Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

Elderly Thai woman rides bus and motorcycle for 3 hours to watch Mr Lee Kuan Yew's funeral 

MADAM Sunee Vivatakron, 83, took three buses and one motorcycle taxi ride to get to the Singapore embassy in Bangkok to watch the live telecast of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's funeral on Sunday.

The journey from the Bangkok facility for the elderly - where she lives - to the embassy took three hours.

But she told The Straits Times: "He was a good man, and I admire him."

She did not know Mr Lee personally, but two of her grandchildren were schooled in Singapore.

"How do you write his name in Chinese?" She asked this reporter repeatedly. "I want to remember."

Madam Sunee was one of some 300 people who turned up at the embassy on Sunday to watch the live telecast. The auditorium on its third floor was simply adorned, with a Singapore flag next to the projector screen where the funeral was telecast. Black ribbons were handed out to attendees, some of whom quietly wiped away tears as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shared the more personal memories of his father.

Outside, embassy staff had laid out a simple spread of fried bee hoon, curry puff and rainbow-coloured kueh lapis - all Singaporean favourites - for the mourners.

Singapore ambassador to Thailand Chua Siew San said more than 1,000 people have turned up to sign Mr Lee's condolence book over the past week.

"It's been overwhelming, the response," she said. "I talk to the Singaporeans when they come.  Three days ago, a gentleman and two ladies, probably in early 60s or late 50s, took a nine-hour bus ride from Chiang Mai to get here. And they said 'it's the least we can do'."

 tanhy@sph.com.sg