wrote 'I miss you and thank you, Mr Lee'. We came here as we wanted to remember him.

MADAM TAN SHEAU YANN, who penned a message on a candle at a tribute event for Mr Lee.

From pre-schoolers clutching flowers to retirees holding cherished memories, thousands of Singaporeans turned up at remembrance events across the island.

Organisers said the activities are to celebrate Mr Lee's life and remind Singaporeans of what it took to build a nation, and what it will take to ensure its success.

In the morning, a group of 30 pupils and teachers from Pat's Schoolhouse at Prinsep visited a memorial site in Istana Park, where they placed sunflowers on the ground and had a quick history lesson.

Teacher Mayce Wu took her charges on a tour of the panels, emphasising the values that Mr Lee held dear: social cohesion, racial harmony and resilience.

Part-time bus cleaner Toh Hock Kee, 65, travelled from his home in Jurong East to the park. He said he still keeps newspaper cuttings on Mr Lee and added: "Looking at them brings tears to my eyes."

Retiree Anthony Low, 63, came from Clementi with his wife: "I came to remember him and his contributions. He gave us a safe country and dared to make difficult decisions that helped us to progress."

Telok Kurau Primary, which Mr Lee attended from 1930 to 1935, held a special assembly.

Slides of his famous quotes were shown to pupils, some of whom spoke of how he inspired them.

Said 11-year-old Yee Jia Rong: "He wanted us to be strong and free, and he believed we could do it and never looked down on us."

At Jurong Lake Park, more than 350 residents from the area joined Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and planted 53 mempat trees. These will be part of the new Jurong Lake Gardens.

The campaign to plant trees was started in 1963 by Mr Lee, and led to Singapore's "greening".

Carrying a watering can, Shuqun Primary pupil Cedric Cheng, 12, said: "I'm proud to be able to continue his legacy through this tree-planting activity."

At Holy Tree Sri Balasubramaniar Temple in Yishun, devotees gathered for the Panguni Uthiram festival found it auspicious that it coincided with the anniversary.

Said Mr Kanapathy, 62, who goes by only one name: "If LKY were not here, I don't think we would have this multicultural society where we can all practise our religions and everybody respects one another."

President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, visited Istana Park in the afternoon, and he said he was touched to see Singaporeans from all walks of life honouring the memory of Mr Lee.

He said in a Facebook post: "I am confident that by continuing to remember and live out Mr Lee's values and passion for Singapore, Singaporeans can overcome whatever challenges that may come our way as one people, and keep our beloved nation shining brightly for many more years to come."

As the sun began to set, a group of volunteers turned on electric candles to form a ribbon on the former City Hall steps, and got passers-by to pen messages on the candles.

Madam Tan Sheau Yann, 45, who works in a bank and was with her husband and sister, said: "I wrote 'I miss you and thank you, Mr Lee'. We came here as we wanted to remember him."

At Tanjong Pagar Community Club, 600 residents gathered for an evening ceremony at which six speakers spoke about Mr Lee.

Zhangde Primary School pupil Saleem Haja Mydin, 12, said Mr Lee inspired him to want to use technology to "build on what our forefathers had left us".

Pinnacle@Duxton resident Vera Ang, 11, said she dreams of a day when Singapore would be covered by an invisible net that could "filter out the bad acts of terrorists".

"That way, the country Mr Lee worked so hard to build can be kept safe," she added.

She also said she enjoyed hanging out at her estate's sky garden.

Senior Minister of State Indranee Rajah, a Tanjong Pagar GRC MP, told Vera she would put a telescope there this year so that she and other residents can "reach for the stars".

•Additional reporting by Ng Keng Gene, Wong Shiying, Samuel Mak and Rachel Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2016, with the headline 'Dawn to dusk events mark day Mr Lee died'. Print Edition | Subscribe