Thursday, March 26, 2015

heartfelt thanks

When I say heartfelt thanks, I do mean that we only managed to say Thank You to the old man in our hearts.

It was hard not to be swept up in the tidal wave of sentiment which poured thick and treacly from my computer screen every day to the point that I felt, we had to go. Stand in line at Parliament House and pay our respects.

So, too, with the kids, who suddenly came back from school talking about Lee Kuan Yew like he was Ironman.

I checked the Estimated Waiting Time like I used to check the PSI. It just kept going up, four, five, six, seven, eight hours.

Finally, with my folks and Teng and KK and the kids, we went to the Padang on a muggy humid Thursday night, the sort where you feel itchy around your calves even if there are no mosquitoes around. My folks are both over 65, and we were channeled to the priority queue. The wait, we were told at 11pm, was seven hours.

Next to us were plenty of old folk and women with babies in arm. Babies.

Their Gong Gong, aged 78, the pioneer of pioneers in the family, said straight off – I’m going to the Bedok Central tribute site. No point what, you say thank you in your heart is good enough! What for you queue to walk past a coffin?

Day, the one who needs the most sleep, was tired, fed-up and saw no point in queueing. Lu the mummy-lover would do whatever I did. Jo the patriot wanted to prostrate herself in front of LKY.

KK, Por Por and my brother Teng were willing to stay. I would be, too, if I didn’t have to catch a flight to Thailand with the children the next day for Day and Jo to take part in a competition.

Finally, after an hour or two of standing in situ, I made the call. I went off with the kids. KK followed. Gong Gong gleefully came along.

Por Por and Teng continued to queue. I think they managed to file past his coffin at about 2-ish, which was actually less than 7 hours. They joined another half a million people or so who persisted in paying their respects.

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