PETALING JAYA: My words may be limited but my tears aren’t.
Being a part of Karpal Singh’s magnificent send off meant a lot to me personally. Especially so, when I saw close to 15,000 people gathered to pay their respects in Penang on Sunday, I realised what an important role he played in the lives of many.
On Friday, when my boss approached me to cover Karpal’s funeral, I said yes without a moment’s hesitation.
I tried to mentally prepare myself while all the travel arrangements were being made for my colleague and I.
However, despite all the mental preparation, I found it hard to not to cry when I saw the countless people throng Karpal’s home home in Penang on Saturday. From elderly friends and relatives who had watched him grow, to children, his Jalan Utama home was packed with people offering prayers and last respects.
I realised then that these people loved and respected him not because he was a politician, but because he was a man who had served.
As I stood in line, along with the countless others, to pay my final respects, I was greeted by messages scribbled on boards, old newspaper articles and the most amazing picture montage of the “Tiger of Jelutong”.
It was hard to hold back the tears taking it all in, especially when I sat down to talk with Karpal’s second son, Gobind Singh Deo, and heard what a great of father and grandfather Karpal was.
Sunday, the day of the funeral, was an even more overwhelming experience.
The hall in Dewan Sri Pinang, where Karpal was given a funeral with state honours, was packed to the brim with mourners.
Roads to and from the hall were at a standstill and when the funeral procession moved from Dewan Sri Pinang to the crematorium, I witnessed countless people getting out of their cars to wave.
At the Bukit Gantung crematorium, the deafening chants of “Karpal Singh! Karpal Singh!” made it once again easy to see just what he had meant to so many and why Karpal will remain a hero not just to his family, but to many Malaysians.
Words alone can never express what being presented the opportunity to cover the Tiger of Jelutong’s final journey meant to me but from the outpouring of grief I saw, I believe Karpal Singh’s legacy will live on.