Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

Netizens debate over wearing black or white to pay last respects to Mr Lee Kuan Yew

SINGAPORE- Should Singapore wear black or white on Sunday to unite on the last day of mourning for the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew?

Messages urging everyone to wear either black or white as a sign of respect on the day of Mr Lee's funeral, have been circulating via WhatsApp and social media.

But some, like Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan Jin, say it doesn't matter. "White? Black? What's in a colour? Just wear your heart on your sleeve. I, for one, believe that even as we mourn and grieve, we are also celebrating his life and Our Singapore. It's something really remarkable isn't it?"


The messages first surfaced at the start of the week.

One message said: "We are spreading the word ... Everyone wear black tops on Sunday ... 5 million people in black to mourn for Mr Lee."

Meanwhile, several people have also received messages urging them to wear white, to represent Mr Lee's People's Action Party (PAP) colour and purity.

"I believe our Founding Father MM Lee Kuan Yew would love to see us Singaporeans wear white also, while some may chose to wear black."

A small minority have also said that they would wear pink, which Mr Lee's tailor, Fong Loo Fern, said was his favourite colour.

There has been no official word from the Government, and memes have appeared from the different camps. Shirts of different colours are also being hawked online.

In the end, it is the sincerity that matters, says Facebook user Tony Wu. "Whether ebony or ivory, so long as we are in perfect the song goes and that is what the man wants."

In his Facebook post, Minister Tan also posted an encounter with an elderly man, who approached him to apologise for wearing a bright shirt to pay respects. "Uncle, what matters is that you cared enough to come. Doesn't matter the colour," he replied.

While netizens debate on the colour they should wear, one Singaporean is also urging people not to bring their phones and other devices during Mr Lee's state funeral on Sunday.

The 29-year-old businessman, who wanted to be known only as Mr Singh, said: "I am hoping everyone can show appreciation and respect, and be in that moment, instead of taking photos and videos to share."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.