Portraits of grief

Many Singaporeans turned to social media, like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, to express their sadness at Mr Lee Kuan Yew's passing.

More than 27,000 posts had flooded various social media platforms as of noon yesterday, according to social media agency iSentia Brandtology.

Social media posts peaked at about 6am, presumably when Singaporeans were just waking up to the news. And tens of thousands more were posted throughout the day.

One Twitter user said: "May we never forget one man's dedication to his people."

Another read: "For anyone who seeks Lee Kuan Yew's monument and legacy, just look around you."

Others simply thanked Mr Lee for providing them with a safe, stable home.

"This is our home, the home you helped built through your intellect, vision and sheer force of will. Just want to say: Thank you Sir, you are a blessing for Singapore," wrote an Instagram user.

The top trending topics were all about Mr Lee with the hashtags #leekuanyew and #RIPLKY.

Just like the solemn and sombre mood that encapsulated much of Singapore, the mood online for many Singaporeans was similarly heavy and bleak.

Many changed their profile photos to a picture of a stylised black ribbon with Mr Lee's face.

MPs Baey Yam Keng, Sim Ann and Chan Chun Sing were among the first to adopt the image as their profile photos. Mr Baey told The New Paper the picture was done by the People's Action Party.

Other Singaporeans also changed their profile photos to black and white ones, most depicting more sombre faces.

Perhaps they were taking their cue from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching, who had changed their Facebook profile photos to more sombre ones last week when the senior Mr Lee was critically ill.

Words, however, weren't enough for some Singaporeans, who paid tribute with art - proving that a picture is indeed worth a thousand words.

Even popular local humour site SGAG went sombre and came up with a map of Singapore with Mr Lee's silhouette on it. It quickly went viral.

Many others chose to draw sketches of Mr Lee - one even sewed a cross-stitch of an image of Mr Lee's face - a tapestry of how the man will forever be woven into the memories of the nation.

World leaders pay tribute

"He was a true giant of history who will be remembered for generations to come as the father of modern Singapore and as one of the great strategists of Asian affairs."

US President Barack Obama

"I am saddened to hear about the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, founding Prime Minister of Singapore. I pay tribute to Mr Lee Kuan Yew's determination in developing Singapore from a new nation to the modern and dynamic city we see today. His achievements were great, and his legacy is assured."

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak

"He was not at all a charmer. He was not a flatterer. He had developed his point of view. He would present it with great intelligence and eloquence - not in order to get you to do something specific, but to understand the nature of the world in which you were living."

Former US Secretary of State and Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger on his lifelong friend

"A far-sighted statesman and a lion among leaders, Mr Lee Kuan Yew's life teaches valuable lessons to everyone."

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

"His contributions to the China-Singapore relationship and China's reform and opening up will surely be marked by history."

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang

"During his three decades in office, he helped Singapore to transition from a developing country to one of the most developed in the world, transforming it into a thriving international business hub."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon

"Lee Kuan Yew personally shaped Singapore in a way that few people have any nation. He made his country into one of the great success stories of our modern world."

British Prime Minister David Cameron


"With his incomparable leadership and unparalleled insights, His Excellency Mr Lee Kuan Yew played, for more than half a century and throughout his life, a key role not only in achieving Singapore's remarkable economic growth and prosperity but also in securing peace and stability of the Asia Pacific region and the world."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe


"...statesman, philosopher king, embodiment of the wisdom of the east." - The Guardian

"(Mr Lee Kuan Yew) said that the quality of a nation's manpower resources is the single most important factor determining national competitiveness." - China Daily

"Stability and economic progress were, for him, unequivocally higher priorities than western notions of freedom." 
- The Telegraph

"His mix of capitalism and strong government, which some compared to communist dictatorships, certainly seemed to work as the country's gross national product per person increased by 15 times between 1960 and 1980." - The Independent

"His 'Singapore model', sometimes criticised as soft authoritarianism...has been admired and studied by leaders in Asia, including in China." - The New York Times

"Even his harshest critics agreed on one point: The Singapore he built is one of Asia's great success stories, with one of the world's most efficient airports and ports." 
- The Los Angeles Times


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