The outpouring of love and respect for the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, our founding Prime Minister, has been overwhelming. More importantly, just as in the passing of a revered patriarch of a family, it has brought all Singaporeans together. His death caused us to focus on his life’s work and reminded us how poor we started out, how fortunate that the heavens smiled on us and gave us Mr Lee and his colleagues who persevered through difficulties to build a thriving metropolis. On Sunday, all Singaporeans will together have to say our final farewell to Mr Lee.
The SAF will bid Mr Lee our final farewell with the highest honours. As the gun carriage carries Mr Lee’s body from Parliament House, there will be a 21-gun salute fired by four ceremonial 25-pounder guns as the procession journeys around the Padang. Four RSAF Black Knights will also salute Mr Lee as his body passes City Hall with a "Missing Man" formation where one Black Knight breaks off. As Mr Lee’s body crosses the Esplanade Bridge, Patrol Vessels RSS Dauntless and RSS Resilience will conduct a ceremonial sailpast off the Marina Barrage as our final salute.
It will be a painful moment of finality and parting, but life will go on. PM Lee Hsien Loong shared this poignant Chinese poem with me:
(A thousand sails pass the sunken barge, ten thousand saplings spring forth around the dying tree.)
Mr Lee Kuan Yew would encourage us to continue to live life to its fullest, to take Singapore further and make the World proud of what more we can accomplish from what he had started.
Dr. Ng Eng Hen