Singapore’s very first First Lady, President Yusof Ishak’s wife, earns praise as she pays her respects to the late Mrs Wee Kim Wee

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Photo: Timothy De Souza

Singapore’s very first First Lady, President Yusof Ishak’s wife Puan Noor Aishah, earned praise as she stepped out of her home yesterday to pay respects to the late Mrs Wee Kim Wee – the wife of Singapore’s fourth President, Dr Wee Kim Wee.

Mrs Wee had passed away on Saturday, a day after she turned 102 years old. The late First Lady is survived by six children, 13 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.

Photos of Puan Noor Aishah stepping into a taxi to attend Mrs Wee’s wake yesterday have been trending online, with many netizens praising her for her humbleness:

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has paid tribute to Mrs Lee. In a letter to Mrs Wee’s daughter Ms Wee Eng Hwa yesterday, PM Lee wrote:

“She married Dr Wee Kim Wee, one of our most beloved presidents, and stood by him for nearly 70 years, bringing up the family and helping with his duties with unfailing good grace.
“Like her husband, she took her public role seriously and discharged it with warmth, grace and cheerfulness. She was kind and gentle to all those she met, and showed deep care and concern for others, especially those less privileged in life.
“She had a genuine love for people, and contributed to the prestige and respectability of the Presidency.”

He added in a subsequent Facebook post: “She lived a long life full of meaning, warmth and generosity. My deepest condolences to Mrs Wee’s children on the loss of their remarkable mother.”

Deeply saddened to learn of Mrs Wee Kim Wee’s passing on Saturday, days after celebrating her 102nd birthday. She lived…

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Monday, 9 July 2018

 

Singapore’s current President Halimah Yacob expressed her condolences earlier over the weekend. 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.”

My husband and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mrs Wee Kim Wee. Mrs Wee was an unsung heroine in…

Posted by Halimah Yacob on Saturday, 7 July 2018

 

The late Dr Wee Kim Wee greatly depended on his wife 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.”

Condolences pour forth as Mrs Wee Kim Wee, former first lady, dies a day after turning 102