9 ways social media was used to unite Singaporeans this week

This is how social media should be used, Singapore. Lee Kuan Yew would be proud

On 23 March, Singapore learnt of Lee Kuan Yew’s passing. And every second, someone is using social media to spread the little moments that prove Singapore is stronger than ever in our unity.

From moments when people took to Facebook to express their condelences, to sharing vital information about the queue to pay their last respects during the lying in state at the Parliament, these are the ways that Singaporeans have rallied in the wake of his passing.

Opened doors

It all started when someone posted a photo of a florist at Raffles Place (Artisan de Fleurs) on Instagram. It was offering free flowers for people to take to Lee Kuan Yew’s wake, and soon started making its rounds on Facebook and Twitter.

And as the queue to the Parliament snaked past places like Fullerton Hotel and Clarke Quay, similar acts of kindness were shown as the management in those places set out water dispensers. Given how hot the weather was yesterday, thoughtful gestures like these made the waiting in line more tolerable. And if it wasn't for social media, these acts of kindness would have gone unnoticed. 

Queue time thread

By late afternoon, the line to get into the Parliament House was so long that no one even knew where it began. Thus local site SGAG jumped in to help alleviate the confusion. They started asking people to comment with their location in the queue and the time joined, so that people looking for the end of the line could go directly there instead.

Facebook page Remembering Lee Kuan Yew also has information on the express queue for the disabled, elderly, and pregnant.

Profile pictures on Facebook

Since Monday when Lee Kuan Yew’s passing was announced, Facebook users have been slowly replacing their own profile photos with what has become the official emblem.

And in a show of solidarity, companies in Singapore like MasterCard, Channel NewsAsia, and Xiaomi are also replacing their social media photos with black and white versions.

Twitter tributes

Of course, Twitter is key in the outpouring of grief which quickly turned into gratitude as #RIPLKY became the top trending hashtag on Monday. Users took to Twitter to pay tribute to the man who helped build Singapore up by sharing his photos and quotes, which were repeatedly retweeted and shared with everyone to celebrate his memory. It’s amazing how much can be expressed in just 140 characters.

Car decals

Word is spreading about a garage that’s creating and giving out free car decals in Lee Kuan Yew’s image. Visit their Facebook page to get information on the availability of these car decals. They’re also looking for volunteers to help create these decals as more than 1000 have been given out and they need to print more to meet demand.

Facebook tribute pages

Facebook pages like Remembering Lee Kuan Yew have sprung up to create a common space where users can get up to date information on the different ways to pay tribute all over the island, and also share all things Lee Kuan Yew.

When the livestream of the moving of Lee Kuan Yew’s body from the Istana to the Parliament House wasn’t the smoothest, Facebook came to the rescue with people posting and sharing clips afterwards.

Black Sunday

And as we draw closer to the day of the state funeral, there’s a new social media movement making its rounds to urge Singaporeans to wear black on Sunday as a mark of respect. It isn’t clear how and where it originated from, but one thing’s for sure, it’s fast gaining traction.

Sharing is caring

We’ve learnt so much about Lee Kuan Yew in these few days than we’ve ever had before. Little details that give us greater insight into the man’s private life show a leader that’s devoted to this country beyond what we could have possibly imagined. Thanks to Education Minister Heng Swee Keat’s story about the red box that Lee Kuan Yew used for work, we now know that he worked all the way till the day before he was hospitalised for the last time.

You’re not alone

Sites and social media have started sharing photos of mourners grieving. As heartbreaking as they were, these photos also played a key part in showing every individual that they’re not alone in this sadness.

As you grieve, you can also find solace in the fact that an entire nation grieves along with you.