Singapore urges restraint as Lee mourners queue for 10 hours

2015-03-28 04:48:52 GMT2015-03-28 12:48:52(Beijing Time)  Agencies
Tents are set up to provide shade for members of the public, as they stand in line to pay their respects for the late Lee Kuan Yew at the Parliament House where he will lie in state for four days, Thursday, March 26, 2015, in Singapore. Lee, 91, died Monday at Singapore General Hospital after more than a month of battling severe pneumonia. The government declared a week of mourning for the leader who is credited with transforming the resource-poor island into a wealthy finance and trade hub with low crime and corruption in a region saddled with graft, instability and poverty. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E) Tents are set up to provide shade for members of the public, as they stand in line to pay their respects for the late Lee Kuan Yew at the Parliament House where he will lie in state for four days, Thursday, March 26, 2015, in Singapore. Lee, 91, died Monday at Singapore General Hospital after more than a month of battling severe pneumonia. The government declared a week of mourning for the leader who is credited with transforming the resource-poor island into a wealthy finance and trade hub with low crime and corruption in a region saddled with graft, instability and poverty. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Tents are set up to provide shade for members of the public, as they stand in line to pay their respects for the late Lee Kuan Yew at the Parliament House where he will lie in state for four days, Thursday, March 26, 2015, in Singapore. Lee, 91, died Monday at Singapore General Hospital after more than a month of battling severe pneumonia. The government declared a week of mourning for the leader who is credited with transforming the resource-poor island into a wealthy finance and trade hub with low crime and corruption in a region saddled with graft, instability and poverty. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E) Tents are set up to provide shade for members of the public, as they stand in line to pay their respects for the late Lee Kuan Yew at the Parliament House where he will lie in state for four days, Thursday, March 26, 2015, in Singapore. Lee, 91, died Monday at Singapore General Hospital after more than a month of battling severe pneumonia. The government declared a week of mourning for the leader who is credited with transforming the resource-poor island into a wealthy finance and trade hub with low crime and corruption in a region saddled with graft, instability and poverty. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Members of the public pay their respects to the late Lee Kuan Yew at the Parliament House where he will lie in state for four days, Thursday, March 26, 2015, in Singapore. Lee, 91, died Monday at Singapore General Hospital after more than a month of battling severe pneumonia. The government declared a week of mourning for the leader who is credited with transforming the resource-poor island into a wealthy finance and trade hub with low crime and corruption in a region saddled with graft, instability and poverty. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E) Members of the public pay their respects to the late Lee Kuan Yew at the Parliament House where he will lie in state for four days, Thursday, March 26, 2015, in Singapore. Lee, 91, died Monday at Singapore General Hospital after more than a month of battling severe pneumonia. The government declared a week of mourning for the leader who is credited with transforming the resource-poor island into a wealthy finance and trade hub with low crime and corruption in a region saddled with graft, instability and poverty. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
A vigil guard takes his position as members of the public pay their respects to the late Lee Kuan Yew at the Parliament House where he will lie in state for four days, Thursday, March 26, 2015, in Singapore. Lee, 91, died Monday at Singapore General Hospital after more than a month of battling severe pneumonia. The government declared a week of mourning for the leader who is credited with transforming the resource-poor island into a wealthy finance and trade hub with low crime and corruption in a region saddled with graft, instability and poverty. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E) A vigil guard takes his position as members of the public pay their respects to the late Lee Kuan Yew at the Parliament House where he will lie in state for four days, Thursday, March 26, 2015, in Singapore. Lee, 91, died Monday at Singapore General Hospital after more than a month of battling severe pneumonia. The government declared a week of mourning for the leader who is credited with transforming the resource-poor island into a wealthy finance and trade hub with low crime and corruption in a region saddled with graft, instability and poverty. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
People sit under umbrellas, as they queue up to pay their respects to the late first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, at the Parliament House in Singapore, March 27, 2015. Thousands of Singaporeans queued to pay their last respects to former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who lay in state at Parliament House, waiting for up to ten hours in stifling tropical heat to view his body. REUTERS/Edgar Su People sit under umbrellas, as they queue up to pay their respects to the late first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, at the Parliament House in Singapore, March 27, 2015. Thousands of Singaporeans queued to pay their last respects to former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who lay in state at Parliament House, waiting for up to ten hours in stifling tropical heat to view his body. REUTERS/Edgar Su

SINGAPORE — Singaporeans hoping for a glimpse of long-time leader Lee Kuan Yew's coffin are being urged to stay away from the sprawling queue as waiting times reach 10 hours.

The government said Friday that it "strongly advises" the public not to join the queue and to instead visit community tribute sites set up across the island.

Lee's death at age 91 on Monday has been met with an outpouring of grief in Singapore. Lee was Singapore's prime minister for 31 years, ruling with an iron grip until 1990 and is regarded by Singaporeans as the architect of the country's economic success.

As of late morning Friday, some 230,000 people had viewed Lee's coffin at Parliament House, the government said. The queue of several kilometers starts at the Padang, an open field in Singapore's downtown, crosses a park and snakes along the Singapore River to Parliament House.

Dozens of tents have been erected in the Padang to shelter mourners from the tropical sun and government workers handed out water to people in the long lines.

"I'm not afraid to wait," said 44-year-old Idy Leong. "Even waiting for 8 hours, I'll still want to wait. Ten hours, I'll also want to wait," she said.

Though credited with building the foundations of Singapore's current prosperity, Lee's legacy also includes a muzzled press, restrictions on free speech and a stunted democracy.

A slew of foreign leaders and dignitaries are expected at Lee's funeral on Sunday including Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and former President Bill Clinton.

The cortege will take a 15-kilometre journey around key landmarks in the city before reaching the National University of Singapore for the funeral service.

| PRINT | RSS
Editor:
Add Comment
Name
 
Please read our Terms of Service. Messages that harass, abuse or threaten others; have obscene or otherwise objectionable content; have spam, commercial or advertising content or links may be removed.