S'poreans from all walks of life came together this week to mourn his loss.. Mr Lee would've been proud: President Tony Tan
"As a nation, we mourn a man who made a difference."
In his eulogy for Mr Lee Kuan Yew at the University Cultural Centre on Sunday (March 29), President Tony Tan Keng Yam highlighted Mr Lee's work to build the nation.
He noted that when Mr Lee became Prime Minister in 1959, his priority was to pull together a "strong team of leaders from diverse backgrounds".
"He ensured that positions in government were filled by the most capable people, rather than those with connections or money," said Dr Tan, highlighting Mr Lee's dedication to curb corruption.
He also revealed that Mr Lee would make unannounced visits to inspect HDB estates, hospitals, parks and other public places, to ensure that public services were working well.
Dr Tan also spoke of Singaporeans turning out in the hundreds of thousands to pay tribute to Mr Lee during the lying in state at Parliament House, and at the community tribute centres.
"This past week, Singaporeans from all walks of life came together to mourn the loss of Mr Lee," said Dr Tan.
"Large numbers of Singaporeans queued patiently for hours to pay their last respects at Parliament House and Community Tribute Sites across the island.
"Many individuals and businesses offered shelter and refreshments to those who had been waiting in line, lending a helping hand to fellow Singaporeans.
"This would have made Mr Lee very proud. This was what he had worked for his whole life – to build a united people, who respect and care for one another as fellow citizens."
Lastly, he spoke of how Mr Lee's presence will be missed at this year's National Day Parade. He recalled how there had been some "uncertainty" about Mr Lee's health during the parade two years ago.
Said Dr Tan: "While I was waiting to enter the Floating Platform to officiate the Parade, suddenly I heard a huge cheer, a roar — the biggest that day.
"My staff informed me that Mr Lee had just made his entrance to take his seat. That roar captured the feelings of a nation, of all of us, towards Mr Lee."
Of what Mr Lee has given Singaporeans, Dr Tan said:
"We are held aloft by Mr Lee and our founding generation. They have given us the foundation, the ability and the confidence to look forward to the future, to shape an even better Singapore for all Singaporeans. Together, we can respond to challenges. Together, we can create new opportunities for our children and grandchildren in Singapore. This is Mr Lee’s legacy for us."
For more stories, tributes and videos, go to tnp.sg/leekuanyew