As former President S R Nathan's body lay in state, snaking queues formed outside Parliament House on Thursday (Aug 25), with members of the public lining up to pay their last respects to him.
Busker Lee Kian Chuan, who arrived at 7am, was the first in line at Parliament House. Mr Lee, who met Mr Nathan a few times at East Coast Park, said the former President was good-hearted and would make conversation when they crossed paths.
Madam Thenmoli Duraisamy, a project assistant in her 50s, also left home early at about 6.45am to pay her respects to Mr Nathan. She recalled meeting him about 10 years ago in a "chance encounter" when she accompanied a friend to visit the latter's former teacher, Mrs Nathan.
She remembered being greeted by Mr Nathan without airs when the former President unexpectedly showed up.
"We were awestruck; He said 'Hello! Come in, come in' and then he asked his wife if she had served us drinks."
The local football fraternity, including the Warriors Football Club and Home Team Football Club, was also spotted in the queue.
Warriors Football Club (top) and Home Team Football Club queuing to enter Parliament House. (Photos: Nisha Karyn)
Warriors' Zulfadli Zainal, 28, said it was "the least we can do to convey our last respects to him". “He has done a great deal for Singapore," he said.
At about noon, with the sun high up in the sky, a man collapsed in the queue. He was tended to by paramedics at the first aid tent, who assured him that he would be better with some rest and could pay his respects to Mr Nathan later.
A man being tended to by paramedics after collapsing in the queue to pay respects to former President S R Nathan at Parliament House.
Inside Parliament House, the mood was sombre. Some members of the public broke down in tears in front of Mr Nathan's casket, which was draped in the national flag and surrounded by four vigil guards with bowed heads.
Members of the public will be able to pay their respects to Mr Nathan until 10pm on Thursday. On Friday, he will receive a State Funeral.