Singapore

More tributes flow in for the late Mrs Wee Kim Wee

Leaders pay respect at wake of Mrs Wee Kim Wee, who died on Saturday at age 102

The late Mrs Wee Kim Wee had a natural warmth and caring nature that endeared her to everyone she met, said former president Tony Tan Keng Yam yesterday.

Dr Tan was among those who attended her wake and paid tribute to the wife of Singapore's fourth president for her contributions.

He said the late Mrs Wee, who died on Saturday aged 102, will be missed by many people.

Her devotion and care to Dr Wee throughout their marriage was something that will touch Singaporeans, he added.

"She has lived a full life, both in her public duties which she carried out conscientiously even when she had some difficulty walking, and also as a wife, mother and grandmother," he said.

Born Koh Sok Hiong, Mrs Wee met Dr Wee in 1936, and they married the same year. Dr Wee served as president from 1985 to 1993.

Their daughter, Ms Wee Eng Hwa, 75, said her mother had a great heart, especially for the poor. She recounted how Mrs Wee would always give the karang guni man cake and a drink whenever he came by.

"It came naturally to my mother and she always taught me never to be proud, to always be humble in all my interactions."

Dr Wee's background as a former journalist helped prepare Mrs Wee for the Istana, she said.

"She knew how to listen to people, empathise with them and entertain them. She was able to stand by him and participate in all his activities, as he dealt with heads of state."

There was a steady stream of people into 25 Siglap Plain yesterday as family and friends paid their respects to the late Mrs Wee, who, in her casket, was dressed in her favourite outfit - a pale yellow cheongsam with blue flowers made by her tailor in Shanghai, a silver necklace and a small black handbag.

President Halimah Yacob said Mrs Wee was an unsung heroine in Singapore's history.

In a Facebook post, Madam Halimah said Mrs Wee served the people with grace and was a steadfast advocate of education and providing opportunities for disadvantaged children and youth. Among her various contributions, Singaporeans will perhaps most of all remember Mrs Wee for her selfless dedication to the late Dr Wee, Madam Halimah added.

"Their love story will remain an inspiration to many."

She attended the wake yesterday and told reporters Mrs Wee will also be well-remembered for her contributions to the culinary world through her recipes.

Mrs Wee had published a cookbook of her recipes, Cooking For The President - Reflections & Recipes Of Mrs Wee Kim Wee, after her husband's death in 2005.

Death