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Acts of kindness abound as we grieve for Mr Lee Kuan Yew

Day and night, they have been printing car decals to give away to motorists as a tribute to Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who died on Monday.

The free decals, based on the black ribbon designed by MP for Choa Chu Kang GRC Alex Yam and his team, were snapped up within minutes.

They were printed by Mr Albert Leow, the director of a car workshop, who has been struggling to keep up with the demand for them.

Since Mr Leow, 39, put the word out on Facebook on Monday, his workshop Dynamics Mechanic has been inundated by motorists asking for the decals.

As of 8pm yesterday, almost 4,000 decals had been given out since Monday.

When The New Paper was at his workshop at about 4.30pm yesterday, there were about 20 people queuing up to get a decal at the workshop at Kaki Bukit.

Asked why he was printing the decals, Mr Leow said: "Without Mr Lee, I would not be here with my own workshop.

"Without his work, I might not even be standing here speaking with you."

Mr Leow's generosity is just the tip of the iceberg. This period of national mourning seems to have brought out the best in Singaporeans.

From giving out flowers to handing out burgers, people have been opening their hearts and wallets to help fellow Singaporeans as the nation remembers Mr Lee.

Singapore Management University student Koh Kang Liang, 22, was back at the Padang yesterday evening to give free food to those queueing to enter Parliament House to pay respects to the former Prime Minister.

On Wednesday, TNP spotted Mr Koh giving out 20 McChicken burgers because he was concerned that some well-wishers in the queue might be hungry.

Yesterday, he was accompanied by his brother and four friends to give out about $400 worth of burgers and fruit.

USED OWN MONEY

"We came down after class, after work, from home," he said.

"We used mostly our own money and we'll probably split the cost among ourselves."

Timbre restaurant was also giving out pizza to those in the queue last night.

Mr Joe Tan, 44, the owner of Food Canopy - a chain of food courts around the island - and five of his staff also gave out about 2,000 bottles of oxygenated water to those in the queue earlier in the day.

Mr Tan said his father, a hawker, was only able to raise his family because of the hawker centres that have been built.

"Today, the next generation, my generation, get to live in comfort," he said.

"I am very grateful for all that Mr Lee has done."

Mr Melvin Tan, 38, who runs a creative agency, was spotted giving out packets of cold drinks.

He had brought more than 70,000 drink packets to give out.

"It's very hard for people queueing in the sun, and I have the ability to quench their thirst," he said.

Companies were also playing their part. Plastic products manufacturer Toyogo was giving out plastic fans at the Padang while employees of drinks producer Yakult were giving out chilled fruit juice.

Temasek Holdings provided about 30,000 umbrellas for those in the queue.

They were meant to be returned after use for others but TNP spotted some people leaving with the umbrellas.

Singapore River Explorer provided free rides on its boats plying the Singapore River to those heading to and from Parliament House.

Mr Terence Ng, 33, its operations director, told TNP it was the company's way of paying tribute.

"This is just our way of contributing to the nation," he said. "It's our way of thanking our founding father, who has done so much for us."

Asked if the business was losing money by giving out free rides, he said: "It's not a loss, it's a contribution."

Meanwhile, some people responded to a call by the National Youth Council for volunteers to distribute water.

Miss Michelle Oh, 20, who is waiting to enter university, said: "I wanted to pay my respects to Mr Lee, but thought I could do my part by volunteering instead."

The acts of kindness did not stop there.

Mr Fabian Thang, 30, who managed to get a black ribbon decal on Monday, saw that the Dynamics Mechanic staff were struggling to keep up with demand.

So he, like seven other motorists who went to get the decals, volunteered to help.

"It's a different way of saying thank you to Mr Lee," he said. "It's a very small gesture and cannot compare to what he has done for us."

Mr Thang, who is between jobs, spent the early hours of yesterday morning at the workshop helping to prepare the decals.

"I came at about midnight to help and left at 4am," said Mr Thang, who was back at the workshop to help again at noon.

"I've always seen Mr Lee as my Ah Gong, and this is my tribute to him."

"Today, the next generation, my generation, get to live in comfort. I am very grateful for all that Mr Lee has done."

- Mr Joe Tan, owner of food court chain Food Canopy

Patience at the Padang

LONG: A picture of the snaking queue at the Padang taken from SwissĂ´tel The Stamford at about 7pm yesterday. PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

FAMILY AFFAIR: Ms Santokh Kaur and her daughter, Shalom, queued to pay their last respects to Mr Lee yesterday. PHOTO: LATASHNI GOBI NATHAN

Despite the sweltering heat from an unforgiving sun, the queues at the Padang yesterday moved smoothly, with few hiccups - a woman fainted and was carried away by emergency services.

Singaporeans from all walks of life made up the line, wanting to pay their respects to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, whose body is lying in state at Parliament House. At 10pm, the wait was five hours.

Retiree Tan Han Seng, 69, and his wife Seow Liang Hui, 59, wore white polo shirts with the words "I Love LKY" printed on the front and "Father of Singapore" behind.

Madam Seow said: "We have the same outfits for our children and grandchildren. I altered the one for my two-year-old granddaughter and turned it into a dress."

Said Mr Tan: "If it wasn't for Mr Lee, I don't think we would be able to retire comfortably, live off our savings and enjoy our grandkids."

Ms Santokh Kaur, 46, who was with her daughter, Shalom, 17, said she missed Mr Lee by mere seconds in early February, when she was at the Singapore General Hospital.

"He was in a wheelchair, being pushed into the ward. My aunties saw him. When they waved, he acknowledged and waved back," she said, regretting missing out on seeing Mr Lee.

Retiree Gilbert Lim, 74, had watched Mr Lee speak at rallies when he was young.

"What he promised, he delivered - until the days when he became very sick. I hope the new generation of leaders will continue his legacy," he said.

Mr Oh Boon Keng, 24, arrived at about 2.30 pm, manoeuvring his wheelchair easily along the way. He had travelled by MRT to the Padang without a hitch.

"It was all because of Mr Lee that we have what we have today. It would be much harder for me to get here if it wasn't for him and his team," he said.

Mr Oh was immediately directed to a special lane, catering to the elderly, pregnant women, schoolchildren, families with children under six years old and those with special needs.

As at 11pm yesterday, the number of visitors to the Lying in State was 147,791.

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