Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

Mr Lee Kuan Yew's funeral: Crowds start to gather along procession route

SINGAPORE - On Sunday morning - the day of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's state funeral - The Straits Times spoke to people already on the ground preparing for the procession that starts at 12.30pm.

Real estate agent Joanne Lee, 35, had been waiting with her friend since 6.45am in front of Parliament House, where a crowd of about 30 had gathered 45 minutes later.

She said: "I thought there would be a lot of people so we wanted to come early to get a good spot to give Mr Lee a send-off."

She brought a little orange stool, but with the steel barricades up, there was no space to put it.

By 7.45am, people started streaming into the Padang area. More than 100 lined St Andrew's Road, and some brought mats and laptops to while away the time.

Mr Edwin Hoo, 38, a sales executive, was there with his 5-year-old daughter.

He said: "I want to teach my daughter about Lee Kuan Yew."

Some packed picnic baskets such as Mr Jeffrey Goh and Mr Derrick Poh, who have been waiting across the road from the Fullerton hotel.

They were sitting on stools brought from home and munching on a takeaway breakfast as Mr Poh, 33, a senior executive in the transport industry, said: "We just came from Raffles Place where we 'dabao'd' our breakfast."

Over at the Trade Union House, a group of 38 from the Jamiyah halfway house turned up by 8.15am hoping to give Mr Lee a final farewell.

Barricades have already gone up all along the procession route, starting from Parliament House.

"We are here out of respect," said the group's welfare officer Ridhwan Bazeer, 29.

But over at Jalan Bukit Merah - further down the funeral processions route - all was quiet at 8.30am.

The barricades are up, but the crowds were not there yet, although some residents have put out chairs and stools to reserve a spot by the roadside.

"Is this being kiasu? No lah, Singapore only has one Lee Kuan Yew," said Ms Dawn Yong, 50, who put out three chairs for her family along Jalan Bukit Merah.