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Singapore’s founding father, the First Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, had passed away in the wee hours of 23 March 2015. His demise has sparked off a series of movements, tributes and recollections on social media— with many wanting to share their memories and times spent with the great man. This tribute piece serves as a reflection of how he continues to greatly influence many lives even after his passing.
The passing of LKY: First 12-hour on social media
- 00:00: News channels continued to report on Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s (LKY) health, and the situation outside Singapore General Hospital (SGH). Most netizens expressed their support for LKY and gratitude towards LKY’s contributions in building Singapore, with hope that he would recover soon.
- 03:00 – 04:00: Statement released by PMO on the passing of LKY was reposted and discussed on alternative sites, followed by the news on 7 days of national mourning declaration.
- 04:00 – 06:00 Traction continued to climb and peaked at 06:00 with ~70% buzz dominated by SNS, followed by Twitter (~30% of the total buzz).
- 06:00 – 08:00: Traction sustained as news updates on paying tribute to LKY were reported following a video of PM Lee Hsien Loong addressing the nation on LKY’s passing. Netizens expressed condolences towards PM Lee and his family while others were deeply moved by PM Lee’s speech.
How are people paying tribute online?
179,037 buzz observed as of 29 March, 9am. News on the passing of LKY sparked the highest buzz peak of 65,140, accounting for ~36% of the week’s buzz. Most expressed grief and appreciation for LKY, and wished him well to rest in peace. Sustained average daily buzz of 21,541 was also observed from 24 – 28 March, with netizens continuing to express their condolences, appreciation messages, and mentions of visiting the Parliament House to pay their respects.
Most buzz was observed on Twitter, generating over 50% of total buzz. Much retweets on news articles and foreign dignitaries expressing their condolences also contributed to buzz. On Facebook, most comments were triggered from various mainstream news, Ministers, and other Government-related Facebook Pages.
Channel News Asia Singapore FB emerged as the top Facebook page with 11014 buzz, dominated 20% of the total buzz across all Facebook pages. 2 out of the top 5 sites were the Facebook pages of mainstream news outlets with posts on the announcement of the passing of LKY (23 Mar) and videos on the funeral procession (25 Mar) garnering high traction. 2 official Government Facebook Pages also emerged among the top 5 channels for Facebook.
Netizens used these Facebook pages as channels to pen down their tribute to LKY with most thanking him for the contributions he has made to Singapore, labelling him as the “greatest leader”, “a legacy” and an “honourable man”.
Rai Chu: “This day is the saddest day in Singapore history. My heart is heavy. We have lost a great man. An altruistic leader. A man with vision and burdened with a mission. We will never have another Lee Kuan Yew again. May we pass down his legacy by remembering our pledge.”
Others expressed their sense of pride as a Singaporean and a sense of nationalism was observed in the tribute penned by netizens.
Sherley Servos “[…] We were so blessed to have a leader of your class. I really cannot find another world leader whom I respect more than Lee Kuan Yew. You were truly the best! I believe that it is because of your unwavering belief in meritocracy that I, a minority in both race and religion (Malayalee, Catholic), have never felt like a minority where it mattered. I'm proud of my status as a Singaporean, born and bred here”.
Deep condolences and best regards were also expressed towards PM Lee Hsien Loong and his family for the loss of a family member.
Shahidah Hananey “Our sincerest and deepest condolences to the family of Mr Lee Hsien Loong on the demise of his beloved father”.
Upon the first tweet posted by PM Lee Hsien Loong announcing the passing of LKY (refer to image on the right), close to 94,000 public tweets were posted as last observed on 29 March, 9am. Netizens mostly circulated tweets of LKY’s quotes; accounts of how LKY will be remembered; commending LKY as not only a great leader but also a loving father and husband. Visuals were also circulated on Twitter such as those created by individuals in paying tribute to LKY and photos of LKY. Others shared links of articles featuring LKY’s stories, opinion pieces and tribute articles.
Within the next 7 days following the announcement of the passing of LKY, a total of 23,021 Instagram posts in paying tribute to LKY were posted. Amongst the first few posts were art work done by individual in expressing their gratitude towards LKY.
Some of the first Instagram posts published upon announcement of the passing of LKY (03:18 – 04:00)
Top 5 # trending:
(As of 29 March, Sunday 9am)
Wear Black Sunday
24 March – A message was circulated initially on Whatsapp, called on people to put on black top on Sunday, 29 March as a way of paying tribute to LKY on the final day of mourning. This message was spread onto the social media space. Instagram was the first social media platform observed trending #wearblack, with the first public post published at 13:31 on 24 March of the print-screen of the message.
Some of the other initial posts that appeared on social media were tweets (#wearblack, #blacktopsunday) spreading the message in calling for the public to wear black top on Sunday. In the next hour, images of “Black Sunday: Pay your tribute. Wear black” with the silhouette of LKY were created and circulated on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
(As of 29 March, Sunday 9am)
50 most engaged* Instagram posts
The highest engaged Instagram post by blogger Xiaxue garnered 45428 likes + 330 comments.
(*based on highest numbers of likes + comments as of 29 March, Sunday 9am)