Singapore holds funeral procession for Founding Father

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According to BBC reports, Singapore is bidding farewell to its founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who died on Monday aged 91.

Despite torrential rain, tens of thousands lined the streets to view the funeral procession carrying Mr Lee’s coffin through the city-state.

A state funeral then took place attended by world leaders, ahead of a private family cremation ceremony.

About 1.5m people paid tribute to Mr Lee at sites around the country this week the government said.

In his eulogy, Mr Lee’s son, the current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, said his father had “lived and breathed Singapore all his life”.

“The light that has guided us all these years has been extinguished,” he said.

The funeral procession began on Sunday at 12:30 (04:30 GMT) as Mr Lee’s body was taken from Parliament House on a gun carriage.

A 21-gun salute sounded, echoing across the city, as the procession moved on into the business district and Tanjong Pagar, the docklands constituency Mr Lee represented for his whole political life.

Military jets flew overhead while two Singaporean navy vessels conducted a sail-past of the Marina Bay barrage – the massive water conservation project spearheaded by Mr Lee.

Even after he stepped down in 1990, Mr Lee remained hugely influential in political life and was held in deep affection by Singaporeans.

He oversaw Singapore’s independence from Britain and separation from Malaysia. He was widely respected as the architect of Singapore’s prosperity – the city-state’s GNP per capita increased 15-fold between 1960 and 1980.

However, he also introduced tight controls, restricting freedom of speech and of the press. Political opponents were targeted by the courts.

Speaking about his legacy to the New York Times in 2010, Mr Lee said: “I’m not saying that everything I did was right, but everything I did was for an honourable purpose.”

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