Tuesday 31 March 2015

Amos Yee charged: Well, he WAS warned by LKY meme not to 'chibai'

WATCH: Amos Yee, who made an insensitive YouTube video on Christianity and late Mr #LeeKuanYew, in court with his parents today. http://cna.asia/19D6oWu
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Monday, 30 March 2015

Sometimes, you should heed the meme.

Sunday 29 March 2015

A lot of sky crying on Twitter for LKY

Cliche of the day:

Some even see LKY in the sky...

The Straits Time report: 'Even the sky is crying': Sombre mood as Mr Lee Kuan Yew makes final journey across Singapore

Saturday 28 March 2015

It's black, it's white, it's tough to get by

Shirting the issue:

White? Black? What's in a colour?Just wear your heart on your sleeve.I for one believe that even as we mourn and...
Posted by Tan Chuan-Jin on Wednesday, March 25, 2015



Not sure:

Fashion tip:
  • Wear black if you want to mourn LKY but maybe you're not so pro-PAP.
  • Wear white if you're PAP all the way.
  • Don't wear red and white because it's not National Day.
  • Save the pink for June 13.

EARLIER: Is there a wrong way to pay tribute to Lee Kuan Yew?

Dress code resolved at the funeral service? Black for women, white (and black) for men?

Except one guy in blue.

Friday 27 March 2015

Umbrellas & tents: 3 hours 10 minutes in The Queue for Lee Kuan Yew

Unlike many Singaporeans it seems, I'm not a big queuer. No queueing for multiple hours for Hello Kitty or iPhones for me.

So early yesterday morning, when I read that the queue starting at the Padang to pay respect to Mr Lee Kuan Yew had been reduced to 30 minutes, I thought, hey, if Stefanie Sun could do it...

Of course I knew that by the time I got to the Padang, it would probably be longer than 30 minutes, but it shouldn't be too bad.

The moment my wife and I stepped out of City Hall MRT station some time past 2pm yesterday, we saw people joining a long queue outside St Andrew's Cathedral. I assume it had to be The Queue.

It helped that there was a young girl holding up a sign that said "Queue starts here".

It didn't help that she looked a bit frazzled and was relieved to see a bunch of navy guys in uniform behind us.

She quickly went to them and asked, "Are you here to help?"

The navy guys looked confused. "Help what?" one of them asked, although it was pretty obvious to me why she needed help.

"Help manage the queue," said the girl.

The navy guy said, "No, we're here to pay our respects to Lee Kuan Yew."

Those must be the saddest words the girl had ever heard in her life. To say she was crestfallen would be an understatement.

I thought the navy guys might step up and save the damsel in distress by helping the poor girl with The Queue anyway, but I guess they wouldn't know what to do themselves. The crush of people was just overwhelming.

Meanwhile. as she was talking to the navy guys, people who had just arrived were wondering about the sign she was still holding up. Someone asked, "Does The Queue start here?"

No, it didn't. People had already queued up behind the navy guys. The sign was a lie.

After she realised the navy guys weren't the saviours she was hoping for, she left to find the real start of The Queue, I assumed.

Not a very reassuring beginning to my queueing experience, but at least I was now mentally prepared for more queue mismanagement.

I started the digital stopwatch on my iPhone.

The Queue moved in stops and starts. This could be because we had to cross a road and wait for the light to change.

The Queue then went underground into the Esplanade MRT station and back out again.

Along the way, we were offered umbrellas and bottled water by different people. At the Padang, we got cake from BreadTalk (to make up for its earlier faux pas perhaps?).

We were stuck at the Padang for a long time. More than hour in, I considered quitting The Queue. Despite the tents, the afternoon heat was getting to me.

More importantly, I needed to pee very badly. There were no Porta-Pumpers at the Padang.

One happy surprise was I saw an old NS friend, Patrick, there. He was on duty as an SCDF volunteer paramedic.

A former naval diver, Patrick was the guy who went on a rant against Jack Neo's frogmen movie I wrote about in my column last year.

He came to talk to me, but before I could say a single word, he was called away because of a casualty.

I later saw him stretchering a woman to the first aid tent. It was a reminder to keep hydrated. The problem was the more you drink, the more you may need to pee.

Fortunately, after we moved out of the mini tent city at the Padang, a row of Porta-Pumpers awaited. I eventually figured out how to use one.

After relieving myself, I felt like I could go on for a couple more hours in The Queue.

We got to the river and a boat with a picture of LKY went by. How fitting.

From across the river, we heard cheers from the Boat Quay bars. I believe the cheers were for the India-Australia cricket game going on at the time. India eventually lost the World Cup semi-final.

After the Asian Civilisations Museum, we reached a long white tent where a sign said: "Waiting time from this point: 30 minutes." Almost there!

We could see the back of the statue of the other "founding father" of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles, under renovation.

A woman in front of me who had been carrying flowers for LKY for over two hours had them unceremoniously taken away.

After seeing piles of umbrellas in the tent, another woman tried to return her umbrella but was refused.

There were a row of scanners on stand-by.

After going through the metal detectors, we left the tent and saw Parliament House. Is that where we were supposed to go? Finally!

I don't think regular folks like us would get to visit Parliament House any other time and hence all the photo-taking.

Put away your cameras, we're going in!

Once we stepped into the air-conditioned Parliament House, the cold was a welcome relief.

We were told to keep moving and I barely got a glimpse of what I queued up three hours for because of all the people. I was almost run over by a guy in a wheelchair.

And before I knew it, I was on my way out.

Outside, there was a queue to get out of the area and another queue of people waiting to go in. I believe the latter was the priority queue.

It seemed to me that with people in wheelchairs, the elderly and parents with small children, the priority queue moved more slowly than the regular queue.

I checked my stopwatch. I had been in The Queue for more than 3 hours and 10 minutes.

That was quite a lot longer than 30 minutes.

I didn't get to do much inside Parliament House with my few seconds before Mr Lee. I didn't even have time to bow and I don't believe in prayer. I actually considered saluting, but my hair was too long.

If I had lingered a little longer in front of the coffin, I felt like I might've burst into tears. So maybe it was a good thing the guy in the wheelchair came along.

I guess in the end, my time in The Queue was my tribute to LKY.

All 190 minutes of it.

I hope the poor girl with the "Queue starts here" sign found someone to rescue her.

EARLIER: Is there a wrong way to pay tribute to Lee Kuan Yew?

Thursday 26 March 2015

Is there a wrong way to pay tribute to Lee Kuan Yew?

After Mr Lee Kuan Yew's death on Monday, the organisers of the 2XU Compression Run posted this on Facebook:

In light of the passing of the founding Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, an official announcement will be...
Posted by 2XU Compression Run on Sunday, March 22, 2015

The run was scheduled to take place on Sunday, but that turned out to be also the day of the funeral.

What should the organisers do? Should they call off the run out of respect for LKY?

There could also be logistical issues since roads have to be closed for the run and the funeral.

But what about foreign runners who had already booked accomodations and flights to Singapore for the run?

I had signed up for the run too.

Some suggested that since the event shirt is black anyway, the run could be turned into a tribute to Mr Lee.

I actually thought that was a good idea, especially after the call to get 5 million people to wear black on Sunday to mourn for LKY went viral.

Picture thousands of black-wearing runners going the distance in memory of Mr Lee on the morning of his funeral. The shirt colour, the timing and the symbolism couldn't be more perfect.

But I figured the organisers needed to get some form of official blessing to make it a legitimate tribute, like, say, from Mr Lawrence Wong, who heads the Ministry for Culture, Community and Youth, which looks after sports.

But on Tuesday, the organisers wisely decided to postpone the event:

After serious consideration, we have decided to postpone this Sunday's run because it will coincide with the state...
Posted by 2XU Compression Run on Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What I find odd is that if you don't wish to participate in the rescheduled run, the organisers won't give you a refund, but you'll get the 21km finisher T-shirt – despite not running a single metre. That doesn't seem right to me.

At least the organisers didn't arbitrarily turn their run into some LKY thing, unlike one Minister of State, whose Facebook post I've embedded below:

In the Crossfit community, they named workouts after heroes. A practice I thought is rather meaningful especially for...
Posted by Teo Ser Luck on Monday, March 23, 2015

But Mr Teo Ser Luck wasn't the only one criticised for his unconventional LKY commemmoration. BreakTalk ended up apologising for its #RememberingLKY "commemorative" bun.

We would like to convey our deepest apologies with regard to the commemorative bun #rememberingLKY which was introduced...
Posted by BreadTalk® Singapore on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

At what point does an LKY tribute become inappropriate or, worse, exploitative?

Or just plain silly?

Tuesday was Gurmit Singh's birthday. So he decided to "dedicate" his birthday to LKY:

Wait, since when can you dedicate your birthday to someone else? I know Phua Chu Kang means well, but really?

And one guy turned his hot car into an LKY tribute on wheels.

I think it's a Lotus. Now that's a fast and furiously big fan of LKY.

Get your own LKY tribute car decals for free here:

And then there are the LKY T-shirts for sale online.

$16.90 at thevigilanteh.com/shop/

$25 at lkytshirt.wix.com/lkytshirt

$29.90 at sgwhitemarket.com

Like the 2XU Compression Run finisher tee, you don't have to run a half marathon to get these shirts.


Ask BreadTalk.

I dedicate this blog post to LKY.

UPDATE: Wear black or white?

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Unfounded? I found the use of the word 'founding' floundering

In his message on the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, President Tony Tan said: "Yesterday, we lost the founding father of Singapore."

In Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's address to the nation, he said: "The first of our founding fathers is no more."

An earlier statement from the Prime Minister's Office said: "The Prime Minister is deeply grieved to announce the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the founding Prime Minister of Singapore."

So far in three different official statements, LKY has been described three different ways:
  • The founding father of Singapore
  • The first of our founding fathers
  • The founding Prime Minister of Singapore

Although they sound similar, each has a different meaning. The one thing they have in common is the buzzword "founding".

Before I go further, I want to make clear that I'm not here to argue about the achievements of LKY (many are already doing that), but to discuss the possible misuse of the word "founding".

So is LKY really the "founding father" of Singapore?

Weren't we taught in school that Singapore was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles and that's why we have a hotel, an MRT station and an institution named after him?

Well, you may argue that LKY is actually the founding father of "modern" Singapore. People just leave out the word "modern" for brevity.

But then I found this passage in the Singapore Tourism Board website, YourSingapore.com:
Modern Singapore was founded in the 19th century, thanks to politics, trade and a man known as Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles.

So Raffles was already the founder of "modern Singapore". Can there be more than one founder of "modern Singapore" from different eras?

If not, how about we call LKY the "founding Prime Minister of Singapore" then?

That just sounds weird. Can't we just call him the "first Prime Minister of Singapore", which is wholly accurate although it probably doesn't have enough gravitas for some people?

I understand the desire to express the vastness of LKY's contributions to the birth and development of the nation that to describe him as a mere office-holder (even if it's the Prime Minister's Office and he was the first one to hold that office) doesn't do him justice.

And so we come up with an awkward term like "founding Prime Minister" or rewrite history by calling LKY the "founding father of Singapore".

It's as if throwing in the word "founding" would make LKY sound more impressive. That's like bringing water to the Pacific Ocean.

Somewhere Raffles must be feeling indignant: "Hey, I thought I was the founding father of Singapore!"

EARLIER: Remembering LKY: Selected photos

Monday 23 March 2015

Remembering LKY: Selected photos

From Salleh's collection:

LKY the meme:

The final images of Lee Kuan Yew:

Weird that during his announcement about LKY's death, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong never acknowledged that LKY was his father. The PM just kept saying "Mr Lee Kuan Yew" like it was crutch.

If the forced formality was to help the haggard-looking PM Lee keep his anguish in check, he was betrayed by the heart-breaking pause in the middle of his Mandarin speech (2:50 in the video).

I don't think anyone would begrudge PM Lee if he said at the end, "Goodbye, Papa."

EARLIER: Star Trek's shout-out to Lee Kuan Yew

UPDATED: Umbrellas & tents: 3 hours 10 minutes in The Queue for Lee Kuan Yew