MR LEE Kuan Yew's final gift to Singapore was perhaps bringing out the best in its people as they mourned his passing, Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin said.
It was a glimpse of the kind of society Singapore could be, Mr Tan noted in his eulogy, delivered at a memorial service held at the Singapore Embassy in Beijing last night.
"In that one week, we saw people who were selfless, people who were looking out for each other, who were unwavering, who were kind," noted Mr Tan, who also holds the Manpower portfolio until May 4.
"And maybe that's his farewell gift to us, to show how far we've come, as one people, as one nation. It now rests on us to build on that."
More than 100 Singaporeans gathered for the 90-minute service, which took place as the one-month death anniversary approaches. Mr Lee died on March 23, aged 91. The mood at the service was solemn, with a few sniffles occasionally heard among the crowd.
Mr Tan later told reporters that the memorial service was a good opportunity for those who were in Singapore when Mr Lee died - people like himself - to share their experience with the many Singaporeans who were not.
In a separate eulogy, Singapore's Ambassador to China Stanley Loh highlighted the important contribution Mr Lee had brought to the China- Singapore relationship. He noted that Mr Lee had visited China more than 30 times, leaving a "deep impression" on China's leaders over the decades, which allowed Singapore to benefit from the strong bilateral ties.
Others, like Ms Dorothy Seet, who heads the Singapore Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China, shared more personal anecdotes. She runs a clothing business in China and had tailored clothes, including several mandarin jackets, for Mr Lee since 2001.
Mr Tan yesterday also met senior Chinese official Xu Xianming, deputy director at the Office of the Central Commission for Comprehensive Social Management and Governance.
Today, he will officiate at the opening of Singapore: Inside Out, a multi-disciplinary showcase of contemporary creative disciplines which includes collaborations between Singapore and Chinese artists.