leekuanyew

Thousands queue to see Lee Kuan Yew exhibition

Long queues formed unexpectedly at the National Museum of Singapore yesterday, as thousands waited for more than three hours on average to catch a glimpse of artefacts from the life of the nation’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

A week ago, over a million people queued for up to half a day to pay homage to Mr Lee, who died on March 23, aged 91. On Good Friday, many stood patiently in line once more, to see the memorial exhibition on his life and work.

Museum staff had to close the queue at 4pm as there was still a four-hour wait and the museum would shut at 8pm. They sent out a tweet at 5pm to announce that admission to the exhibition had closed for the day. An estimated 5,500 people passed through the museum's doors yesterday.

Two days earlier, Mr Lee's famous red box - where he kept his working documents - was added to the display.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong visited the museum at around 5.30pm to thank those queueing.

He said the red box, in particular, had captured the imagination of Singaporeans. "It's more than just what Mr Lee used for his work every day. It stood for his values, it stood for his dedication, for Singapore. It has meaning beyond just the box itself."

He added: "It's quite unexpected in a sense, as this is not new - it's been around for a week, and we didn't see crowds like that last week. Perhaps it's a combination of factors - we now have the red box, and the exhibition has had some publicity, and also it's a public holiday."

In Memoriam: Lee Kuan Yew will run daily from 10am to 8pm until April 26. Over 22,800 people have visited the exhibition so far.

oliviaho@sph.com.sg

chuimin@sph.com.sg