SINGAPORE - Mr Lee Kuan Yew took all things Singapore so seriously that what might seem like a light-hearted moment to most was no laughing matter to him, said grassroots leader Mr Leong Chun Loong.
In his eulogy, delivered at the state funeral service at the University Cultural Centre on Sunday, Mr Leong recounted anecdotes from working in Mr Lee's Tanjong Pagar constituency over 39 years.
Describing Mr Lee as his leader and friend, Mr Leong recalled a Lunar New Year celebration one year, when the firecrackers did not go off as planned, and instead sounded just as the National Anthem was being played.
"We thought it was quite funny but Mr Lee was not amused at all," said Mr Leong.
"Later he told us: 'If we can't even do this right, how can we run the country?'"
He added: "This incident showed us how serious he was about all things concerning Singapore and how he always expected us to do our best for Singapore."
Another time, at a Family Day function held by the constituency, residents caught in the sun during the event were perspiring, while key officials were in the shade.
"He turned around and asked us what we were going to do about it.
"He was always thinking about the people and he expected us to put their interest above our own."
Mr Leong also recalled how Mr Lee took delight in catching up with grassroots leaders and old friends at constituency dinners, his face lighting up with pride whenever he heard they were doing well and leading good lives. "Even though Mr Lee is no longer with us, his legacy is something that we Singaporeans will always remember," said Mr Leong."