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National mourning. March 28, 2015

Posted by @Karen_Fu in National Mourning, Singapore.
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Today will be a historic day for people who come to mourn of a fine geostrategist, leader and a very wisely creative nation planner. I am very glad I eventually made it to the wake at the Parliament House.

I also think I should count myself lucky to get a much cooler weather and a much shorter wait. Much shorter than anticipated by many others. I had thought they wouldn’t allow me to go to the Padang because I reached the MRT station only at 7.40pm and it was far from the Padang. I really sprinted. Together with the bunch who came in at the same time, we ran against the final call to the wake.

Finally made it yesterday running after time. I had thought I wasn’t going to make it because it was really a little too late but I decided to try. Reached City Hall at around 7:40pm, brisk walked to the Padang before reaching one of the tents to wait for our turn to head for the Parliament House. The walk was longer running from Raflles City to crossing the roads to reaching the Padang. But the incentive was they allowed us to walk straight into the Parliament House thereafter via security check before being briefly whisked in afterwards. It was worth the time. Waiting time was less than 3.5hours from 7.50pm to 11.10pm. 3 hours and 20 minutes to be exact. Much shorter time than what I was expecting. And it wasnt hot at all. A lot of food was unexpectedly there. The stranger surprise was they actually have food for me when I am still having some food sensitivities. The officer near City Hall MRT station kept telling me to run and it was worth the rush. I heard some one saying it was tougher than BMT (basic military training) and it drew a laugh. If you want to go, and if you really have the heart to go; somehow you will be there even though you may think it was almost impossible to reach on time at all. To tell the truth, I had wanted to give up because the time was too tight. Very glad I decided to give it a go.

While in the waiting tent, the volunteers and the SAF people kept moving around asking if we were hungry. I didnt expect any food at all. But they seemed to be worried that people may get hungry all the time. First, it was the apples, then it was the drinks. Soon after it was pasta, then it was bread, ice cream, crackers, biscuits and all. It came to a point that it became even comical. Even the kids were quite surprised but none of them were greedy to eat up everything. I was looking on in amazement. It showed care and I was told a lot of the food was donated by different organizations or even from individuals-very generous. I am still wondering who gave all the food though. At one point they were giving away one loaf of freshly baked bread to one person. They asked me if I wanted it. I didn’t because I wasn’t hungry. I looked at it and it wasn’t any kind of bread, it was a multigrain with rye flour (I think). It wasn’t cheap either, which made me thought who would give such a generous donation during the wake.

Thankfully it was a cool evening. Imagine if you would head there in the afternoon. I bet there were people being sent to the hospital for heat stroke. Yet thousands are willing to risk the weather to pay their last respects. I have never seen such a national unity before. But I do worry one thing: imagine the area was attacked, and there was a need to have such tents around to save lives, would we have the space? The cramming population is one of the agendas that I cannot agree in a time when terrorism is rampant in the world. Then again, it seemed to be ignored.

When it was our turn to move out of the tents, everyone cheered. We went through the security system very quick. Before we knew it, we were filing into the wake area.

Filed past the late Minister Mentor’s casket at 11:10pm. A sense of anguish came. You wouldn’t feel that much until you reach the feet of the casket. Then you know how much you lost. It is a fleeting moment of a life time that makes you think about life and how life could treat a person; and how some people could be so nice or mean to one another. To me, it is a sense of motivation. I am not a giant, but I can strive to do good in other modest ways. If those were the obstacles he faced and pass, then I should try to pass mine.

Everyone has their own set of problems and monkeys to face. It is only a matter of effort, wit and time to master the art of problem solving and dealing with different factors (or rather characters) in life. The process is the most difficult but we must learn to take up the challenge. For those who resort to small ways to get their goals never actually win and they are never become great people. At least they were never even a good person to start off with.

The week of mourning has been very reflective on a personal level. It rekindled the national issues and history. It opened up insights about life and it reminded me that a making of a nation and indeed anything always involve persistence and discipline with a take of very witty humour. RIP Minister Mentor, I salute thee. -@Karen_Fu