Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Great Singapore Queue

This week Singapore mourns for the passing of her founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, on 23 March 2015 at 318am. His body was brought to Istana for 2 days for private wake before being moved to the Parliament House for public to pay their respect. Initially, the lying in state was planned to open only until 8pm daily. However, the support from public was really tremendous that even when the lying in state was changed to 24 hours, the queue grew to as long as 10 hours. Yesterday was the peak that the authority had to close the queue from midnight and only reopened it at 615am this morning.

Considering a lot of negativity from keyboard warriors online, the support for LKY is really beyond expectation. I am not going to say what he has done and what he has been criticised as these are available online. Personally, I think that Singapore is a proof of his life and success, regardless of what people say. Take a look at the facts and compare Singapore with the other countries in South East Asian region. It is simply amazing that the smallest country with zero natural resources can be the most successful nation in the region. Seeing the surrounding nations, I cannot not admire what LKY has done to Singapore. Sadly a lot of Singaporeans are so narrow minded and more foreigners, who have experienced shitty living conditions in their countries of birth, are actually impressed with LKY and what he has done to Singapore. Nothing is perfect in this world and everything has its pros and cons. I prefer a safe and rich country to chewing gums and freedom of speech.

When I was younger, I hated to be here. As I grow older and more understanding to world affair, I am thankful for the opportunity to study and to live here. None of this is possible without LKY and for that, I am really grateful for him and I pray that he rest in peace and God will welcome him into His Kingdom.

Moving on the Queue itself, I planned to go on the wee hours of this morning for a possibility of shorter queue. Anything more than 4 hours is beyond my endurance. Since the queue was closed at midnight, I decided to sleep. I did not sleep well as I kept waking up. Haha.. I woke up at about 8am and read that the queue was reopened at 615am. People were saying that the queue was much faster. I contemplated to go but I decided that my invoices at office was more important. After leaving office, the latest update was 4 hour estimated waiting time. From my friends who went and people who commented on facebook, most of them waited 40% less than the estimated waiting time. This morning/noon, even though the estimated waiting time was 4 hours, people were saying that they finished in 2.5 to 3 hours. I thought this was okay for me and so I went.

I reached City Hall at about 3.45pm. I was so happy that I could breeze through all the way... until Padang when I saw estimated waiting time of 5 hours. Bleah... I stayed at Padang for 2 hours before proceeding towards Esplanade. The organisers were trying to shorten the queue and I got to skip the Marina Bay Floating Platform. It took about 1 hour from Esplanade Bridge towards MBS and then a U-turn back towards the Esplanade Bridge. It was another 1.5 hours from there to the Parliament House and I finished at about 9pm. 5 hours wait just for a 5 seconds bow but I think it was worth the memories. I am grateful for the great weather (no sun and plenty of wind), the opportunity to watch sunset and to explore Singapore on foot in a way that I never did before in my 10+ years here. Some complained that they were being hurried inside the Parliament house after all that queueing. I choose to have the opposite school of thought: there are still tonnes of people queueing so it is better to be quick for the benefit of others too.

This event also brought the good sides of Singaporeans which are often drowned with all the negative uncivilised acts reported in media. I would like to say a big thanks to the organisers and all the volunteers (drinks and food are given on the way to ensure people are energised throughout the wait). Unfortunately, the queue got a little rowdy at the security screening as people started to jostle and rushed.
The Fullerton Hotel tribute to LKY
So near yet so far... just about to enter the Parliament House
After surviving this historic queue, in the future, I guess I don't need to be afraid when queueing for SEA Games, concerts, or marathon events :p Tomorrow will be the state funeral. As an ex-usher in UCC, I feel a pang of sadness. If only I am still an usher and can participate in this once-in-a-lifetime occasion.

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