He cried when his friend died

In October 1983, Mr Hon Sui Sen, who was then the Finance Minister, was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Singapore General Hospital after a heart attack.

Initially, he did well, but he had a second massive attack a few days later, resulting in intractable heart failure and nothing could be done to save his life.

His family and the Prime Minister's Office were informed of his impending death.

I was part of the team looking after Mr Hon.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew, then the Prime Minister, came to the hospital shortly after that.

He went to Mr Hon's room and spent some time there to say goodbye to his friend.

After that, he went to the Sister's Office.

I went there with a hot drink for him, to make sure he was all right.

To my surprise, Mr Lee broke into tears. He really cried.


"Can Singapore afford to lose such a good man?" he asked.

"I am sorry, I wish there was more we could do for Mr Hon," I replied.

"I understand," he said with a nod.

Mr Lee then composed himself, thanked us and left.

This incident showed me a soft side of Mr Lee that I never knew he had.

To me, he was a man of steel and yet here he was, not ashamed to cry his heart out and show his profound grief at the impending death of a very dear friend.

My admiration for Mr Lee went up a lot after that.