Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

More than 65,000 messages to Mr Lee Kuan Yew archived by National Library Board so far

SINGAPORE - Over 65,000 tributes to Mr Lee Kuan Yew, which poured in after the founding prime minister died on March 23 aged 91, have been digitally archived by the National Library Board so far.

The Board hopes to finish digitising the tributes collected during the week of national mourning from the Istana, Parliament House, 18 community tribute sites, and public libraries by the end of the year.

But the date of completion may change as the total number of tributes is still unknown and some are still trickling in from the tribute sites, a board spokesman said on Monday.

This morning, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim visited the volunteers and thanked them for their efforts in helping to preserve a part of Mr Lee's legacy.

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Staff and volunteers have been sorting and scanning the tributes since April 20. About 50 of them work from 10am to 6pm on weekdays at Geylang East Public Library amid countless boxes of condolence cards, posters, and other notes.

They pore over the material and sort them according to size, language and the location where they were penned. Each message is read, as those recounting personal interactions with Mr Lee are placed in their own category. The items are then scanned and indexed by other volunteers manning laptops.

Some of the archived messages can already be seen on Singapore Memory Project portal under the irememberLeeKuanYew Collection.

Meanwhile, unique items such as plaques, a box of paper cranes and Chinese calligraphy couplets will be photographed from different angles.

One of the volunteers is 13-year-old Sandy Pratama. He was using his free time during the school holidays to operate the scanning machine.

"I was overseas during the national mourning week so I came here to read the messages and also help at the same time," said the Assumption English School student.

Another volunteer, accounts clerk Ching Yoke Yin, 59, helped read the condolence cards written in Chinese as part of the sorting process.

"Many of them are well-written in beautiful handwriting. It's touching to read the heart-felt messages," she said.

The Library hopes more volunteers will step forward. Those who are interested can sign up on its website or simply walk in at Geylang East Public Library.

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