Relief for those in overnight queue for Parliament House as line starts moving again at 6am

SINGAPORE - The queue for people to pay their respects to Mr Lee Kuan Yew reopened on Saturday morning at 6.15am. Faced with overwhelming crowds, organisers had closed it temporarily at about 10pm on Friday, worried for the safety and well-being of those in line.

It took time, though, for the existing crowd to be processed overnight.

By 12pm on Saturday, 371,784 people had paid their respects to Singapore's first Prime Minister, who is lying in state at Parliament House. About 700,000 people have visited the People's Association's community sites by 11am, Saturday.

Closed queue or not, the move did not deter people determined to pay their respects to Singapore's founding Prime Minister.

Ms Zhou Xin Jie, 32, a marketing executive, joined the line at 2am at the Singapore Recreation Club with boyfriend Yap Wei Jie, 32. Four hours later, she was relieved when the line started moving.

"We want to do it regardless how long it'll take," she said.

Added Mr Yap: "We decided to stay since we're already here. We came to pay our last respects. It's the least we can do, for so much he's done."

And there was no sign of frayed nerves either, despite the long wait.

Said Ms Zhou: "Everyone was so nice to each other. Bought drinks for each other. Told people where to go to the toilet."

Mr Sajan Christy Pereira, a 30-year-old project coordinator, was there with his 34-year-old sister Susan Christy, a housewife.

They joined the line at City Hall at 1am.

Mr Pereira, an Indian national who has lived here for more than eight years, said: "We came in thinking, no matter how long, even 10 hours, we're prepared to wait. This man is a legend. This is the simplest way to show our respect.

"We're not frustrated with the line. We knew it would be something like this. We made the choice to come even though we knew there'd be so many people."

Mr Chng Sheng, 18, a part-time guest relations officer, was in line that started outside Raffles City since 3am.

"We came out of respect," he said.

"Without him we wouldn't have Singapore today."

His friend, Ms June Theng, 19, a Temasek Polytechnic student, added: "We won't leave until we see him. We don't mind waiting the whole day."

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