Remember Lee Kuan Yew's values and passion for Singapore to overcome challenges, President Tony Tan says

President Tony Tan and his wife Mary laying a bouquet at Istana Park.
President Tony Tan and his wife Mary laying a bouquet at Istana Park.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - Remember and live out Mr Lee Kuan Yew's values and passion for Singapore, and Singaporeans can overcome the challenges that come their way.

That was President Tony Tan Keng Yam's message as he marked the first death anniversary of the founding Prime Minister by laying a bouquet with his wife at a remembrance site at Istana Park on Wednesday afternoon (March 23).

Mr Tan wrote on Facebook: "I am confident that by continuing to remember and live out Mr Lee's values and passion for Singapore, Singaporeans can overcome whatever challenges that may come our way as one people, and keep our beloved nation shining brightly for many more years to come."

Dr Tan said that he was touched to see many Singaporeans at the remembrance site, adding: "Mr Lee has indeed touched many Singaporeans through his lifetime of service to Singapore."

Accompanying him and his wife were People's Association chief executive director Ang Hak Seng and some members of the Istana staff who had served the late Mr Lee.

Among those also at Istana Park were Boys' Brigade president Ho Yew Kee, 52, and Girls' Brigade assistant brigade commissioners Chow Yuen Peng, 59, and Jenny Gan, 62, who went down to pay their respects to Mr Lee. The late founding prime minister was the reviewing officer for the first Boys' Brigade parade in 1965, Prof Ho said.

He added: "In the past, it was compulsory for boys and girls to be part of a uniform group, which was good for a young nation as it helped to instil discipline in a safe environment."

The same site had earlier seen both young and old turn up to commemorate the occasion. About 30 pupils and teachers from Pat's Schoolhouse Prinsep visited the memorial site in the morning, laying sunflowers and even having an impromptu lesson, while Singaporeans who had witnessed the country's transformation first-hand like former bus driver Toh Hock Kee travelled to pay their respects.

Events around the country had kicked off from early on Wednesday morning to mark the first death anniversary of Mr Lee.

One organised by the grassroots team at Geylang Serai saw residents gathering at the community club for a memorial and tree-planting event. A 45-minute video on Mr Lee's life was screened.

Some took to the stage to express their appreciation and gratitude to Mr Lee, with one even breaking down in tears.

"His foresight is very good. He can think very far. It is sad that he is no longer with us, but his ideas will bring us together and bring us forward," said retiree Fu Chuan San, 75.

Grassroots adviser Fatimah Lateef urged parents to pass on Mr Lee's legacy at a family level. She said: "It is important that parents, the baby boomers and the pioneers pass his legacy on at the family level. In schools, this is what we should incorporate into our books.

"I think we should continue to have exhibitions, and roadshows and on his anniversaries of his passing to remind the younger generation about what he has done for us. Memory can be short so that is why we have to always remind and reinforce the fact that you have to fight for the things you want."