Vigil at SGH - “We will wait until the security guards tell us to leave”
People gather at Singapore General Hospital to wait for news of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's condition
At Singapore General Hospital (SGH) on Wednesday night, the mood was understandably muted.
A number of people had made their way down especially for one reason - to keep vigil for Singapore’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
Mr Lee has been warded at SGH since Feb 5 with severe pneumonia.
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister’s Office said his condition had worsened due to an infection. On Wednesday, it was announced that he was still critically ill.
The people at SGH waited and sat in small groups scattered around the Block 6 waiting area. They spoke in hushed tones, making no commotion, even as some of the lights were turned off.
People like Ms Julie Minhat came to offer their prayers for Mr Lee.
Yet when Ms Julie, and others like her, spoke to The New Paper, a sense of hope could be heard in their voices.
When asked why she made the journey, Ms Julie, 50, who was accompanied by her sister and three other friends said: “It’s better than getting updates on TV or social media. (Being) here, at least I feel close to him (Mr Lee).”
Ms Julie, a resident of Ang Mo Kio, said she was at the hospital since 8pm.
In that time, she had seen a build-up of media personnel. Close to 10pm, an area was cordoned off for the press.
For most of the well-wishers at the hospital, some posts on social media proved painful to read. PMO issued a statement that a police report was being lodged against the hoaxers.
Said Ms Julie’s sister, who declined to give her name: “At a time like this, it is distasteful to poke fun. When a person is in such a state, we should show respect.”
That sentiment was shared by three men who arrived at the hospital’s waiting area at about 10.30pm.
The trio — all former school mates from North Vista Secondary School — came to show support.
One of them, Mr Jason Gan, 25, said: “I know some do not like Mr Lee because he is strong-willed. But I appreciate what he has done for the country. Had he been soft or lacked focus, I don’t think Singapore would be where it is today.”
Mr Gan, together with his friends Anthony Tan and Herman Loh, said they were unsure how long they would stay at the hospital.
Likewise, Ms Julie’s entourage said they would stay until “the security guards tell us to leave”.
Added Ms Julie: “The rumours currently floating online will not tarnish the image and reputation of the Singapore that Mr Lee has built.
“Nobody can take that away from him.”