Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

Eulogies delivered by family members at Mr Lee Kuan Yew's cremation service

SINGAPORE - Mr Lee Kuan Yew's family bid him a final farewell at a private service at Mandai Crematorium on Sunday, March 29, where five family members delivered touching eulogies for Singapore's founding prime minister, who was to them, a loving and doting father and grandfather.

Here are highlights of their eulogies.

Eldest son Lee Hsien Loong, 63

PM Lee described how his father helped him on his first bike ride.

"Once when I was just getting the hang of balancing on two wheels, he pushed me off... I pedalled off across the field, thinking that he was still supporting and pushing me."Then I looked back and found that actually he had let go, and I was cycling on my own, launched, and he had let go! He was so pleased. So was I. 

Read the eulogy here

Daughter Lee Wei Ling, 60

Daughter Wei Ling delivered a hearty, heartfelt eulogy on her "stubborn, determined" father she admitted she so resembled.

She lived with her father in Oxley Road, and as a doctor too, was often the first line of defence when he was ill, she said. She thanked his medical team for their care of her father.

Dr Lee has shunned the media spotlight all week, even as 1.2 million people in Singapore paid their last respects to Mr Lee at Parliament House or at tribute centres across the island. Clad in a black dress yesterday, she looked composed, although she admitted it had been a difficult week for her.

In the morning, she said, the maid put Mr Lee's chair away from the dining table and lined it against the wall. "It was a poignant moment because it came home to me that this farewell is forever. And I nearly broke down - but I can't break down, I am a Hakka woman."

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Dr Lee revealed that the late Mr Lee had developed Parkinson's disease three years ago which severely limited his mobility.

"He had great difficulty standing and walking. But he refused to use a wheelchair or even a walking stick. He would walk, aided by his SOs."

He was also plagued by bouts of hiccups, and his ability to swallow both solids and liquids was impaired.

She ended her eulogy with a poignant note: "This morning I noticed that the maid, in setting the dining table, had moved away Papa's chair and placed it against the wall. It was a poignant reminder that this farewell is for ever. I have been controlling my feelings for this past week, but looking at this unexpected scene, I nearly broke down. But I can't break down, I am a Hakka woman.

Read the eulogy here

Younger son Lee Hsien Yang, 57

He said Mr Lee was "my own special father", who was always there to give him guidance and advice, but also prepared to let him find his own wings.

"Papa, thank you for being my own special father. Always there to guide, counsel and advise, every step of the way, but also prepared to step back and let me find my own wings and make my own way."

"Papa, it is hard to say goodbye. Your work is done and your rest is richly deserved. In our own different and diverse ways, my family and I will continue to honour you and your memory in all that we do."

"Papa, thank you for a lifetime of service to the people of Singapore. You made this little red dot into the nation all of us are proud to call home."

Read the eulogy here

Grandson Li Hongyi, 28

Hongyi, the second son of PM Lee, fought back tears as he spoke of how his grandfather had inspired him. He had to pause for several seconds before his mother Ho Ching went up to him and passed him a piece of tissue, and placed a comforting hand on his back.

"Ye Ye showed me that you could make a difference in this world. Not just that you could make a difference, but that you could do it with your head held high. You didn't have to lie, cheat, or steal. You didn't have to flatter, charm or cajole."

Read the eulogy here

Grandson Li Shengwu, 30

Shengwu, the eldest son of Hsien Yang, said the late Mr Lee loved his role as a doting grandfather.

"When the grandchildren were very little, Ye Ye would take us on walks to feed the fishes at the Istana. We would perch on the edge of the pond, the ripples of our breadcrumbs breaking the mirrored surface of the water. He liked to have the grandchildren nearby as he rode his stationary bike on the green grass."

"Ye Ye loved his role as a doting grandfather. It delighted him, at each Chinese New Year, when the grandchildren would line up to greet him and receive hongbaos."

Read the eulogy here