It all started with all the “ground-up” initiatives to commemorate the first anniversary of the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Then the 11 pages of hagiography in ST. Then a post FB by Dr Lee Wei Ling, Mr Lee’s daughter. That sparked a war of words between Dr Lee and Straits times that eventually prompted Dr Lee to go full nuclear with this:
Before this was posted on Dr Lee’s Facebook (which was later taken down), most people would have thought that this disagreement was between ST and Dr Lee. But this part: “I and HL are at odds on a matter of principle. HL has no qualms abusing his power to hv a commemoration just one year after LKY died, “least we forget”… But if the power that be wants to establish a dynasty, LKY’s daughter will not allow LKY’s name to be sullied by a dishonorable son.”
Such strong words. Some people are calling this political fratricide. Devadas Krishnadas said this on a post on his Facebook: “Singaporeans and foreign observers alike must be wondering just what is going on. Disciplined Singapore seems to be revealing internal contradictions at its very core – the Lee family.”
That, is of course, rubbish.
Yes, Dr Lee Wei Ling is an established neurosurgeon. Yes, there may be a small group of people following her column. But she has no political clout. Yes, Dr Lee’s brother is the current PM. BUT. The Lee family is by no means at the core of Singapore. If it was, then Dr Lee’s statement that “the power that be wants to establish a dynasty” would be valid. No. I don’t think it is. I think the FamiLEE is just another family.
Yes, it’s a high profile family. Even the foreign media has picked up on this incident. But that family is by no means at the core of Singapore. So Dr Lee’s comment, no matter how harsh, shouldn’t be given more weight than just that of a sister who disagree with her brother.
Which is what PM Lee did. His response was very measured.
Some have wondered out loud (very loudly) that if Dr Lee wasn’t PM’s sister, would PM had sued her. That’s an interesting question. In the past, whenever anyone had alleged any abuse of power for personal gain by PAP politicians, that person would usually find himself losing a defamation suit.
But, at least for now, it seems that PM isn’t going to take any legal actions. No lawyer letter demanding Dr Lee to publicly apologise. Why the inconsistency this time round? I’m sure Roy Ngerng would love to know.
I think PM’s response could well have ended this entire spat. If not for what his wife did. Mdm Ho posted this on her Facebook page:
Personally, I find this post puerile. And it’s not constructive. I’m sure PM wants this spat to die down as quickly as possible. But this post would only serve to add fuel to the fire. Did Mdm Ho think she was being funny? If so, her sense of humour is quite warped and unbecoming of a wife of our PM. Or perhaps she was so pissed off that she felt that she had to post this picture? If so, why?
Perhaps to examine this, we should go back to what made Dr Lee claim that her brother wanted to establish a dynasty. Was that claim based on something that we don’t know? Perhaps one of her nephews have started showing political ambitions? And of LKY’s grandkids, the ones who would most likely have political ambitions would be the sons of Mdm Ho. So perhaps that’s why Mdm Ho felt that Dr Lee’s comments were also directed against her sons. Maybe that’s why, as a mother, she felt so pissed off. Enough to post that stupid picture.
So. Will Dr Lee respond? Will there be a lawyer’s letter flying her way? How will this spat finally end? Time to make more popcorn? Who knows?
[Featured image: Dr Lee Wei Ling with her father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and her siblings PM Lee Hsien Loong and Mr Lee Hsien Yang at the funeral of Mrs Lee Kuan Yew in 2010. Image from ST]