Groups plan activities to mark Mr Lee's legacy

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At least 100 events are being held this month, as first anniversary of his death approaches.

As the first anniversary of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s death approaches, groups of Singaporeans are planning activities to commemorate the legacy of the country’s founding Prime Minister.

At least 100 events are being organised by individuals and community groups this month, People’s Association (PA) deputy chairman Chan Chun Sing said during a visit to Yio Chu Kang Community Club on Wednesday.

These activities include a tree- planting exercise at Jurong Lake Park – a nod to Mr Lee’s campaign to green the country – and a brisk walk at Sembawang Park to celebrate his commitment to stay healthy. The late Mr Lee made it a point to exercise daily.

In Tanjong Pagar, the constituency he represented for 60 years, residents and grassroots leaders will host two events, including a remembrance service at Tanjong Pagar Community Club on March 23.

Mr Lee was more than a leader to the residents, said Senior Minister of State Indranee Rajah, an adviser to grassroots organisations in Tanjong Pagar GRC.

“He was also their MP, with whom they had a close bond and a direct relationship,” she said. “We thought we should do something to remember Mr Lee… we also wanted to look forward, building on his legacy.”

Meanwhile, the National University of Singapore’s Harmonica Orchestra is dedicating its annual concert on March 25 to Mr Lee’s memory. Short clips on his life will be screened alongside songs like Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, the opening piece at his state funeral.

“For our Singaporean members, the concert is a good time for personal reflection. And for our members who are not Singaporeans, it is an opportunity to remember the man who made it possible for us to receive a good education in a wonderful country,” said the orchestra’s secretary Le Ngoc Ha Nhu.

Adding to the ordinary folk’s efforts are four remembrance events – three by the PA and one by the Silent No More network.

Silent No More, founded in July last year by 25-year-old Jaromel Gee as a private Facebook group, is made up of People’s Action Party (PAP) supporters who counter negative comments about the party online.

Mr Gee is getting about 150 of its more than 5,000 members to organise a candlelight rally at the Padang on March 23, the day Mr Lee died. He was 91.

Volunteers will hand out electric candlelights to passers-by who will be asked to fill the Padang, where hundreds of thousands of people had queued for hours a year ago to pay their last respects to Mr Lee at Parliament House.

Mr Gee, who owns a trading company and is a PAP member, said the effort is neither endorsed nor supported by the party. He said his decision to organise the rally was prompted by the spirit Mr Lee engendered. “He brought Singaporeans together and we queued for hours to pay our last respects. With this event, we hope to tell Singaporeans to move on, carrying his spirit,” he said.

The PA events will be held at three sites picked for their association with Mr Lee – Tanjong Pagar, Parliament House along the Singapore River, and the Istana Park in Orchard Road.

Panels of photographs and short write-ups on Mr Lee’s contributions will be erected at these sites for people to reflect on his legacy.

The PA is holding the events following queries from several people on whether there would be any events to remember Mr Lee, said Mr Chan, a Cabinet Minister who is also secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress.

“We don’t see it as a session for us to grieve or be sad, but a celebration of Mr Lee’s life work and values, and what he had given us to build the future,” said Mr Chan.

Tanjong Pagar resident Sunny Lim, a retired hawker, plans to attend at least one commemorative event.

Said the 67-year-old: “It’s been a year (since his passing) but we still need to remind ourselves of what he had done for us.”

rachelay@sph.com.sg
leepearl@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on March 4, 2016.
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Friday, March 4, 2016 – 11:07
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