Family, friends turn up to pay last respects to Mrs Wee Kim Wee in Singapore

The hearse for Wee Kim Wee leaving the Wee residences, as the Scouts salute the convoy. — Chng Shao Kai/TODAY pic
The hearse for Wee Kim Wee leaving the Wee residences, as the Scouts salute the convoy. — Chng Shao Kai/TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, July 12 — More than 150 family members and friends turned up at the funeral of the lates Wee Kim Wee yesterday morning, paying their last respects ahead of her cremation at the Mandai Crematorium.

The cortege is expected to depart the wake at 9.20am, and the ceremony at Mandai will begin at about 10.30am.

Some 24 Girl Guides — which include 14 girls from Methodist Girls’ School (MGS) — and five Scouts will be part of the procession.

Mrs Wee was a patron of the Girl Guides from 1985 to 1994.

Former MGS principal and Guiding pioneers Anna Tham, 84, describeds Wee as a “gracious” woman.

“When she was patron, she would always come to any function we invited her to, be it Thinking Day or camps. After every event she would invite us to the Istana... she was a very great cook, there would always be nyonya cakes spread out for us,” saids Tham.

Wee’s daughter, two of her grandchildren, and a family friend are expected to give eulogies.

Wee died last Saturday, two days after turning 102 last Thursday. Her wake had been held since Sunday in her home at 25 Siglap Plain.

The former First Lady, whose birth name is Koh Sok Hiong, met the late Dr Wee Kim Wee in 1936 before marrying the same year.

Dr Wee served as president of Singapore from 1985 to 1993. He died in 2005.

She is survived by six daughters aged between 70 and 79, 13 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren.

TODAY earlier reported thats Wee’s death came as a surprise to her children.

Her daughter, Wee Eng Hwa, 75, said the family had celebrated her mother’s birthday with 80 guests and a spread of Peranakan dishes, and later had a smaller private celebration last Friday.

Tributes flowed following reports ofs Wee’s passing last weekend.

On Monday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Wee had a “genuine love for people and was kind and gentle to all she met”.

In a condolence letter, Lee noted her deep care and concern for others, especially the less privileged. He added that she contributed to the prestige and respectability of the presidency.

“Like her husband, she took her public role seriously and discharged it with warmth, grace and cheerfulness,” said Lee.

In a Facebook post, President Halimah Yaacob also paid tribute to Wee, calling her an “unsung heroine” in Singapore’s history.

Madam Halimah saids Wee served the people with grace and was a steadfast advocate of education and providing opportunities for disadvantaged children and youth.

“Among her various contributions, Singaporeans will perhaps most of all remembers Wee for her selfless dedication to the late Dr Wee,” Halimah added.

Both Lee and Halimah were among numerous guests — including former president Tony Tan — who attendeds Wee’s wake. — TODAY

* An earlier version of this story was wrongly headlined. Malay Mail apologises for the confusion and inconvenience.