Singapore’s Efficiency on Display at the Lying-in State of Lee Kuan Yew

Very well done for Nation’s Founding Father!

Today is one day I may have used a Google Glass if I had one.

LKY-ribbon FBWearing one I could have gone to the Parliament House from the Padang taking a video of the full stretch for an appreciative view of how efficiently Singapore has been dealing with the huge crowds converging there to pay their last respects to founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew who passed away on March 23.

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That could have allowed me to capture on video the moments inside the Parliament House where Mr Lee’s remains rest. Photography / videography is not allowed inside.

But the technology-heavy smart nation that Singapore is, the Google Glass may easily have been detected and me stopped!

The Red Sari: In any case, I went there armed with just a book, The Red Sari by Javier Moro, an unauthorised biography on Sonia Gandhi. Since the wait was said to be around eight hours the last few days, I thought the book can keep me engaged and any tedium away.

It was not a continuous walk all the way because the crowd was heavy and regulated. That offered me the opportunity to read along the way.

IMG_1949But I was also merrily clicking away with my iPhone 6 Plus, so I was able to complete reading only about 40 pages of the book.

Umbrella, Refreshments and More: With an umbrella on one hand, distributed free to all those in the queue, and a book on the other, it was not easy to go on any clicking spree. Plus, I had a water bottle, wet tissues and snacks that were also given free to visitors.

With all that, it was a hassle for taking photos of the breathtaking Singapore skyline, hence the Google Glass desire!

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No queue jumping, no stampede: Unquestionably, Singapore’s efficiency was on showcase throughout the walk.

With such a large mass of people congregating there, I was amazed at how easily they managed to keep the flow smooth — no queue jumping, no shoving and pushing and no stampede!

There were barricades all along and the path was not a straight one but lined with bends and curves. That helped prevent any mad rush, with ushers, officials and policemen guiding people and monitoring the movement.

IMG_1944Scorching Heat: The public were continuously provided with refreshments — bottled water, juices, yoghurt drinks, buns, biscuits and fruits. Water was also sprayed on those in the queues to help them cope with the scorching heat. By the time I came out of the Parliament House, the weather got better and there were even some mild showers.

I went there around 9am and was out by 12.15. I tried to pay my respects on March 25, the first day when the doors were open to the public. But as the crowds were huge I chose not to join the queue which could have kept me there for eight hours or thereabout.

I was nonetheless determined to take a bow before the final journey of the man who gave Singaporeans a nation they can be proud of! So, I am glad I had the opportunity to do so today. My daughter joined the queue after I had completed it. She had gone there yesterday as well, but the queue was too long to join. She just messaged us to say she was able to fulfil her wish today.

This was a solemn week for Singaporeans. It was also a time for them to recall with gratitude the phenomenal effort of Lee Kuan Yew in making Singapore what it is today – peaceful, prosperous, multiracial and the envy of the world!

My earlier posts on Singapore’s founding PM

G Joslin Vethakumar

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