Tuesday 11 August 2015

NDP 2015: Tribute to Lee Kuan Yew

In memory of Mr Lee
Film tribute to founding PM left many in tears, as Singaporeans recall his legacy in first parade without him
By Yeo Sam Jo, Lim Yi Han and Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh, The Straits Times, 10 Aug 2015

Yesterday's National Day Parade (NDP) marked not just the nation's Golden Jubilee, but also its first parade without Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

The absence of the nation's founding father was keenly felt when cameras panned to his empty seat and the orchids that took his place.

The Aranda Lee Kuan Yew, a bright golden yellow orchid with a green tinge, was named after Mr Lee following his death in March.

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong wrote in a Facebook post: "He was not there but his presence was palpable. I imagined Mr Lee Kuan Yew feeling nostalgic, joyful, proud and confident about Singapore's future.

"This is his last parade."

NDP 2015 - Tribute to Lee Kuan Yew by Boo Junfeng
<<NDP 2015 – Looking Forward with a Tribute to LKY>>We received many compliments for the NDP and co-celebrations around the Marina Bay last night. My congratulations to BG Melvyn Ong and his team, and Dick Lee and his creative team, for executing the biggest show ever staged in NDP history, probably for a long time to come – more than 200,000 gathered at the Padang, Floating Platform and Marina Bay area. But most of all, my heartfelt thanks to Singaporeans for making it their show. They reminisced over the vintage parade, gushed when SAF fighter planes did their aerial display, sang our songs with gusto and cried at the end of the tribute for LKY. In planning for NDP 2015, soon after the death of Mr Lee, I exhorted the organisers to ensure that we must look forward, and the NDP should end on a high about our future. This is what Mr Lee would have insisted on. But in truth, all of us with aching hearts wished Mr Lee could have joined us for this parade. So we decided a tribute to LKY that included an empty chair with the orchid Aranda named after him could fill up partially that longing. Here’s the video.- Ng Eng HenVideo: MediaCorp Channel 5#NDP2015NDPeepsSingapore50Remembering Lee Kuan Yew
Posted by Ng Eng Hen on Sunday, August 9, 2015

A sombre three-minute film tribute to Mr Lee brought many in the audience, including politicians, to tears. "I was crying so much during the tribute," said private tutor Sherley Williams-Servos, 44.

"He's the main architect of Singapore's success. It's the least we can do for him."

Dr Lily Neo, MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, where Mr Lee served as MP, was also in tears. "I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed with emotion," she said. "I am so thankful to Mr Lee for his whole life's dedication to ensure Singapore's success and I miss him dearly."

Fellow Tanjong Pagar GRC MP, Dr Chia Shi-Lu, said: "I think no-one was left untouched by the tribute."

The parade's multimedia director, film-maker Boo Junfeng, said the tribute was strung together from different documentaries.

It was set against NDP creative director Dick Lee's stripped-down rendition of this year's National Day song, Our Singapore.

"The key challenge was in differentiating the tribute at NDP from the films that have already been seen many times during the mourning period," said Mr Boo, 31.

"(It) is meant for everyone at the Padang to say that we miss him."

The tribute to Mr Lee also took to the skies, in the form of a "Five Stars" fly-past salute by the Republic of Singapore Air Force's aerobatics team, the Black Knights.

#NDP2015: Black Knights aerial flypast in tribute to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Live blog here: str.sg/Znmz
Posted by The Straits Times on Sunday, August 9, 2015

The five F-16s represented Singapore's ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality. It was a fitting salute, especially given that the Black Knights were unable to honour Mr Lee with their "Missing Man" formation on his funeral day due to rainy weather.

Referring to clips of Mr Lee speaking, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam said: "Mr Lee Kuan Yew's words always move.

"They went to the heart of why Singapore came to be, why it is special 50 years on and what we have to keep reminding ourselves of as we make our future."

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, who was Mr Lee's principal private secretary from 1997 to 2000, said he was moved that Mr Lee's fellow pioneer leaders - Mr Othman Wok, Mr Jek Yeun Thong and Mr Ong Pang Boon - joined the parade. "If Mr Lee saw the parade, I think he would have had a deep sense of satisfaction at our progress and said, 'Well done, our people can achieve great things when we work together.'

"Then he would say, 'Life goes on, let's get back to our work of keeping Singapore and Singaporeans safe, stable and happy'," he added.

"The best tribute we can pay to Mr Lee, and our pioneers who gave us the first 50 years, is to stay united and commit ourselves to do our best for Singapore."

Retiree Tan Bee Leng, 64, said: "The fact that we are here celebrating 50 years is something to be happy about. Rather than feel sad that (Mr Lee) is not here, we should remember what he has done for us."

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Empty seat a reminder to continue to take Singapore forward
Teo Ser Luck reminisces about taking wefie with Mr Lee Kuan Yew at last year's parade
By Elizabeth Law, The New Paper, 10 Aug 2015

As the Padang went quiet on Sunday (Aug 9) in remembrance of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, some in the crowd felt the loss more keenly than others.

Among them was Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck who, along with several other MPs, had taken a wefie with Mr Lee at last year's National Day Parade.

Press cameras caught them taking the picture and that image went viral, garnering some 170,000 "likes" on The Straits Times' Facebook page.

Mr Teo's photograph was the last picture they took together before Mr Lee died on March 23.

MoS Teo Ser Luck taking a selfie with our founding Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. Also posing are fellow Ministers...
Posted by People's Action Party on Saturday, August 9, 2014

Speaking to The New Paper, Mr Teo revealed that he had not intended to put up the picture on social media but had simply wanted something to remember the day by.

In August last year, there were concerns about Mr Lee's health after he had not been seen in public for several months.

So when he arrived at the floating platform with the other Members of Parliament, the crowd went wild, said Mr Teo.

"A lot of people were clapping and cheering because they were very happy to see him. But after that, I saw that he was just sitting there by himself," Mr Teo added.

"I think many people wanted to talk to him but they all felt so respectful."

Mr Teo had met Mr Lee many times, including for several meals where Mr Lee, who was then Minister Mentor, would ask the new MPs for their views on a wide range of topics.

"I didn't want him to feel lonely, so I just went over to say hi and talk for a while," Mr Teo said of Mr Lee at last year's National Day Parade.

He also asked Mr Lee if he could take a picture.


"I didn't use the word 'selfie' and all that. My intention was to take a picture with him. He said 'sure' and smiled very nicely," said Mr Teo.

"A few of the other MPs were looking on, so I asked them to join in."

He added that he did not intend to put the picture on social media but had sent it to fellow MPs who were in the picture - Dr Amy Khor, Mr Heng Chee How and Ms Indranee Rajah.

Ms Indranee's post of the picture on Facebook drew nearly 5,600 "likes".

It was only after Mr Lee died that Mr Teo posted the picture. He also recalled Mr Lee asking him about his body mass index (BMI).

"I remember the short and personal chat at the gym where he asked about my BMI. Then there's the selfie that Mr Lee graciously allowed us to take," he wrote.

At Sunday's parade, an empty seat was left beside former Cabinet members Ong Pang Boon, Othman Wok and Jek Yeun Thong, the surviving signatories of the Independence of Singapore Agreement.

In Mr Lee's place was a sprig of yellow orchids.

Mr Teo said: "In past years, there was always an anticipation for when Mr Lee would appear. But this year, looking at the flowers on the seat, you feel a difference.

"We must continue to take Singapore forward because that's what Mr Lee would have wanted."

MP Heng Chee How, who was also in last year's selfie, said: "The empty seat must not only remind us of the absence of Mr Lee but spur us to continue in the spirit and purpose that he devoted his entire life to - building an ever better Singapore for all Singaporeans."

In past years, there was always an anticipation for when Mr Lee would appear. But this year, looking at the flowers on the seat, you feel a difference.

- Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck

#NDP2015: In loving memory. Live blog here: str.sg/ZnmzThe specimen of orchid had been christened the Aranda Lee Kuan...
Posted by The Straits Times on Sunday, August 9, 2015

'Crucial to reflect' on Mr Lee's legacy
Tenacity allowed marine, offshore industry to have a role in economy: Heng Chee How
By Adrian Lim, The Straits Times, 12 Aug 2015

The seat left empty in remembrance of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew at Sunday's National Day Parade was especially poignant for Senior Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Heng Chee How.

Mr Heng said he had the "honour" of sitting beside Mr Lee at previous parades.

"A seat was left empty with flowers," he said yesterday. "As I looked at that empty chair, it is not just the regret that we cannot have that man with us.

"What is more important is, what does he represent?"

Mr Heng was speaking at an observance ceremony held by Sembcorp Marine at Tanjong Kling Yard that was attended by 800 employees, partners and union representatives. He said that while Singaporeans would feel sadness and regret that Mr Lee had died before he could celebrate the country's Golden Jubilee, it was important to reflect on his legacy, as well as that left behind by other leaders and his generation of Singaporeans.

Echoing Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day tribute that Singapore's first-generation leaders and people were "the lions" and "the lion-hearted", Mr Heng said: "It is a generation of people not afraid of difficulties... (They) took up the challenge and we have today's Singapore built on those foundations."

Mr Heng added that this indomitable spirit has similarly allowed the local marine and offshore industry to continue to play a role in Singapore's economy, even when naysayers questioned its future.

Last year, the industry posted a total turnover of $17 billion and provided more than 106,000 jobs.

Mr Heng, the deputy secretary- general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), said that tripartism has been vital to Singapore's success, calling it a "true partnership" between the Government, companies and unions, which has led to a better life for workers and Singaporeans.

Calling for this relationship to continue, he said: "There is no substitute, when you are trying to find your way forward in some foggy environment, to stay united and have confidence in one another."

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