August 9, 2012
I started work at 8.45 am and finished at 5.30 pm. A bright sunshine morning. I was photographing a yellow hibiscus flower with deep purple central when another fellow tenant - a contractor in his late 50s came to me and said: "It is very sad. Our founding father (ex-Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew) had passed away on Aug 5. He had not been seen since he paid a visit to his elder brother who passed away recently. You know, he had been hospitalised in July and passed away on the 5th of August."
"How come there is no news?" I said. "Nobody can hide such news."
"Well, announcing his death would dampen the happy spirits of the National Day and so his death was kept secret. Flags have to be half-mast as he had died and that would not do for National Day celebrations today."
He was the second man to inform me. Yesterday at 9 pm, I went to buy some fruits from the fruit seller in the wet market in Ang Mo Kio. He also spread the rumour as he said: "Mr Lee died at 5 pm yesterday. But his death is a secret as the government does not want to spoil the happy mood of Singaporeans for National Day tomorrow."
I was surprised as this rumour seemed to be widespread, apparently on Facebook.
I asked my wife and she said she knew about Mr Lee's death. She did not tell me.
So, I was the last to know.
"Well, if he had passed away," I said. "He would not be present at the National Day Parade this evening and I would not see him on TV. Unless a look-alive can represent him but I don't believe the Singapore Government would do such deception."
So, I watched the National Day Parade. The TV showed the ministers coming into the stadium. Then switched to showing the crowds. Most of the PAP ministers no longer wore their white uniforms this year. Some men wore pink shirts. A lady was in all white. Still no signs of Mr Lee appearing.
"He must be dead," my wife said. Another person said that if Mr Lee was not dead, he would have issued a public statement to say he was alive. Why should he?
"Well, Mr Goh Chok Tong (ex-Prime Minister) had not appeared too," I said. "He can't be dead at the same time."
It seemed the TV station was keeping the audience in suspense as they switched to views of the crowds and no more glimpses of the ministers.
Suddenly, the TV zoomed on a door. There was Mr Goh Chok Tong and Mr Lee Kuan Yew. The TV zoomed on his face - rosy pink under the evening sun set rays. In the pink of health.
Well, so much for this national rumours.