Condolences have been pouring forth online after wife of late President Wee Kim Wee, Koh Sok Hiong, passed away yesterday. She had just turned 102 a day before her passing.
Mrs Wee’s daughter, Ms Wee Eng Hwa, told reporters that her mother – who suffered a stroke in 2015 – experienced breathing difficulties on Friday and passed away after her condition worsened on Saturday and doctors at Changi General Hospital could not resuscitate her last night.
Mrs Wee is survived by six children, 13 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.
Mrs Wee’s late husband greatly depended on her and described her as his “soulmate”. During their 60th wedding anniversary, he said: “She has been wife, mother, cook, tailor, washerwoman, doctor and barber of the family all rolled into one and put in almost 14 to 16 hours daily, seven days a week, 365 days a year…Fortunately, for me, there was then no NTUC or trade union to haul me up as a tyrannical exploiter.”
In his memoirs, Dr Wee dedicated an essay entitled “Till Death Do Us Part” to his wife and wrote: “Those who are going to make marriage vows – no matter what form they take – should think seriously about what they mean. Vows are made to be kept and one’s word is one’s bond.”
Thousands of Singaporeans have expressed their condolences since last night.
Singapore’s current President Halimah Yacob was one prominent figure who paid tribute to Mrs Wee on social media. Calling Mrs Wee “an unsung heroine in Singapore’s history,” President Halimah said, “Throughout their 69 years of marriage, Mrs Wee always stood by and supported Dr Wee. Their love story will remain an inspiration to many.”