Prayers and wishes for Mr Heng Swee Keat's recovery at community events on Sunday

Attendees of the Harmony Truck launch observe a minute of silence to say their prayers for Mr Heng Swee Keat.
Attendees of the Harmony Truck launch observe a minute of silence to say their prayers for Mr Heng Swee Keat. ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI
Attendees of the Harmony Truck launch observe a minute of silence to say their prayers for Mr Heng Swee Keat.
Attendees of the Harmony Truck launch observe a minute of silence to say their prayers for Mr Heng Swee Keat.ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI
Mr Lee Kim Siang (second from right), Chairman of Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society, writing his well wishes for Mr Heng Swee Keat.
Mr Lee Kim Siang (second from right), Chairman of Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society, writing his well wishes for Mr Heng Swee Keat. ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI
A sign indicating that the launch of the Harmony Truck has been dedicated to Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.
A sign indicating that the launch of the Harmony Truck has been dedicated to Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI
The Harmony Truck, which was launched today (May 15) at The Singapore Flyer. It aims to promote racial and religious harmony in Singapore.
The Harmony Truck, which was launched today (May 15) at The Singapore Flyer. It aims to promote racial and religious harmony in Singapore.ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI
Mr Lee Kim Siang, Chairman of Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society, being led around the Harmony Truck.
Mr Lee Kim Siang, Chairman of Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society, being led around the Harmony Truck.ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI
The interior of the Harmony Truck, which was launched at The Singapore Flyer. It aims to promote racial and religious harmony in Singapore.
The interior of the Harmony Truck, which was launched at The Singapore Flyer. It aims to promote racial and religious harmony in Singapore.ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

SINGAPORE - Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat was due to launch a project to promote harmony on Sunday morning.

But when the organiser Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society learnt that he suffered a stroke on Thursday, they decided not to invite another guest-of-honour.

Instead, the voluntary welfare organisation set up a guest book for well-wishers to pen messages to Mr Heng, who remains in stable condition at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

"We want to show that we respect our guest-of-honour. It's not right that just because Mr Heng is now unable to come, we get another person to replace him," the society's chairman, Mr Lee Kim Siang, said.

"Mr Heng has a very heavy schedule, yet he agreed to come the moment we invited him... He is very good and dedicated," he added.

Mr Lee said the book will be delivered to the Finance Ministry on Monday, together with a miniature model of a roving Harmony Truck launched at the event at the Singapore Flyer.

The actual truck contains information about the culture and beliefs of the different groups in Singapore, stories of new citizens and foreigners, as well as the racial riots here in the 1960s, and is part of an ongoing effort by the society to educate the public about the importance of racial, religious and social harmony.

It will travel to parks and foreign worker dormitories, among others.

It will also be at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park on June 19 for a family breakfast event featuring food from different local cultures. On June 25, the truck will be at the Youth Park in Somerset for a supper event to reach out to youngsters and help them understand the importance of racial and religious harmony.

On Sunday, Mr Lee also led over 300 guests at the event in a silent prayer for Mr Heng's quick recovery. Mr Lee wished Mr Heng a full and speedy recovery. Sinda CEO Kumaran Barathan wrote: "Have a speedy recovery. God bless."

Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim told reporters at a Mendaki event on education matters that Mr Heng is under constant observation.

"We need to give space to the family but most importantly, let us continue to pray for his recovery because he's a very important part of the Cabinet. He's a very important part of our Government in charting the future for Singapore," he added.

Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam told reporters at a HomeTeamNS run that he was also struck by the professionalism of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) team that attended to Mr Heng when he collapsed in the Istana's Cabinet room last week.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had, on Saturday, written to SCDF commissioner Eric Yap to commend the four officers involved.

Mr Shanmugam said on Sunday: "We were standing in the room, PM was there, senior ministers were there, the entire Cabinet was there.

"The SCDF officers - very young people, led by a lady - came in. They ignored all of us, they focused immediately on the patient and it told me that they were professional, they have been well-trained.

"It didn't matter who the patient was. In fact, they didn't know who the patient was until they came in."

Mr Shanmugam noted that the officers even questioned Minister of State Janil Puthucheary, a trained paediatrician who was already helping resuscitate Mr Heng, because they felt what he did was different from what they had been taught.

"He said it was right of them to question him. He then explained to them why he was doing it differently because of the circumstances," Mr Shanmugam added.

"Certainly, they didn't show any signs of any additional pressure. That is testimony to the professionalism and the training that the SCDF officers get," he said.