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  1. #2976
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    Default Madam Kwa Geok Choo's casket to be carried on ceremonial gun carriage

    Channel NewsAsia
    05 October 2010 2044 hrs

    By Hoe Yeen Nie

    SINGAPORE: The government has decided to accord the late Madam Kwa Geok Choo, the wife of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, the honour of being borne on the ceremonial gun carriage for her final journey to the Mandai Crematorium for the funeral service on Wednesday.

    A statement from the Prime Minister's Office says this honour is in recognition of her exceptional and unique contributions to Singapore for more than five decades, beginning before Singapore became independent.

    More mourners turned up to pay their last respects to Mrs Lee on the second day of her wake at Sri Temasek, the official residence of the Prime Minister and located within the Istana grounds.

    Many foreign dignitaries were also at Sri Temasek on Tuesday to bid their final goodbye to Mrs Lee who died on Saturday after a long illness at age 89.

    Among the foreign dignitaries was Nik Aziz Nik Mat, the leader of Malaysia's opposition PAS and Menteri Besar of Kelantan state.

    Speaking to MediaCorp, Datuk Nik Aziz conveyed his condolences to the Lee family and said he believed they would have the courage and strength to move on.

    Ministers from Malaysia like Shahrizat Abdul Jalil also shared their memories of Mrs Lee.

    Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Malaysia's Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, said: "I have the greatest admiration and respect for Mrs Lee Kuan Yew because she epitomises to me substance and style. She had great values and dignity.

    "And I believe one of the reasons why Mr Lee Kuan Yew has been so successful is because she has been beside him all the while, providing a stable, steady, strong influence and it's very important for a spouse to be that way."

    Former Malaysian Cabinet minister, Daim Zainuddin, also turned up at the wake to pay his last respects.

    Other visitors included Brunei's Foreign Minister Prince Mohamed Bolkiah and two daughters of former Indonesian President Suharto.

    MP for Potong Pasir, Chiam See Tong, was also at the wake. He said: "She's such a dignified, quiet and gracious lady. I think she, in her quiet ways, endeared herself to the whole of Singapore."

    They had all met Mrs Lee previously but there were many others including ordinary Singaporeans who had never met her but who felt compelled to pay homage to someone whom they regarded as an inspiration to women.

    "I saw Mrs Lee on television together with MM Lee when I was a primary school kid in Penang. I thought that she would make a wonderful lady and wife for a great leader, because she appeared to be humble and very down-to-earth," said Kam Choo Choo, a Singaporean, who was at the wake.

    There were also students from Methodist Girls' School, Madam Kwa's alma mater.

    MGS student, Jeanne Ng, said: "It really means a lot that she's an ex-MGS girl, because I'm proud to be part of the school she attended. And it's also very inspiring, because she really exemplified our mission statement - to master, to grow and to serve - in every phase of her life. And to me that's very inspiring."

    Mrs Lee was an intensely private person. Most people know about her through her husband's memoirs or through news reports when she accompanied Mr Lee on functions and on overseas trips.

    But away from the media glare, Mrs Lee was also a brilliant lawyer who was instrumental in advancing the rights of women in Singapore in the early years of independence. This included pushing for women to retain their maiden names after marriage. Previously they could only use their husband's name.

    Mrs Yu-Foo Yee Shoon, Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports, said: "For us, we take it for granted, but at that time, in a lot of countries, women still could not use their own names to do business or enterprise or even to run a professional institution or to borrow money.

    "So we should thank her for being foresighted....for helping women to improve the women's legal status."


    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (L) and his wife Ho Ching stand beside the coffin of his mother, the late Kwa Geok Choo, at the wake at Sri Temasek.
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  2. #2977
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    Default S'pore casinos lauded

    The Straits Times
    Oct 6, 2010

    By Huang Lijie

    THE model for Singapore's casinos is winning plaudits from foreign gaming consultants and casino operators.

    Gaming industry experts at the Asian Casino and Gaming Congress say the country's integrated resort (IR) concept and measures to address social gambling ills are areas of learning for upcoming casino projects in the region.

    Mr Michael Gore, a gaming consultant who has consulted on casino projects in Vietnam, said: 'Everybody is trying to emulate what Singapore has done with its casinos because it is so successful and it has worked so well.'

    One measure of success experts cite is the casinos' revenue. Resorts World Sentosa recorded a total revenue of $860.8 million in the second quarter of this year, while Marina Bay Sands takes in $485 per slot machine per day - more than double that of slot machines in the Las Vegas strip.

    Many attribute the casinos' success to the concept - an integrated casino resort that includes hotel, retail, entertainment and convention facilities.

    Mr Steve Yong, director of the Singapore office of the Korea Tourism Organisation, said although South Korea has 17 casinos, 'they are not competitive in terms of attractions for players and travellers' because they do not offer shopping, dining and entertainment.


    Marina Bay Sands integrated resort. -- PHOTO: ST/BRYAN VAN DER BEEK
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  3. #2978
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    Default Experts chip in with ideas

    The Straits Times
    Oct 6, 2010

    Suggestions include restricting ATM cash withdrawals and pre-setting loss limits

    By Ng Kai Ling

    ON THE first day of a three-day conference on gaming, the talk was not just about attracting people to casinos, but also about ways to prevent them from losing more than they can afford.

    Industry experts at the third Asian Casino and Gaming Congress suggested limiting the amount of cash that ATMs in casinos can dispense, and having gamblers declare how much they are willing to lose before they hit the tables.

    The conference, held at Marina Bay Sands (MBS), is organised by Hong Kong-based events organiser Beacon Events. It attracted more than 100 delegates from countries such as the United States, South Korea and Australia.

    Over the three days, they will discuss both the business and social aspects of gaming, such as how to maintain a sustainable business while managing problem gambling.

    Dr Derek da Cunha, an academic who wrote Singapore Places Its Bets, a book about the opening of the two integrated resorts (IRs) and their social impact, suggested using a biometric identification system.

    This could make use of Singapore's existing identification card database to verify, by using thumbprints, whether a person is allowed in the casinos or not. Since the two IRs in Singapore opened, at least eight people have been charged with trying to enter the gaming areas using another person's identity.


    Industry experts at the third Asian Casino and Gaming Congress suggested limiting the amount of cash that ATMs in casinos can dispense. -- PHOTO: ST/TERENCE TAN
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  4. #2979
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    Default Gun carriage honour

    The Straits Times
    Oct 6, 2010

    By Rachel Chang

    THE nation will bid its final farewell to Mrs Lee Kuan Yew today at a funeral service in the late afternoon.

    Her casket will be borne on a ceremonial gun carriage for the journey from Sri Temasek to the Mandai Crematorium.

    The Government said yesterday it decided to accord the late Madam Kwa Geok Choo this honour 'in recognition of her exceptional and unique contributions to Singapore for more than five decades, beginning before Singapore became independent'.

    The ceremonial gun carriage is a tradition that remains from the time of the British and is usually used in state and military funerals, most recently for Dr Goh Keng Swee, who died in May.

    At the funeral service for Mrs Lee today, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew will deliver a eulogy entitled 'The Last Farewell to My Wife'.

    It is expected that all three of her children - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang - will also speak.


    THE nation will bid its final farewell to Mrs Lee Kuan Yew today at a funeral service in the late afternoon. -- PHOTO: ST/ALBERT SIM
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  5. #2980
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    Default Young S'poreans at wake

    The Straits Times
    Oct 6, 2010

    By Lee Siew Hua

    Members of the public, including the very young and old, paying their last respects to Mrs Lee at Sri Temasek yesterday.

    FOR young Singaporeans, Mrs Lee Kuan Yew emerged from a different era, like a page from history.

    Yet many made the trek to Sri Temasek for her wake, some in the middle of exam week, and also discussed among themselves or with their teachers and parents what they could learn from her life.

    Two friends from Singapore Management University, Miss Alexandria Neo and Miss Loh Kai Qing, both 22, marvelled at how expectations of women have changed since Mrs Lee's day.

    'She walked two steps behind Mr Lee,' noted Miss Neo, a marketing and psychology student.

    The pair found themselves debating if it was a 'waste' of Mrs Lee's brilliance to forsake the national limelight, but Miss Neo concluded: 'For her time, she pulled off her duties very well as a wife, mother and lawyer.'

    The notion of walking behind Mr Lee - metaphorically - struck young minds.
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  6. #2981
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    Default Commonwealth Games: S'pore wins first 2 golds in shooting

    Channel NewsAsia
    05 October 2010 1419 hrs

    SINGAPORE : Singapore's shooting team were on the mark at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India on Tuesday, winning two gold medals on the second day of the Games.

    Gai Bin and Lim Swee Hon won the first gold in the 50m pistol men's pair event, scoring 1,094 points, edging out India by seven shots.

    The women's pair of Aqilah Sudhir and Jasmine Ser set a new Games record with a score of 1,149 in the 50m rifle 3-position (pairs) event.

    Sports Minister Vivian Balakrishnan described Swee Hon's and Gai Bin's win as a tremendous achievement.

    He said Aqilah and Jasmine added to the gloss with a wonderful performance in a new Commonwealth Games' record.

    He added that this was a great start for Team Singapore and a strong inspiration for the athletes to deliver their best at the Games.

    Celebrating their success, shooter Lim Swee Hon said: "Definitely, I'm very happy, I'm very delighted. I was very proud that I can get the first gold medal.

    "It's not the first time we team up together, so definitely there's some rapport between us. And for this year, we have a lot of preparation."


    Jasmine Ser and Aqilah Sudhir (Photo by SSC)
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  7. #2982
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    Default New FLEX procedure to correct myopia

    Channel NewsAsia
    05 October 2010 1912 hrs

    SINGAPORE : Correcting vision in a myopic eye used to mean going for LASIK treatment. Now there is an even more advanced alternative that promises to halve the treatment time and cause less discomfort.

    Known as FLEX or Femtosecond Lenticule Extraction, this treatment uses just one laser to LASIK's two.

    The special VisuMax laser used with FLEX cuts a lens-shaped layer from within the cornea and shapes it to correct vision.

    The Singapore National Eye Centre, which has done about 30 such treatments this year, said this works even better with higher degrees of up to 1,000.

    The procedure, which has also been tested in other parts of Asia and Europe, is available at around S$2,300 to S$2,500 per eye.

    FLEX may even be reversible, which will help those who develop long-sightedness or presbyobia as they age.

    Professor Donald Tan, director, Singapore National Eye Centre, said: "Because we are not using the excimer laser to burn away the myopia, but we are actually cutting a lens shape out, we feel we might be able to make use of that again.

    "Our research at the Singapore Eye Research Institute is (that) now we have patented a technique where we can actually keep that lens piece, store it for the patient in case later on for whatever reason, maybe you develop "lau hua" (long sightedness) or anything else, we can implant that lens back ... and restore some of the myopia.

    "But that still remains to be seen. That's still under research."
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  8. #2983
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    Default Benchmark checklist for courts

    The Straits Times
    Oct 6, 2010

    By K.C. Vijayan, Law Correspondent

    THE Subordinate Courts have teamed up with agencies abroad to craft a gold-standard performance checklist for judicial systems worldwide to adopt.

    The framework for promoting court excellence is the first of its kind in the world, noted Chief District Judge Tan Siong Thye.

    The checklist, officially launched by Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong at the Asia-Pacific Courts Conference yesterday, will help courts deliver high-quality services through the benchmarking of themselves against the best.

    The seven areas in the checklist include key issues like court management, user satisfaction and public confidence, among other things.

    Present at yesterday's launch at the Raffles City Convention Centre were some 220 delegates from 56 countries, including Malaysia's Chief Justice Zaki Azmi, Singapore's Law Minister K. Shanmugam and its Attorney-General Sundaresh Menon.

    Known as the International Framework For Court Excellence, the model checklist was drawn up by a consortium of groups from Europe, Asia, Australia and the United States.

  9. #2984
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    Default Two golds for Team S'pore

    The Straits times
    Oct 6, 2010

    NEW DELHI - AQILAH Sudhir had a warning from judges. Jasmine Ser found her sight getting blurry. Gai Bin started thinking of gold. Only Nigel Lim seemed unperturbed.

    In shooting, in which 'a blank mind is the perfect state', according to Aqilah, even the slightest distraction can be costly.

    Yet, Singapore's shooters, all in their first Commonwealth Games, won their personal battles in their own way to deliver the Republic's first two golds of the New Delhi Games in scintillating fashion.

    Aqilah and Jasmine's win in the 50m rifle three-position was doubly impressive given it was a new event for them.

    Still, not only did they beat an experienced Indian team which included Tejaswani Sawant, who only two months ago was crowned the world champion in the 50m prone, but they also set a Commonwealth Games record with their combined score of 1,149. The Singapore pair beat the Indians by six points.

    'I'm still in shock,' said Ser, 20, who talks to herself to shut out the rest of the world from her mind during competition.


    Aqilah Sudhir and Jasmine Ser won the women's 50m rifle three-positions pairs title. -- PHOTO: AFP
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  10. #2985
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    Default REMEMBERING MRS LEE 1920-2010: 'Without her, I would be different'

    The Straits Times
    Oct 7, 2010

    By Irene Ngoo

    IN a moving eulogy to his wife of 63 years, which brought tears to those attending the private funeral service of the late Madam Kwa Geok Choo at Mandai Crematorium on Wednesday afternoon, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew fondly recalled her devotion to him, the simple pleasures they enjoyed in the evening and how the matriarch of the family brought up her three children and doted on her grandchildren.

    Even as he grieved over her passing - which 'cannot be expressed in words' - MM celebrated her life in his 'last farewell to my wife', remembering the wonderful moments of their family life together and the life-long values she had taught their children. He shared personal anedotes with the gathering of close friends and relatives, Cabinet ministers, MPs, grassroots and community leaders who came to say their last goodbye to Madam Kwa, acknowledged by many as the 'mother of the country'.

    Minister Mentor began his eulogy, recounting how he met Madam Kwa, who became his constant companion since they both studied in Cambridge University in 1947.

    Mr Lee spoke of how Choo, as he called his wife, influenced his writing style, brought up their children to be 'well-behaved, polite, considerate and never to throw their weight as the prime minister's children', and the evening walks with her in the Istana grounds where their official residence was.

    'We would walk around the Istana gardens in the evening, and I hit golf balls to relax,' recalled MM Lee. 'Later, when we had grandchildren, we would take them to feed the fish and the swans in the Istana ponds. Then we would swim.'

    On her contributions to the nation, MM Lee said Madam Kwa helped him draft the Constitution of the People's Action Party, and also an undertaking in the Federation of Malaysia Constitution to guarantee the two water agreements between the PUB and the Johor state government.

    'She was precise and meticulous in her choice of words,' said MM Lee.

    The last two years of her life were the most difficult after Mrs Lee was bedridden following several successive strokes. It was also the hardest for MM Lee.

    'She could not speak but she was still cognisant,' said MM Lee. 'Every night she would wait for me to sit by her to tell her of my day's activities and to read her favourite poems. Then she would sleep. '

    In his parting words, MM Lee said: 'I have precious memories of our 63 years together. Without her, I would be a different man, with a different life.

    'She devoted herself to me and our children. She was always there when I needed her. She has lived a life full of warmth and meaning.

    'I should find solace at her 89 years of life well lived. But at this moment of the final parting, my heart is heavy with sorrow and grief.'


    Quotes from MM Lee's eulogy

    'She had simple pleasures. We would walk around the Istana gardens in the evening, and I hit golf balls to relax. Later, when we had grandchildren, she would take them to feed the fish and the swans in the Istana ponds. Then we would swim.'

    'She had an uncanny ability to read the character of a person. She would sometimes warn me to be careful of certain persons; often, she turned out to be right.'

    'Her last wish she shared with me was to enjoin our children to have our ashes placed together, as we were in life.'

    AFTER HER SECOND STROKE...

    'Her mind remained clear but her voice became weaker. When I kissed her on her cheek, she told me not to come too close to her in case I caught her pneumonia. I assured her that the doctors did not think that was likely because I was active. When given some peaches in hospital, she asked the maid to take one home for my lunch.

    I was at the centre of her life.'


    'Her last wish she shared with me was to enjoin our children to have our ashes placed together, as we were in life.'


    MM Lee reading his eulogy to his wife at the Mandai Crematorium. -- ST PHOTO: TERENCE TAN
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  11. #2986
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    Default REMEMBERING MRS LEE 1920-2010: 'I was the centre of her life'

    The Straits Times
    Oct 7, 2010

    By Chua Mui Hoong

    'Without her, I would be a different man, with a different life.

    'She devoted herself to me and our children. She was always there when I needed her.

    'She has lived a life full of warmth and meaning. I should find solace in her 89 years of life well lived. But at this moment of the final parting, my heart is heavy with sorrow and grief.'


    - Minister Mentor saying one last goodbye to his wife, life-long companion and confidante of 63 years.



    A WIFE who put her husband at the centre of her life. A loving but strict Mama who fretted over her children, even when they were studying and working abroad. And a doting Nai Nai to her grandchildren, who shared her love for books with them.

    This was the picture of Madam Kwa Geok Choo that emerged from the loving eulogies delivered by her family members at her funeral service at Mandai Crematorium on Wednesday afternoon.

    Madam Kwa had been hospitalised after a second stroke in May 2008 and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew recalled an incident from that time in his eulogy on Wednesday.

    'When given some peaches in hospital, she asked the maid to take one home for me for my lunch. I was at the centre of her life,' he said.

    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said his Mama had been a skilful knitter. He still had a favourite rust-coloured sweater she had knitted for him when he had left home to study at Cambridge University.

    Madam Kwa died last Saturday, aged 89. Thousands braved the heat and long queues over the last two days to pay their respects at the Istana to a woman who was intensely private but touched many with her quiet warmth and supportive stance by her husband's side. Those who knew her described her as caring and witty, a gentle yin foil to her husband's yang assertiveness.

    Her final journey began just before 4pm , when the cortege with her body borne by a ceremonial gun-carriage travelled from the Istana down Thomson Road to Mandai Crematorium, where friends awaited.

    Mrs Lee was a pioneer in her own right, for her scholastic achievements and for her successful law practice. A meticulous lawyer, she is also credited with drafting part of a key amendment to the Separation Agreement when Singapore and Malaya parted ways in 1965. She shunned the public limelight, preferring to remain in her role of supportive wife, loving mother and doting grandmother. And it was thus her family knew her, as they said in fond tributes at a private funeral service at once solemn and loving.

    Recalling her life full of warmth and meaning, MM Lee said: 'I should find solace at her 89 years of life well lived. But at this moment of final parting, my heart is heavy with sorrow and grief.'


    'I should find solace at her 89 years of life well lived. But at this moment of final parting, my heart is heavy with sorrow and grief,' MM Lee said. -- ST PHOTO: TERENCE TAN
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  12. #2987
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    Default Trial of Romanian diplomat Ionescu opens in Bucharest

    Channel NewsAsia
    06 October 2010 2232 hrs

    By Claudia Craiu

    BUCHAREST, Romania : Special Envoy to Romania, Ambassador Anil Kumar Nayar, has said the Singapore government will do its best to help justice be served in the case involving former Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionescu.

    Ambassador Nayar and his team were at the opening of Ionescu's trial in Bucharest on Wednesday over the hit-and-run accidents in Singapore last year which claimed the life of a pedestrian.

    Mr Ionescu has denied responsibility.

    Another victim, who was severely injured in the accident in December, also showed up at the trial.

    The former Romanian diplomat appeared in court again on Wednesday, but this time, he met one of his victims, Bong Hwee Haw, who came to Romania accompanied by his mother and his attorney, N. Srinivasan.

    Two major surprises occurred in court at Wednesday's hearing. The first surprise was that the insurance company which had insured the Romanian embassy's car was allowed to claim damages.

    Its representatives are expected to testify in court on November 17.

    The second surprise came when Ionescu's attorneys filed a motion to make Romania's Foreign Office pay for their client's damages.

    The former diplomat's defence also had an extra barrister to assist the existing barrister, Nelu Tasca.

    Mr Bong's solicitor was not recognised as a certified lawyer by the Romanian law but he was, nonetheless, allowed to continue to represent his client.

    Mr Bong also mentioned that he wanted no compensation from Ionescu for his suffering, but he wanted justice to be served.

    Mr Bong gave no testimony as to what happened on December 15, as he is expected to return on the next court date on November 17.

    His lawyer mentioned that Mr Bong is still recovering and has only partial recollections of what happened that night.

    - CNA/al

  13. #2988
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    Default $3.5m to unclog Little India

    The Straits Times
    Oct 7, 2010

    Roads cleared, walkways widened to ease car, pedestrian congestion

    By Maria Almenoar

    A $3.5 MILLION project to ease the congestion on roads and pedestrian walkways in Little India is close to completion.

    Over the last year, the authorities have worked with shopkeepers and residents in the area to put in place measures that will keep traffic flowing smoothly and pedestrians off the roads.

    To ease the persistent traffic jam on the main thoroughfare, Serangoon Road, the back lanes of adjacent roads have been cleared.

    Illegal fixtures such as awnings and gas tanks have been removed so that vehicles can drive into these lanes and load and unload their goods, instead of doing so on Serangoon Road.

    The direction of traffic flow on Clive Street, which runs parallel to Serangoon Road, has also been reversed so that it now runs in the same direction as Serangoon Road.

    This serves as an alternative for motorists heading to some of the small streets off Serangoon Road, said the chairman of the Little India Task Force, Mr Ler Seng Ann, who is from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).


    Previously, temporary poles with large concrete bases and generators that cluttered the pedestrian walkways had to be put up to support festive decorations. -- ST PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN
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  14. #2989
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    Default REMEMBERING MRS LEE 1920-2010: I inherited her love of reading

    The Straits Times
    Oct 7, 2010

    INSTEAD of a television set which keeps many children company at other homes, Li Shengwu, growing up, had a 'tall, well-stocked bookshelf' with books picked by his 'Nai Nai', which would develop in him a love of learning and reading, and the 'kind of knowledge not found in print.'

    Paying tribute to Mrs Lee Kuan Yew, his grandmother, at her funeral service on Wednesday afternoon, grandson Li Shengwu, 25, who is Mr Lee Hsien Yang's eldest child, said the books contributed to much of his early childhood literacy.

    'She chose our books well, and the selection was expansive, ranging from Peter Rabbit to a picture book on exotic animals, from Roald Dahl to Arthurian legend,' said Mr Li, whose personal anecdotes about his 'Nai Nai' brought smiles to the gathering who filled three halls at Mandai Crematorium, amid the grief and sorrow over the passing of the wife of Singapore's founding father, and who has been acknowledged as the 'mother of the country.

    In a rare glimpse into Mrs Lee, the former Kwa Geok Choo, who was known to be a very private person, Mr Li said the best books were placed on a 'yet higher shelf' - up the stairs and in her own bedroom, where she kept the accumulated stories of a lifetime's reading. There he found a hoard of books ranging from Chaucer and Shakespeare, the Sejarah Melayu, Confucius and Mencius, to King Arthur and Thomas Malory.

    'Without her urging or insistence, I inherited her love of the kind of stories that are now called fairy-tale or fantasy, but used to be, simply, stories,' said Mr Li, a masters student in economics at Oxford University. 'It took me more than a decade to discover The Odyssey, Beowulf and Le Morte D'Arthur, but Nai Nai had the patience to sow the kinds of seeds that take long to fruit.'

    Mr Li's eulogy was peppered with poems, which included verses from Shakespeare and Samuel Butler. Hailing her as a 'great person; lively, quick-minded and kind,' he said: 'Her passing is to us an inconsolable loss, and it cuts keenly.'

    He added that the lives of his 'Ye Ye' (grandfather Lee Kuan Yew) and 'Nai Nai' are a story which will occupy many volumes.

    Earlier, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in his eulogy, also spoke of his mother's passion for reading and remembered her bringing him and his siblings to the National Library in Stamford Road every fortnight to borrrow books from the children's section.

    'By the time we graduated to the adult's section, we must have read hundreds of books, and had picked up a lifelong love for books and reading,' said PM Lee.'


    Without her urging or insistence, I inherited her love of the kind of stories that are now called fairy-tale or fantasy, but used to be, simply, stories,' Mr Li said. -- ST PHOTO: TERENCE TAN
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    Default Eulogy by li shengwu

    AT THE FUNERAL SERVICE OF MRS LEE KUAN YEW,
    MANDAI CREMATORIUM,

    6 OCTOBER 2010

    To everything there is a season,
    A time for every purpose under heaven:
    A time to be born,
    And a time to die;
    A time to weep,
    And a time to laugh;
    A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance;
    A time to gain,
    And a time to lose

    (Ecclesiastes 3:1-6, some lines omitted)

    President S R Nathan, Distinquished guests and family who are here to honour my grandmother's memory, Ye Ye, Pe Pe, Gu Gu, Papa.

    One of our family's abiding institutions is the Sunday Lunch. Our three (once four) generations gather to Oxley Road on Sundays and share a meal. When I was little, the grandchildren tended to eat far too fast and play far too loudly. I remember Nai Nai's good humour as we mistook her rocking chair for a climbing frame. In lieu of a television, Nai Nai provided a tall, well-stocked bookshelf next to the childrens' table, and thereby contributed much of my early childhood literacy. She chose our books well, and the selection was expansive, ranging from Peter Rabbit to a picture book on exotic animals(on the lowest shelf), from Roald Dahl to Arthurian legend (on the higher shelves). I never saw what was on the highest shelf; it was a very tall bookshelf and I was not a very tall child.

    Little did I suspect that the best books were on a yet higher shelf; up the stairs and in Nai Nai's bedroom, where she kept the accumulated stories of a lifetime's reading, a hoard of Chaucer and Shakespeare, the Sejarah Melayu, Confucius and Mencius, to which the cheery bookshelf downstairs was a mere shadow or stepping stone. The King Arthur of Roger Lancelyn Green occupied the downstairs bookshelf; the King Arthur of Thomas Malory held court upstairs. Without her urging or insistence, I inherited her love of the kind of stories that are now called fairy-tale or fantasy, but used to be, simply, stories. It took me more than a decade to discover The Odyssey, Beowulf and Le Morte D'Arthur, but Nai Nai had the patience to sow the kinds of seeds that take long to fruit.

    Nai Nai had the benefit of a classical education, and upon returning from my studies overseas I discovered that she had long been reading the Greek philosophers that I had late come to appreciate. Well-worn copies of Plato's Republic and Symposium occupied places near her bedside. I wish we'd had the chance to talk about them.

    It is well to say that Nai Nai lives on in memory, but she was more than memory. She was a great person; lively, quick-minded and kind. Her passing is to us an inconsolable loss, and it cuts keenly. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings has for decades been a family favourite. In its final chapters, at the parting of the fellowship, the wizard Gandalf counsels, "Go in peace! I will not say, 'Do not weep!', for not all tears are an evil."

    Ye Ye and Nai Nai's lives are a story to occupy many volumes. Coming late into the narrative, I am a minor character who has missed many chapters. I cannot bear witness to the earlier plot twists, climaxes and denouements. But I know that they have loved one another steadfastly, through many trials and joys.

    The Bard tells us
    ,


    "Love is not love
    Which alters when it alteration finds,
    Or bends with the remover to remove:
    O no! It is an ever-fixéd mark
    That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
    It is the star to every wandering bark,
    Whose Worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
    Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
    Within his bending sickle's compass come:
    Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
    But bears it out even to the edge of doom."

    (William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116)

    Nai Nai and Ye Ye have been, to me, an example of that kind of love.

    Nai Nai's grandchildren arrived relatively late in her life, and she loved each one [/SIZE]dearly. When Huanwu and I were children, we became entangled in a book on Cat's Cradle, a game of string figures played with a loop of twine and four hands. Seeing our difficulty, Nai Nai carefully unknotted our initial attempts, and showed us new spiderweb configurations mentioned nowhere in the book's pages. She passed to her grandchildren a love of learning and reading, as well as the kind of knowledge not found in print.

    Samuel Butler wrote,

    “I fall asleep in the full and certain hope
    That my slumber shall not be broken;
    And that though I be all-forgetting,
    Yet shall I not be forgotten,
    But continue that life in the thoughts and deeds
    Of those I loved.”

    We love you, Nai Nai, and we will remember you.
    Last edited by Loh; 10-07-2010 at 04:36 AM.

  16. #2991
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Concert to mark China-S'pore ties

    The Straits Times
    Oct 7, 2010

    By Lai Han-Wei

    AN ARTS and cultural showcase will be staged to commemorate 20 years of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China.

    To be presented by Singapore's Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (Mica) and the Chinese Embassy, the showcase will mark the two-decade relations between the two countries, established on Oct 3, 1990.

    In a statement, Mica said that 'close geographical proximity and similar cultural interests have also led to regular exchanges in the arts, culture and media' which strengthened bilateral bonds.

    To mark the occasion, a ballet gala performance by the National Ballet of China will be held from Oct 8-9, and an oil painting and photo exhibition will take pace from Oct 20 to 31.

    Singapore Post and China Post will also issue a joint commemorative prepaid envelope to celebrate the milestone on Oct 18.

    Lui Tuck Yew, Acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, said: 'Over the years, audiences in China and Singapore have had many opportunities to enjoy performances and exhibitions by prominent Chinese and Singaporean artists and performing groups.

    'All these exchanges add flavour and colour to the extensive cooperation between China and Singapore and provide numerous avenues to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation between our people and our artists.'

  17. #2992
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Commonwealth Games: Singapore wins two more medals

    Channel NewsAsia
    07 October 2010 1624 hrs

    By Tan Yo-Hinn |

    SINGAPORE: Team Singapore have won two more medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

    National shooters Jasmine Ser and Aqilah Sudhir bagged a silver and bronze respectively in the women's individual 50m rifle 3 positions final.

    Ser shot a total of 672.6, while Aqilah shot 671.3.

    Australia's Alethea Sedgman won the event with a 676 total.

    The result brings Singapore's medal haul to two gold, two silver and two bronze - all from shooting events - as at 4pm Thursday

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