Asia

Lee Kuan Yew: On the Singapore streets for the funeral

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Heavy rain and a gun salute marked the beginning of the funeral of Singapore's founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. The BBC's team in Singapore was on the streets talking to people who turned out for one of the biggest public events the country has ever seen.

Crowds lined the streets along the funeral route since early morning, despite torrential rain before midday. These military trucks were travelling the route Mr Lee's coffin took on board a gun carriage later in the day.

Nazli Anwari, 64, had been waiting since 10:00 to see the procession for Mr Lee - widely known by the initials LKY. "I came here as I'm grateful for his leadership. He had powerful energy," she said.

The rain prompted a flurry of tweets like this from "darliciousx", saying the sky was crying for Lee Kuan Yew. Like many Singaporean tweeters, she had changed her avatar to a tribute image.

Martin Yip of the BBC's Chinese service tweeted this image of people sheltering as they waited for the procession.

Kelvin and Mandy Tan brought their two-year-old daughter Kayla to see the procession. "We hope she remembers who he is, learns his values of hard work and respect," they told the BBC.

BBC Southeast Asia correspondent Jonathan Head was at the community club in Tanjong Pagar, Lee Kuan Yew's lifelong constituency.

Tattoo artists Niccku Woo and Colin Ow, watching the funeral in Tanjong Pagar, told the BBC: "LKY didn't like tattoos or long hair. But we are here because we respect him."

Anthony Andrews and his friends are all from India but working in Singapore. They were watching a screening of the funeral. "We hope India can have our own LKY."

Image copyright Jolovan Wham

But not all mourned for Mr Lee, who used the country's Internal Security Act to conduct crackdowns on dissidents during his time as prime minister. Human rights activist Mr Jolovan Wham, 35, changed his Facebook profile picture to this image.

"Lee Kuan Yew was a monster to many," he told the BBC. "This does not take away what he and his team has accomplished for the country, which are significant. But it is important to acknowledge his flaws and that his legacy is also one marked by despotic cruelty."

Crowds who were waiting quietly along the route erupted as the procession passed by earlier on Sunday.

The BBC's Tessa Wong said that as the gun carriage left parliament, the crowds began cheering "majulah Singapore" - the words are considered Singapore's national cry, she says. Majulah means "forward" in Malay, one of the country's official languages.

Black-ribboned orders of service were handed out to people watching at screenings around the island.

This image shows the huge pile of flowers at Tanjong Pagar community centre as Goh Chok Tong - who succeeded Mr Lee as prime minister in 1990 - delivered his eulogy.

Twitter user HeMz92 posted this image of crowds leaving the procession route after hours waiting in the rain.

Image copyright HeMz92

The ceremony was also watched around the region, by Singaporeans and others who admired Lee Kuan Yew. The BBC's Pamela Koh sent the image above from the Singaporean consulate in Hong Kong.

Back in Singapore, Tessa Wong says many people in Tanjong Pagar stayed in their seats after the funeral broadcast ended, visibly moved.

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