This is a personal wish and mission I have to accomplished, no matter how long it takes, to bid our founding prime minister farewell. What is 5.5 hours wait to say thank you to a man who had spent more than 50 years building a nation we call our home?
The strange thing was, when I was in the queue, time just flew by. The queue came in different phases.
Here's a recount of my journey this morning to bid Mr Lee Kuan Yew farewell:
8.35am: Start queueing in front of the War Memorial. The queue just doesnt stop. While queueing, its also a good time to enjoy the view around us, and appreciate the goodness the man had brought us. Learning to appreciate more.
9.13am: reached Padang. Read the placard that the estimated waiting time is 10 hrs. We were lead to a queue and started waiting.
9.50am: Updated by army personnel our waiting time is about 4 hrs from here on and we were asked to make ourselves comfortable. So we started sitting down and wait for the next movement. Army staff and volunteers came around distributing drinks and biscuits every now and then.
11.30am: Reached the next phase of queue at the Esplanade. Here's where the long, snaking queue started. Movement were slow and steady. Everyone was orderly and patient.
12.25pm: Light rain comes and everyone starts opening umbrellas. Still orderly. Light rain lasted less than 2 minutes.
1.10pm: Reached the underpass of Anderson Bridge. We were directed to move in blocks from this point on so that we could have air circulation and for evacuation purpose, if ever needed.
1.20pm: Beside the Singapore River. Less than 1 hr to go to reach Parliament House. Took the opportunity to have a good look at the place I have many memories, and a place I have not been for a long, long time. And I remembered reading an article about Mr Lee coming to the river on the night after Mrs Lee's funeral. I wondered where was he standing then.
1.35pm: Arrived at the white tentage, hints of our proximity to the Parliament House. Wrote on condolence card that was made available. Couldnt write much and write well as it was all done while moving.
1.45pm: Reaching security counters. Bags and humans were screened.
1.55pm: Entered the Parliament House compound. Someone important must have been there while we were in the queue but couldnt make out who. Could it be ex-President of Indonesia, Ms Megawati? I dont know and we have to keep moving. As I neared the building, the solemn feeling came back. The heart was pounding. The sadness overwhelming me once again.
2pm: Said my final thank you and goodbye to Mr Lee. Sobs and sniffs could be heard. A vigil party was sitting but I didnt quite make out who they were. My mind was in a whirl after seeing Mr Lee's casket, and had to move on.
Thank you, Sir. This is the least I can do for you to show how much you were (and will continue to be) appreciated. Majullah Singapura!