Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

My father named me after Mr Lee Kuan Yew, says Malaysian Ting Kuan Yew

He may not be a Singaporean but his father named him after Mr Lee Kuan Yew because of his admiration for the late founding father of Singapore.

"My father is an admirer of Lee Kuan Yew and even though I'm Malaysian, I was named after him...When I was a kid, I went to Singapore and I passed through the immigration. An official said 'wah, you're Lee Kuan Yew! Hopefully you would be as successful as him','' Malaysian Jason Ting Kuan Yew, 32, told The Straits Times on Sunday at the Singapore embassy where a live telecast of the funeral procession of Mr Lee was held.

"As a way to respect him, we feel that it's good for us to be here and to be together with the Singaporeans here. We feel touched and moved by the ceremony and all."

Mr Ting was with his Indonesian wife Dewiani Muljadi and his son. His wife had studied and worked in Singapore.

Madam Dewiani said: "We respect Lee Kuan Yew a lot even though we are not Singaporean. He leaves behind a great legacy... We think that he is one of the role models for the Indonesian leaders to follow.''

Some 70 people were at the embassy to watch the live telecast. The funeral procession was also shown live on Jakarta-based Berita Satu TV station.  

"'I think even if many Singaporeans and other friends are not here, I'm very sure they are watching the proceedings from home because they told us that's what they intend to do this afternoon," Singapore's Ambassador to Indonesia Anil Kumar Nayar told The Straits Times.

"Since we opened the condolence book on Monday, we have had a large number of people coming forward to offer their condolences. Not just Singaporeans living in Indonesia, not just political office holders in Indonesia, but also even ordinary Indonesians, Malaysians, other foreigners,'' he said.

"Some of them have lived in Singapore before, but many of them have not. They were just so impressed with ... how he has transformed Singapore.''

Mr Peter Chao, 66, was among the Singaporeans who attended the live telecast of the funeral. He is the business development director of Indonesian Modern Group which deals with mining and property. He lives in South Jakarta, 45 minutes from the Singapore embassy.

"We feel very sad for the sudden demise of him and we feel that he was a great leader of wisdom," said Mr Chao.

"His candid views have put many countries together. It's a loss to our nation. We feel that he actually committed his whole life to build Singapore and to serve the people. We feel that he deserves all our adoration and compassion.

"When he became Prime Minister, I was a student. He was 35, I was 11. So I'm totally aware of what he did for Singapore. It's a great job. He made Singapore what is Singapore today - from a tiny fishing village to a modern metropolitan, one of the world's most advanced countries," he added.

wahyudis@sph.com.sg