He was wheeled into parliament at 4:20pm, just as Monday’s session was about to be adjourned for the day.
Minister for Social and Family development Chan Chun Sing was in the middle of his response to an adjournment motion on children in disadvantaged families when he paused mid-sentence as three men wheeled Lee Kuan Yew to his seat in the first row facing the cabinet, between Lam Pin Min and Mah Bow Tan.
As he was unable to stand on his own, the three men helped lift him out of his silver wheelchair and into his seat. Wearing his signature black New Balance sneakers, long black socks and regular Parliamentary attire of a white shirt, black pants and a plain black jacket, Lee was there for a special reason.
Singapore's first prime minister, who turned 90 on Monday, was celebrated for his long service in Parliament, as well as his contributions to the country, and was given a 30-second standing ovation by MPs present — some of whom arrived at around 4pm seemingly just to witness the occasion.
A short tribute speech by leader of the house and Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen hailed Lee's 58-year parliamentary membership. This was greeted with much armchair-thumping and was celebrated as "a remarkable record", marking a "lifetime of service and struggle”.
Ng quoted Shakespeare on greatness, noting that any attempt to recount Lee's career would "amount to injustice" to his "lasting legacy".
He also added that Lee had made special effort to be present on Monday afternoon, "against his doctor's advice", sparking laughter from the members present. Lee himself cracked a smile.
Moments later, however, Ng concluded his speech to rousing applause and as the members stood in ovation, including those who were present in the public gallery, Lee himself moved to stand, and was helped up by four others including Mah and Lam.
Shortly after Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob adjourned session, to which Lee still inclined his head, MPs lined up to greet him and shake his hand. These included all the opposition and Non-constituency MPs, as well as several Nominated MPs.
MPs then adjourned to the members' room where they sang the birthday song in three languages to Lee, and cut two cakes in the shape of the number 90.
Tampines MP Baey Yam Keng also uploaded this photo of a card signed by all the MPs for Lee.
With successive ministerial positions spanning more than 50 years, Monday caps off the birthday of one of the longest-serving ministers in history.
"I am not given to making sense out of life -- or coming up with some grand narrative on it -- other than to measure it by what you think you want to do in life," he wrote in his most recent memoir entitled "One Man's View of the World".
"As for me, I have done what I had wanted to, to the best of my ability. I am satisfied."
Read the tributes and birthday wishes that have so far been given to Lee in our story here.
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