Singapore’s government extended viewing hours into the night for mourners to pay tribute to its first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew as a line stretched more than a mile through the city’s financial district.
Roads have been closed and people may have to wait for as long as eight hours to reach Parliament House, where Lee’s body will lie in state for four days. Lee’s coffin was carried there on a gun carriage from the presidential palace on Wednesday.
“We should come and pay our last respects to him,” Irene Foo, 43, said as she headed to join the line with her colleagues at 3:02 p.m. local time. “Without him, we would not be what we are now in terms of the prosperity of Singapore.”
The public are paying tribute to Lee, who died Monday at 91, following a two-day private family wake. A state funeral service on Sunday will be followed by a private cremation ceremony. Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah and Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing were among the first to visit and pay their respects.
Parliament House will be open all day through 8 p.m. on Saturday, according to the official website set up for tributes to Lee. The public should expect to queue for about eight hours as of 3 p.m., according to the statement.
Crowds gathered at Parliament House before Lee’s body arrived at about 10 a.m. Singapore. The afternoon temperature rose to 91 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Celsius), according to the Weather Channel.
“He’s such a great man and we’re trying to show our last respect,” said Cynthia Lu, 41, as she teared up while waiting in line.
Events from a half marathon to the unveiling of new corporate services have been put on hold. Companies ranging from Singapore Airlines Ltd. to Google Inc. have also marked the event or lauded his contributions to the nation and their respective industries.
“In some ways, he’s really still here, the city he’s built, the system he’s built, the kind of DNA, the basic understanding of how things work in the world,” Simon Tay, a law professor at the National University of Singapore and a former nominated member of Parliament, said in an interview.
The city’s two casino resorts including Marina Bay Sands canceled their nightly iconic light and water shows. Genting Singapore Plc, which runs the Resorts World Sentosa gaming property, also halted street acts at its Universal Studios theme park and suspended marketing events.
Changi Airport set up Lee’s black and white photos at check-in rows. Buildings including Marina Bay Financial Centre and those managed by CapitaLand Ltd., Southeast Asia’s largest developer, turned off signage lights.
Dress codes have been adjusted at some companies. United Overseas Bank Ltd. asked its employees to wear dark blue or white when they pay tribute to Lee, according to an internal memo. About 300 workers at Chevron Corp.’s 27 gas stations in Singapore dressed in black polo shirts in place of red uniforms, while the Singapore Exchange Ltd. provided black pin ribbons for all its employees.
Singaporeans are paying tributes to Lee, leaving flowers and memos at designated areas.
“I want to thank him for what he fought for us for the last 50 years,” said Andrea Lee, 39, who took a day off and stood in line for 1 1/2 hours with a bouquet of pink orchids. “Without him, we would not have come this far.”