Singapore mourns loss of its founding father and first PM Lee Kuan Yew
 Source : News Bharati English  Date : 23-Mar-2015

Singapore, March 23: The world leaders and Singapore wept on Monday as the Southeast Asian city state mourned the death of the founder and father of the country Lee Kuan Yew.

“The 91 year leader passed away peacefully” announced the government before dawn at the Singapore general Hospital. Lee was hospitalized in early February with severe illness and pneumonia.

National media truned from regular programming to a hagiographic tribute to Lee’s life and his greetest achievements. In a live broadcast, one of its reporters called Lee's death the "awful and dreaded" news.

The great leader has earned a great respect and love from the people of the nation and also sometimes the Singaporeans possed fear for the personality he was. The nation will celebrate 50th Independence Day.

Mr. Lee held the country in a grip for more than three decades until 1990. He gained all the credit for the nations development, the nation what it is today and the nation which was before him. He was pioneer for transforming the resource poor island into a wealthy busting financial hub with low crime rate and zero corruption.

Although the leadership quality dint end in his family, therefore Lee Hsisen Loong who is the present Prime Minister of the nation was the son of that great leader.

While holding a press conference the PM Lee Hsien couldn’t hold back his tear in frent of the national television. Speaking in Malay, Mandarin and English, the Prime Minister said Lee built a nation and gave Singaporeans a proud national identity.

"We won't see another man like him. Too many Singaporeans, and indeed others too, Lee Kuan Yew was Singapore," he said.

At the hospital where Lee spent the last weeks of his life, 55-year-old Maligah Thangaveloo cried as she clasped her hands in prayer before a sprawling array of flowers and cards left by Singaporeans. Calling Lee "father", she recalled shaking hands with him as a nine-year-old when he visited her school.

The world has joined their hands in paying condolence to the great leader. Inida’s PM also tweeted that the family and the nation has suffered a huge loss. 

The USA President called Lee a “visionary” in his statement, saying “I am deeply saddened to learn the death of Lee Kuan Yew.” Obama who met Lee during a his visit in 2009 in Singapore said, “His leadership qualities are remarkable, which has helped build the most as most prosperous country in the world in such short span of time.”

Obama also said that the success of Singapore meant a lot for Lee and that sought by political leaders around the world. He added, “Lee was held a huge importance in helping me to reformulate our policy of rebalancing to the Asia Pacific”. 

Malaysia with whom Singapore holds testy relations said, “ Lee’s achievements were great and his legacy is assured. In this hard time of their life Malaysia is commited to the future of our relationship with Singapore”, said Prime Minister Hajib Razak.

Beijing’s Foreign Ministery spokesperson Hong lei described Lee as an Asian politician with unique influence as well as a strategist imbued with eastern values and asn international perspective.

The nation has declared seven days of national mourning and flags will fly at half-staff on state buildings. The government has not declared any national holiday so as to not interrupt the daily life in this pragmatically commercial city of vaulting glass towers and broad immaculate streets continues to bustle.

A private wake for the Lee family will take place on Monday and Tuesday at Sri Temasek, the prime minister's official residence in the lush tropical grounds of the Istana government complex. After that, Lee will lie in state at parliament until a state funeral on Sunday.

Sayeed Hussain, an IT executive, said Lee was a "great hero" to Singaporeans as he paid respects at Singapore General Hospital.

"It is our duty to respect him and recognize him as a great hero in the world," said Hussain. "This is our last chance to do so."
The government also set up condolence boards at Parliament House and Istana and a website called Remembering Lee Kuan Yew where people can leave messages.

Under Lee and his successors, Singapore was known around the world for its strict social order including a ban on chewing gum, restrictions on free speech and canings for crimes some countries would rule as minor. In recent years, it has become socially more liberal and the fragmented political opposition made gains in Singapore's last elections in 2011.

After stepping down as prime minister, Lee remained part of the Cabinet and an influential figure in Singapore and Asia.
His legacy is regarded within Singapore and abroad as profound but there is also recognition that a toll was also exacted.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said Lee's "tremendous" role in Singapore's economic development is beyond doubt. "But it also came at a significant cost for human rights, and today's restricted freedom of expression, self-censorship and stunted multi-party democracy," he said.