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ASEAN-Myanmar Forum: Tributes by speakers and participants to the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew featured in The Straits Times

24 Mar ASEAN-Myanmar Forum: Tributes by speakers and participants to the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew featured in The Straits Times

The Straits Times featured remarks made at the ASEAN-Myanmar Forum in honour of the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, former Prime Minister of Singapore. The ASEAN-Myanmar Forum was held on 23 March 2015, co-organised by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) and IE Singapore.

Below is an excerpt from the news coverage.

Singaporeans in Yangon, Bangkok and Manila pay tribute to Mr Lee Kuan Yew

By Nirmal Ghosh, Indochina Bureau Chief In Yangon

The high profile Asean-Myanmar conference in a downtown Yangon hotel opened on a sombre note on Monday, with a minute’s silence for Singapore’s former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.

After that, speaker after speaker at the conference prefaced their remarks with tributes to the late founding father of Singapore.

“His was a voice that spoke clearly and directly, even if his views might be controversial,” said Professor Simon Tay, chair of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs which co-organised the conference.

“So although he did not set out to speak for Asia, it will be more than Singapore that will feel his passing,” Prof Tay said at the conference which was attended by two Myanmar ministers and top executives from across the region.

At Singapore’s embassies and consulates across Asia, a steady stream of Singaporeans and even locals filed through the gates to sign condolence books for Mr Lee. More are expected to turn up through the week.

From Yangon to Manila, while the mood among Singaporeans was sombre, it was also phlegmatic.  The Singapore Club of Thailand and the Singapore-Thai Chamber of Commerce have organised an SG50 golf event on Wednesday which will go ahead and participants will observe a minute’s silence.

In Yangon, Singaporean Andrew Tan said “I think everybody was expecting this farewell.”

“Everyone also wanted him to have a quick and dignified exit. Given his contribution to his country, it’s the least we can do,” said Mr Tan, who has been in Myanmar for more than two years and is a vice-president of the Singapore Association of Myanmar. The association has over 300 members – more than double the number just over a year ago.

Mr Tan said his sister in Singapore was crying when they spoke over the phone early Monday morning.

“She said it was like losing a father,” he told The Straits Times. “He was a really strong character, maybe made some errors, he is human, but at the end of the day, it’s mostly positive.”

“He was a very simple man…The influence is in everything we see in Singapore, the infrastructure, the law. When you come to Myanmar you appreciate what we have.”

For the full article, please visit the

Singaporeans in Yangon, Bangkok and Manila pay tribute to Mr Lee Kuan Yew [The Straits Times, 23 Mar 2015]

A second version of this article was also published on 24 Mar 2015.

Overseas Singaporeans, neighbours pay tribute to Mr Lee Kuan Yew [The Straits Times, 24 Mar 2015]