Not deterred by downpour
This article was written on Sunday, March 22
Moments after he placed his photo montage for Mr Lee Kuan Yew at the designated area, it started to pour.
But that did not deter Mr Wilson Ng.
Despite having just arrived at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) to leave his gift, he rushed to Bras Basah Complex where he had a new copy of the montage printed.
This time, he made sure to laminate it before taking it back to SGH, a process that took nearly four hours.
Said Mr Ng, a career coach: "Mr Lee is like the father of Singapore, so I wanted to come and show my support and best wishes for him."
He added that he first met Mr Lee in 1990 as a young sales assistant in Changi Airport Terminal 2.
"At that time, T2 had just opened, and Mr Lee was there to do an inspection so I got to talk to him," Mr Ng said.
Despite the afternoon's bad weather, hundreds of well-wishers continued to pour into SGH.
At any one point between 6pm and 8pm yesterday, there were about 50 people in the designated area outside Ward 7.
One of them, Madam S. Pushpa, 59, had travelled all the way from her Woodlands home. She brought with her a picture of the Hindu god Ganesh and some prayer items.
She had been at SGH since 9am and stayed till about 6.30pm, performing a Hindu ritual to pray for Mr Lee's health.
She had met Mr Lee about three decades ago when he visited the then Kandang Kerbau Hospital (now the KK Women's and Children's Hospital).
"He saw me and asked how many children I had. I told him I just gave birth to my third and he asked, 'can you take care of three small children? If not we can find some ways to help you'," she said.
She never forgot his show of concern, said Madam Pushpa.
Another well-wisher who visited SGH yesterday was former Tanjong Pagar resident, Madam Ee Pin Nee.
The 62-year-old, who now lives in Ghim Moh, wanted to convey her well-wishes to Mr Lee, but had been too ill to leave home, and was admitted to SGH yesterday.
By chance, she was placed in Ward 7, which overlooks the quadrangle where members of the public have been gathering.
In a wheelchair, and with an intravenous drip, Madam Ee came down, accompanied by her son Jasper Chang.
She also said a silent prayer for Mr Lee.
At least one family also took the opportunity to teach their children about an important figure in Singapore.
Madam Joy Lam, 44, brought her three children - Jodi, 12, Caleb, 10 and Oliver, seven - to SGH after they started asking about Mr Lee, about whom they had heard about through the news.
The family brought a card with messages, including one from the children's tuition teacher.
Pointing to a drawing on the front of the card (left, inset), Madam Lam said: "This was supposed to be a drawing of Singapore, but it somehow looks like a superhero."
Over at Tanjong Pagar Community Club, the art gallery had been converted into a "Get Well" corner. Markers were provided for people to write their messages on a giant banner on the wall, as well as on pieces of paper.
Paper cranes, a symbol of good luck, were strung around the gallery while bouquets and other gifts were placed neatly on tables.
Among the crowd of about 30 were Tiong Bahru residents Wendy Leong, 36, and Jasmin Tan, 45. They also visited SGH on Saturday to wish Mr Lee well.
Said Ms Leong: "I met him a few times at grassroots events and given what he has done for our country, we wanted to send our prayers and best wishes to him."
His portrait goes viral, but artist says focus on Mr Lee
PHOTO COURTESY OF ONG YI TECK
The artist who drew a portrait of Singapore's founding prime minister by writing "Lee Kuan Yew" some 18,000 times wants everyone to remember the purpose behind the drawing, not the artist.
Mr Ong Yi Teck, 20, said the portrait, which took him close to 15 hours to complete, was meant as a tribute to Mr Lee.
"I'm part of the younger generation that was born into a fairly developed country.
"But my parents, who have seen Singapore grow from what it was till today, appreciate Mr Lee for what he's done. And I feel the same," he said.
His father encouraged him to do the art piece.
After completing national service with the Police Coast Guards, Mr Ong, who is waiting to enter the School of Art, Design & Media at the Nanyang Technological University, finally found the time to do it.
He started working on the portrait on Thursday evening, using two fine-tipped drawing pens to write Mr Lee's name and another thicker pen for touch-ups.
It took three five-hour sessions before he finished on Friday at close to midnight.
"I could have used shortcuts, but I wanted to take my time to show my sincerity. It was a labour of love. Thankfully, my pens didn't run out of ink," he added with a laugh.
Mr Ong posted pictures of his portrait on social media and they went viral over the weekend.
Pictures of his portrait have been shared by thousands and his original post on Instagram has nearly 2,700 likes.
The piece is not for sale because the artwork was meant to pay homage to Singapore's founding father, said the artist, who also does commissioned drawings.
When asked whether he would take it to the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) or the Tanjong Pagar Community Club, where people have been leaving cards and gifts to wish Mr Lee well, Mr Ong said he would not.
"I would prefer to put it in an exhibition, where others can look at it, (and where I know) that my work of art will be safe," he said.
...My parents, who have seen Singapore grow from what it was till today, appreciate Mr Lee for what he's done. And I feel the same.
- Mr Ong Yi Teck, who took almost 15 hours to draw a portrait of Mr Lee Kuan Yew made up of 18,000 instances of Mr Lee's name
Stroke patient sends well wishes at SGH
Tanjong Pagar resident Mr Ho - who cannot speak or hear after a stroke - wept after reading news reports of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's ill health.
His daughter, who is also his caregiver, brought her father, 77, to Singapore General Hospital on Saturday afternoon so he could express his well wishes to Singapore's founding Prime Minister.
Mr Ho had always admired and respected Mr Lee, attending all of his political rallies, his daughter told Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao.