Wednesday, 19 February 2014

PM Lee In The Limelight

Update 5 May 2014: S'pore belongs to all those living here: PM Loong

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the city state belongs to all those living here that includes permanent residents and employment pass holders and was a special place to celebrate annual festivities amidst diverse groups.


Addressing a community celebration of the Indian New Year last night, Lee said:

"Singaporeans, new arrivals, people who are on permanent residence here, people who are on employment pass here, all participating in one big Singapore family... So that we feel that this is a place which is special, which belongs to all of us and where we all celebrate one another's festivals and happy events together." 
Dressed in red Kurta, Lee joined 600 residents at a community club of his constituency, tried his hand at a Thanjavur painting which was on cultural display and watched performances by classical Indian dancers.

related:

PM Lee publicly declares Spore belongs to all foreigners working & staying here
Petition calling PM Lee to resign from Office launched

read more


Singapore PM draws laughs in US speech
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gestures during his meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April, 2, 2013.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gestures during his meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April, 2, 2013

Singapore is well-known for its efficiency and order, but during a visit to Washington the city-state's prime minister displayed a less advertised attribute — humor.

In an after-dinner speech Tuesday to U.S. businessmen, Lee Hsien Loong made a couple of jokes that could pass for stand-up comedy. He drew laughs — and some groans — with his quips, including one about China's environmental problems:
  • "Beijing residents joke that to get a free smoke all they have to do is open their windows!" Lee said.
  • "(In) Shanghai, if you want some pork soup, you just turn on the tap," he said.
His audience appeared doubtful if that was good taste, until he added, "That's their joke, not mine!"

read more

related:
Singapore PM Lee cracks jokes at China's expense, risks hurt feelings
PM Lee: Poor sense of humour
Singapore PM draws laughs in US speech
No Laughing Matter
PM Lee humors his American audience about China during an after-dinner speech
Singapore's Prime Minister is funny
Singapore PM draws laughs in US speech
PM Lee joking about pork soup

Singapore must ‘steal other people’s lunches’ to stay ahead of competition

Amid growing competition, & workers hungry to learn in places like Chengdu & even further away such as Russia, Singapore must not only protect its lunch but steal other people’s lunches, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has urged.

In this regard, youths in Singapore must especially be on their toes, he said in a discussion with union leaders about the future of jobs in Singapore held recently at Mediacorp.

For example, even as Singapore’s port industry has bounced back from tough times in recent years & is looking for ways to ramp up productivity & stay ahead, it must keep an eye out for new competitors like Malaysia’s Port of Tanjung Pelepas & Port Klang.

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PM LEE 8 YRS AGO: PAP MAKES LIFE BETTER FOR ALL SINGAPOREANS

At the PAP rally on 8 Dec last Sunday, LHL was in a desperate and panicky state. He talks about the opposition “checking” on them. He mentioned the word ‘checkmate’, clearly indicating that he is clueless about the notion of modern democracy. So, how is he going to appease the citizens?


Well, if you read his speech carefully, you could really feel the desperation. Phrases like ‘If the PAP fails, Singapore is in deep trouble. We shall not fail’, ‘We don’t make empty promises’ and so on, certainly reflect his desperation.


Worse, for the first time, the PAP openly mentions about the possibility that it may not be able to form the govt (see TRE article – ‘First time PAP admits may not be able to form govt‘). Why? just to scare us to continue to vote for him and his party?


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PM Lee comes under fire for controversial remarks


After creating controversy last month by describing some Singaporeans as “a disgrace to Singapore” for threatening the organisers of a Philippines Independence Day celebration, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has once again caused blood pressure to rise among some citizens.

At a grassroots event in Ang Mo Kio on Sunday to celebrate the Indian New Year, Mr Lee was reported to have said that “the event was an embodiment of the theme as well as on a larger scale where everyone participates as one big Singapore family” and that Singapore was a place “where we all celebrate one another’s festivals and happy events together.”


He added that “Singapore belongs to all of us”, which he said included “Singaporeans, new arrivals, people who are on permanent residence here, people who are on employment pass here.”


related:

PM Lee needs to clarify his statement that Singapore belongs to everyone

Singapore PM defends Filipinos from 'harassment'
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong took to Facebook Saturday to urge respect for a planned Philippine Independence Day celebration in the city-state

“I was appalled to read about those who harassed the organizers of the Philippine Independence Day celebrations, and spammed their Facebook page,” Lee said.

“They are a disgrace to Singapore,” he added in his Facebook post.

Lee was referring to reports by The Straits Times that Filipino organizers of the June 12 celebration had to take down a Facebook post following flak from Singaporeans.


PAP considering possibility of forming coalition govt one day: PM Lee


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singaporeans generally feel more secure these days, but one of the government's tasks is to remind them that this is a result of a continuing act of will, and an appropriate sense of insecurity is very helpful.

In an interview with The Financial Times, Mr Lee was asked by the publication's chief foreign affairs columnist Gideon Rachman, if Singaporeans still need to feel insecure, after having come a long way since its independence in 1965.

"You don't have to be paranoid but you do have to take risks very seriously," said Mr Lee.

PM Lee's interview with the Financial Times

The Financial Times report then goes on to suggest that Mr Lee "hints that the PAP is beginning to consider the possibility of one day forming a coalition government".

The British newspaper quotes Mr Lee saying: "It may not be one team in, one team out, it may be more complicated - you're getting used to more complicated than that in Britain now."

Based on this portion of the FT report, an earlier version of the Channel NewsAsia report was headlined "PAP considering possibility of forming coalition government one day: PM Lee."

Coalition govt not on my mind: PM Lee
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has clarified that the possibility of Singapore having a coalition government was not what he had in mind when he was interviewed by the Financial Times

What he meant was that there could be a day where the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) is no longer dominant, but to think that therefore instead of that, Singapore will have a "stable two party system is naive", he wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday.

In the FT interview published on Saturday, which has been widely shared online, FT chief foreign affairs columnist Gideon Rachman wrote that "PM Lee hints that the PAP is beginning to consider the possibility of one day forming a coalition government".

He then quotes PM Lee as saying: "It may not be one team in, one team out, it may be more complicated - you're getting used to more complicated than that in Britain now."



Deconstructing PM’s denial

In fact, after FT published their report, Singapore mainstream media the Straits Times (ST) and Channel NewsAsia (CNA) did the same. Although the interview covered numerous issues, ST homed in on PM Lee’s apparent admission that “the PAP is beginning to consider the possibility of forming a coalition government one day”. The ST article was published online (12 Apr) the day following the FT article and carried the title, “Coalition government possible in future, says PM Lee”.

However, that ST article has since been removed. Fortunately, TRE has found a copy of the deleted article on Google’s cache [Link]

Like ST, CNA zoomed in on PM Lee’s apparent admission in an article on Saturday [Link]. The article at first had the headline, “PAP considering possibility of forming coalition government one day: PM Lee“, but the headline was subsequently changed to “PM Lee discusses S’pore politics, nanny state label in FT interview“.


PM hints of coalition politics

It was a very direct question loaded with possibilities, something no Singapore journalist would ask of his/her PM.


With the results of the 2011 election as a backdrop, Financial Times journalist Gideon Rachman asked: So can you envisage a day when the  PAP is not running Singapore? The PM threw a bombshell of sorts. “It could well happen. I don’t know how it will work but it could happen.”


The report went on to say: “A little later, he hints that the PAP is beginning to consider the possibility  one day of forming a coalition government.” It then quoted the PM as saying “it may not be one team in, one team out, it may be more complicated – you are getting used to more complicated – you’re getting used to more complicated than that in Britain now.”


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WHEN WOULD IT BE NECESSARY TO FORM A COALITION GOVERNMENT?


Recently, an article published by the Financial Times (FT) quoted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as having said that the PAP is beginning to consider the possibility of one day forming a coalition government. (See here.) These remarks were supposedly made to a columnist over lunch at the Park Terrace of the Royal Garden Hotel in London.

This was picked up by both the Straits Times and Channel News Asia, which ran headlines stating “Coalition government possible in future, says PM Lee” and “PAP considering possibility of forming coalition government one day: PM Lee” respectively.

However, Mr Lee later clarified on Facebook that a coalition government for Singapore was “not on his mind“. He said that what he meant was that “I could imagine a situation one day where the PAP is not dominant, but that I had no idea how that would work, or whether it could be made to work at all“

Singapore not run by PAP one day? It could happen: PM Lee

Yahoo Newsroom - A Singaporean snaps a selfie with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the 2014 Singapore Day event in London. (Photo from PM Lee's Facebook Page)

It could well happen, hinted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a recent wide-ranging interview with the Financial Times that was published online on Friday.


“It may not be one team in, one team out, it may be more complicated — you’re getting used to more complicated than that in Britain now,” he said while sitting down to the one-hour lunch interview at the Royal Garden Hotel in London last month.


Noting that he isn’t sure how a two-party system will work, PM hinted that the ruling party which has been in power since 1959 is beginning to contemplate the possibility of someday forming a coalition government.


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PAP considering coalition gov’t? Far from it!


On 11 April, the Financial Times (FT) published a report of an interview it had with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. In that piece by Gideon Rachman, the paper said Mr Lee hinted that “the PAP is beginning to consider the possibility of one day forming a coalition government.”


That “hint” seems to be based on a remark made by Mr Lee in that same interview: “It may not be one team in, one team out, it may be more complicated – you’re getting used to more complicated than that in Britain now,” Mr Lee was reported as having said. [Read the interview here.]


The local broadsheet, Straits Times, picked up the story and had this as its headline in its report of Mr Lee’s comments:


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PM: Naive to think SG will have stable 2-party system
In an interview with the storied Financial Times (FT) during his recent trip to London, PM Lee was asked if he could envisage a day when the PAP is not running Singapore

Mr Lee replied mildly, “It could well happen. I don’t know how it will work but it could happen.”

He then hinted that the PAP is beginning to consider the possibility of forming a coalition government one day. Mr Lee said, “It may not be one team in, one team out, it may be more complicated – you’re (i.e. the British) getting used to more complicated than that in Britain now.”

This is how the Financial Times reported it (11 Apr) [Link]:


When would it be necessary to form a coalition government?

A coalition government is formed in many western democracies when no single party is strong enough to command a decisive majority. This sometimes results in political gridlock and a hung Parliament. Coalition governments are also more unstable and short-lived, and prone to internal conflicts and rivalries. This can have a lasting negative effect on national level policy making and long term planning.

But beware, for the PAP may attempt to build a coalition government if the opposition gain enough seats to prevent the PAP from having an outright majority of Parliamentary seats. To prevent the opposition from completely overtaking and overhauling national policy, and exposing the rot that has accumulated beneath the surface over the past 5 decades of uninterrupted PAP rule, the PAP would have prepared for this outcome well in advance.

The PAP may try to initiate informal dialogue and communication with the opposition when it sees the opposition rapidly gaining more seats, in order to convince the opposition to approach fundamental national policy issues in the PAP way. The PAP may also try to co-opt opposition leaders and members as friendlies so that if a coalition government were to be formed one day, the PAP would not be dealing with political adversaries, but political allies.


Lunch with the FT: Lee Hsien Loong

As the Singaporean prime minister settles into his seat for lunch, I am fussing with my tape machines – two of them, just in case one fails. Lee Hsien Loong smiles faintly and says: “The NSA will give you a copy.”


It is an unexpectedly subversive remark from a man I had expected to be the epitome of earnestness. The prime minister has a reputation as a cerebral technocrat, without a frivolous bone in his body. He even looks austere – tall, slim, grey hair and dressed in a dark suit and tie. So the biggest surprise, during our lunch, is how often Lee laughs.


Over the course of the next hour, a variety of grim subjects provokes an incongruous chuckle or a broad smile – the Japanese occupation of Singapore in the second world war, the west’s mishandling of the revolution in Ukraine, China’s fear of separatist movements and the bankruptcy of Iceland. It is not, I conclude, that the Singaporean prime minister is a callous man. It is just that his way of taking the edge off the most difficult topics is to laugh while discussing them.


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11 candid quotes from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s Lunch with the Financial Times interview

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong provided unusually candid answers in response to questions posed during the Lunch with the The Financial Times interview published on April 11, 2014

The interview was conducted during PM Lee’s trip to London last month. He was interviewed by Gideon Rachman, the publication’s chief foreign affairs columnist


Besides his frank replies, what was insightful about the interview was that Rachman noted how PM Lee barely touched his food, which consisted of halibut and pistachio crème brûlée.


Such a typical Chinese man who doesn’t fancy non-Chinese food.


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Food For Thought


The FT Rachman, obviously distracted by the delicious piece of grilled halibut and prime minister's pistachio crème brûlée - both largely untouched, it was noted - made an ill attempt at humour when he asked Lee if he always knew he would go into the family business, into politics.


When the guy who told pork chop soup on tap and free smoke at open windows jokes failed to respond in like vein, Rachman was rudely reminded that the PM has successfully extracted apologies and damages from media organisations, including the FT, for suggesting the Lee family has benefited from nepotism.


The Sunday Times printed in full the interview by Financial Times's chief foreign affairs columnist, Gideon Rachman. Except the menu for lunch at the Park Terrace of the Royal Garden Hotel in London, with prices indicated. Maybe they wanted to steer clear of Baey Yam Keng's gaffe with the $2.50 nasi padang meal plus bandung drink and Teo Chee Hean's $1.80 chicken rice.


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Succession planning for S'pore leadership under way: PM

PM Lee (second from left) meeting editors of the Asia News Network at the Istana on Tuesday for an hour-long dialogue which was moderated by Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez (third from left). -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Succession planning for Singapore's top political leadership is well under way, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.


Mr Lee, who is 62 this year, said he is making sure a new team, with new leaders capable of taking charge of the country, is ready.


His goal is to ensure the country continues to thrive after he is no longer the prime minister, he said at a dialogue with regional media editors at the Istana.


related: Succession planning for S'pore leadership under way: PM

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Asia News Network's dialogue with PM Lee


ASIA would benefit from strongly supported leaders in China, Indonesia and India, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a discussion with Asian editors as elections get under way in the latter two countries which are also two of Asia's largest democracies.


A strong mandate will make it easier for businesses and regional affairs to be managed in a cooperative way.


"I think it's good for Asia if the countries have capable, responsible and strongly supported leaders," he said. "Then you can do business, then you can manage regional affairs collectively and in a cooperative way."


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Singapore’s Lee Hsien Loong answers question on possibility of a third PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says Singapore might have another PM Lee, but he doesn’t think “it goes in the family”.


Lee, who has been Singapore’s prime minister since 2004 and is the eldest son of the city-state’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, was asked in an interview whether Singapore could see a third PM Lee.


“It could be. There are many Lees in the world. I think we are the most common surname among the Chinese. But I don't think that it goes in the family,” he replied to Hu Shuli, the editor-in-chief of Caixin Media, a Chinese news publisher.


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Hsien Loong fields question of possibility of third PM Lee



Singapore could have a third Prime Minister Lee as it is a common Chinese surname, but Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong does not think "it goes in the family".

In an interview with Chinese magazine New Century, published by Caixin, Mr Lee was asked if there could be a third PM Lee in Singapore.


He replied: "It could be. There are many Lees in the world. I think we are the most common surname among the Chinese. But I don't think that it goes in the family."


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Singapore has to manage inflow of foreign workers: PM Lee

PM Lee Hsien Loong has said that Singapore will have to manage the inflow of foreign workers to ease the strain on infrastructure

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that Singapore will have to manage the inflow of foreign workers to ease the strain on infrastructure even though the country's SMEs faces manpower shortage.

"We have to manage the inflow, we have to manage what we can accommodate in Singapore," Lee told some 400 delegates at Malay Muslim SME conference yesterday.

Singapore has been tightening the inflow of foreign workers in the past few years to help ease the strain on infrastructure, according to a report in The Straits Times today.


related:

PM Lee urges SMEs to consider Iskandar for expansion
Singapore to tighten inflow of foreign workers

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S'pore has to balance competitiveness and caring for needy: PM Lee


SINGAPORE 17 Feb 2014 18:36: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore has to strike a balance between maintaining its competitiveness and caring about the less well-off as it strives to reduce the income gap.


He made the comment in an interview with China's New Century -- a magazine by Beijing-based media group Caixin -- which was published on Monday.


Mr Lee said there is a need to keep a balance between the yin, which he described as caring for one another, and the yang, which is the "competitive element that drives the society forward".


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PM Lee: Singapore needs to balance ‘yin’ & ‘yang’


During an interview with New Century, a magazine published by Beijing-based media group Caixin, PM Lee said that Singapore needs to keep a balance between the yin, which he described as caring for one another, and the yang, which is the competitive element that drives society forward.


His interview was published today (17 Feb). He said that Singapore will have to balance between maintaining its competitiveness and caring about the less well-off as it strives to reduce the income gap.


“If you go too much towards competitiveness, you lose that cohesion and sense of being Singaporeans together,” Mr Lee said. “If we go… the other way and say, well, we don’t compete… I think we will all be losers.”


related:

PM wants freer flow of capital & talent by 2015
PM: SGs understand responsibility to defend country

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PM Lee’s interview with Caixin (财新 新世纪)


Mr Lee drew a contrast between China, which moved from being an iron rice bowl system to a very competitive one, and Singapore.


Singapore has operated a competitive system with "targeted significant social safeguards" on public housing, health care and education, he noted, but it has begun tilting towards social spending.


"That means to give greater help to the low-income groups so that they can increase their earnings and their assets; to keep our society more open so that people who have talent can move up and will not be daunted by the gaps in incomes between the rich and poor," he said.


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S'pore must stay strong and special to maintain place in the sun: PM Lee



Singapore must remain a "shining red dot" - small, but a capable and serious country - to maintain its place in the sun, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday.

Because the country is strong and special, it is successful and respected in the world, able to stand tall and hold its own besides much bigger nations, he added at a Chinese New Year dinner in his Teck Ghee ward.


"If we are small and unsuccessful, small and weak, I think people may be polite with you, people may say the right thing to you. But you can be sure people will also be able to take advantage (of) you," he added.


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Singapore has come a long way with strong Total Defence: PM Lee



With strong Total Defence, Singapore has come a long way since 1965, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a Facebook post on Saturday.

He also posted a picture of MacDonald House, flying the Singapore flag. "Today is Total Defence Day. This is MacDonald House today, flying the Singapore flag, against our beautiful city skyline. With strong Total Defence, we have come a long way since 1965," he wrote.


MacDonald House was in the news recently after Indonesia named a Navy ship after marines Osman Mohamed Ali and Harun Said who set off a bomb at the building on March 10, 1965, killing three people and injuring 33. The naming of the ship had sparked a diplomatic row between the two countries.


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PM LEE BELIEVES SINGAPOREANS UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF TOTAL DEFENCE



Yesterday was total defence day and PM Lee made a speech at a dinner in the Tech Ghee ward explaining that Singaporeans still understand the importance of defence.

PM Lee said that we have been able to enjoy 50 years of peace and progress so far and most Singaporeans, especially the older generation who lived through WWII, support and understand the importance of NS and total defence.


Even though Singapore is small, we can still hold our own against other, bigger countries, PM Lee boasted.


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Singapore PM Lee "unfriends" Yudhoyono? Indonesian media duped by spoof

Indonesian afternoon paper Harian Terbit on Feb 12, 2014 carries a front page report on Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's "broken friendship". -- ST PHOTO: ZAKIR HUSSAIN

When a satirical website weighs in on a serious bilateral dispute with the potential to escalate, expect some to fall for it.


Several Indonesian media outlets, under pressure from a 24/7 news cycle, ran a spoof by Singapore's NewNation.sg headlined: "PM Lee unfriends Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Facebook, untags him from photos".


And at least one afternoon daily, Harian Terbit, ran a page one article on Wednesday on the supposed virtual rift, headlined: "Singapore PM-SBY cut off friendship", with a prominent Facebook logo between pictures of the two leaders.


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Indonesian media falls for spoof on PM Lee

Indonesian media outlet Tribun News on Tuesday reported that Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong removed Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono from friends list on Facebook (Photo: Screen grab from tribunnews.com) 13 February 2014

Indonesian media outlets fell for a satirical article from the New Nation website which “reported” that Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had “unfriended” Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Facebook and “untagged” pictures of himself and the president.


Indonesian media outlet Tribun News, with more than one million "likes" on its Facebook page, ran a report on the incident with the headline: “Singapore Prime Minister removes SBY (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono) from friends list on Facebook” on 11 February 2014.


The next day, Harian Terbit, an afternoon newspaper in Indonesia, carried a report on the “broken friendship” between the two on the front page of its newspaper, The Straits Times reported.


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PM LEE: WE SHOULD HAVE MORE FREE MOVEMENT OF CAPITAL AND LABOUR IN ASEAN


He said that he wants to see more free movement of capital and labour among the ASEAN region.

What is worrying is that this may mean more foreigners from the regional area wanting to come and work in Singapore.

The current goal is to achieve more economic integration by 2015. If this could be achieved, PM Lee said that it would be a significant step forward for the region.

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Lee Hsien Loong on What Singapore Can and Can't Teach China


(Singapore) – As one of the Four Asian Tigers, Singapore is known for its strong economy and orderly society. The city-state, with its population of 5.3 million people, is listed by the World Bank as No. 4 in the world in terms of per capita income. As a regional business hub, it is lauded for its sound business reputation and the transparency of its government.

Singapore has also been something of an example for China over the past three decades. A visit by Deng Xiaoping in 1978 provided inspiration for China's reform and opening up.

Meanwhile, many Chinese officials have studied Singapore's style of governance. Over the past 30 some years, more than 10,000 Chinese officials have visited Singapore for governance training. What they witnessed is a democracy combined with one-party rule and elitism. They have also seen an open economy that is accompanied by strong state-controlled investment vehicles.


Lee Hsien Loong: The Politics of Doing Business

(Singapore) – Singapore plays the role of balancing power in Southeast Asia, where China and the United States compete for influence. Its diplomatic relationship with Beijing is mature, but it is also an important ally of Washington.


Meanwhile, as one of the four countries that initiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Singapore is an active promoter of free trade and integration of the Asia-Pacific region. The TPP has 12 members, including Singapore, New Zealand, the United States, Australia and Japan. These countries are responsible for 40 percent of global economic value and one-third of trade value.


How does Singapore view the agreement's impact on trade and economic patterns in the Asian-Pacific region? In an exclusive interview with Caixin, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the TPP is a significant step toward the ideal of making the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation grouping a free-trade region.


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Singaporeans need to be united and cohesive, says PM Lee


SINGAPORE 28 Jan 2014: Singaporeans need to be united and cohesive, with a common purpose and a common goal to make Singapore better, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said this at the NTU Students' Union Ministerial Forum on Tuesday evening.


Mr Lee said that as Singapore turns 50, it is time to take stock of what we have achieved, honour those who have made it happen and also ask ourselves what the next 50 years will bring.


In the next 50 years, Mr Lee highlighted several trends -- that Asia will play a much larger role in world affairs, technology will change in ways we cannot yet imagine, and the social impact of technology and globalisation will grow.


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Singapore PM says negotiators "very close to completing" TPP talks


SINGAPORE, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said the participants in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks are "very close to completing it," according to an interview published on Monday.


Lee told China's New Century magazine that the participant in the talks are trying very hard.


"We ought to be able to close this year, because if we don't close this year, there is not much time left on the American political calendar to get it through Congress and settle the matter," Lee was quoted as saying.


related: Singapore PM says TPP deal 'very close'


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Singapore PM Lee says secretive TPP pact is "very close to completion"

Sky News, 18 Feb 2014
Negotiators are 'very close' to completing a US-led Pacific trade pact this year, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says ahead of a crucial meeting in the city-state this weekend.

Trade ministers from 12 countries will meet from Saturday to Tuesday in a bid to iron out kinks in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) after negotiators failed to meet a self-imposed deadline to strike a deal by the end of last year.


'I think we are very close to completing it,' Lee Hsien Loong said in an interview with Chinese media group Caixin. Full story


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Singapore PM hits back at social media "pack behaviour"

 Internet rules are necessary to restrain "pack behaviour" in social media and ensure civility between users, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in remarks released Wednesday.

Speaking at a university forum late Tuesday, Lee said social media raised the risk of an overreaction from the public when contentious incidents occur in the ethnically diverse city-state, with "unrestrained, anonymous viciousness".


Lee, who has nearly 260,000 Facebook followers, referred to several local incidents that have sparked off unbridled web outrage, including derogatory comments against Singaporeans posted on social media by British expatriate Anton Casey last week.


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S'pore PM Lee says Government must not lead popular opinion on LGBT rights

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has told a ministerial forum that it is not his government’s role to lead the people on LGBTI rights as new polling shows that 4 out of 5 Singaporeans still think gay relationships are almost always wrong 

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has told a ministerial forum with the students union of Nanyang Technological University that it is not up to his government to lead the Singaporean people into accepting LGBTI rights and that the people’s deeply held values must be respected.


Singapore’s Today newspaper live tweeted the Prime Minister’s speech, tweeting ‘On LGBT issues, PM Lee says not Gov's role to decide if society's deeply held social, moral values are right or wrong.’


Lee has been resistant to repealing his country’s colonial era anti-sodomy laws, even though his father, Singapore’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew has said he would like to see reform on the issue.


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Singapore to deepen bilateral ties with Malaysia, says Lee

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (left) takes a self-portrait with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on the sidelines of the the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka, November 15, 2013. He has welcomed the growing cooperation between Singapore and Malaysia, and looks forward to the further deepening of their bilateral ties. — Picture from Lee’s Twitter

SINGAPORE, Feb 6 — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has welcomed the growing cooperation between Singapore and Malaysia, and looks forward to the further deepening of their bilateral ties.


According to the republic’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he made the remark during his meeting with Malaysian Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who called on the prime minister today.


Ahmad Zahid is on a three-day introductory visit to Singapore, beginning yesterday, at the invitation of Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean.


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1,500 Singaporeans to be invited to Istana to honour pioneer generation: PM Lee

PM Lee Hsien Loong visiting the Alexandra Fire Station during the first day of the Lunar New Year today. Photo: Channel NewsAsia 31 JANUARY 2014

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said about 1,500 Singaporeans will be invited to the Istana on Feb 9 as the country honours its pioneer generation.

Speaking to reporters after his annual visit to essential services personnel during the first day of Chinese New Year today (Jan 31), Mr Lee said those invited to the function have made significant contributions to nation building.

They include former political leaders, community leaders, and also ordinary Singaporeans from different professions.

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Let’s stick together, PM Lee says
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Nanyang Technological University Ministerial Forum 2014. Photo: Ernest Chua 30 JANUARY

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has urged Singaporeans to “stick together as one family” to build a brighter future in wishing Singaporeans a happy Chinese New Year today (Jan 30).


In his 2014 Chinese New Year message released this morning — the full message is below — Mr Lee noted that Singaporeans live in peace and harmony because “we have strived to overcome differences in our ethnic or religious backgrounds, and expand the common space where we all interact comfortably”.


He urged Singaporeans to continue nurturing ties with fellow citizens of different races.


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450,000 seniors eligible for Pioneer Generation Package: PM Lee

Mr Lee said the package will focus on healthcare benefits as the subject is at the top of the minds of older Singaporeans. He said the package will give extra financial support in three important areas.

The premiums for MediShield Life will be lower than that of MediShield for the pioneer generation, and the sums are being worked out. For outpatient treatment, they will enjoy extra subsidies at polyclinics, specialist outpatient clinics and general practitioners (GPs) under the Community Health Assist Scheme. They will also get annual top-ups to their Medisave accounts, which can help pay for MediShield Life premiums.


These benefits will be provided for life, and those who are older will get more.


relatedLim Swee Say clarifies withdrawal of invitation to Tan Cheng Bock to attend CNY Garden Party


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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's Chinese New Year Message 2014

The Year of the Snake has been eventful. We made good progress, despite some difficult moments. I am confident that we will continue to move forward in the Year of the Horse. The global economy is looking up. At home we still need to improve public transport, but housing queues have shortened and low-wage workers like cleaners are getting more help. The festive mood is all around us. I visited Chinatown two weeks ago and was cheered to find the shops bustling with families shopping for Chinese New Year decorations and goodies.

IMPORTANCE OF FAMILIES - Chinese New Year is a time to strengthen our family bonds. Families are the foundation of a cohesive, harmonious society. Our families anchor our identity and sense of belonging. They inspire us to reach for the stars, and support us when we are down. Our extended families too provide a valuable network of kinship and mutual support. We are raised to respect our elders, and do our best for our children.


THE PIONEER GENERATION - As a society, we are making a special effort to take care of our elders. Many elders lead active and fulfilling lives. We are promoting healthy living and lifelong learning, and helping those who wish to work do so, so that more people can age happily. We are also addressing retirement and healthcare needs, by increasing medical subsidies, building more hospitals and nursing homes, and expanding home care services. Beyond infrastructure and financial help, we are creating a social environment where people can age with peace of mind, and be valued and respected for their contributions.


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PM Lee thanks Malay community leaders for attending tudung dialogue


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has written to thank the Malay-Muslim community leaders and representatives who attended a closed-door dialogue on the Muslim headscarf, or tudung, last month.

In a Facebook post on Monday night, he said that one of the oldest to attend was Ustaz Ibrahim Kassim, an 87-year-old religious leader who went despite not being well.


"Ustaz Ibrahim is a learned and respected religious leader. He teaches at mosques and Malay/Muslim organisations, counsels couples and prisoners, and is active in the Religious Rehabilitation Group. He is also a Hakam (arbitrator) at the Syariah Court," wrote the Prime Minister.


related: Tudung issue is about what sort of society S'pore wants to build: PM Lee

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PM Lee urges more babies in Year of the Horse

PM Lee urges more babies in Year of the Horse
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (third from right) at the River Hongbao 2014 opening night and light-up ceremony held at The Float @ Marina Bay on 29 January 2014 (Photo: River Hongbao Facebook page) 30 January 2014

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday urged young couples to get off to a "galloping start" in the Year of the Horse by having more babies to boost flagging birth rates.


In his Chinese New Year message, Lee said the wealthy city-state needed "enough children to form the next generation" amid concerns over the influx of immigrants.


"Unfortunately, despite our efforts to promote marriage and parenthood, our birth rates are still too low," Lee, a father of four, said. Lee said Singapore's current fertility rate is 1.19 babies per female, down from 1.29 in 2012.


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PM Lee hands out hongbao to 382 needy elderly residents in Teck Ghee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spread some Chinese New Year cheer on Sunday morning, handing out hongbao, which are red packets of cash, to 382 needy residents in Teck Ghee division in Ang Mo Kio.

Mr Lee is adviser to Teck Ghee's grassroots organisations and is also its Member of Parliament.


The residents, all of whom are aged above 50, each received $150 in cash, along with $50 worth of NTUC Fairprice supermarket vouchers, four bottles of chicken essence and two mandarin oranges.


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#9 - Lee Hsien Loong

The crime rate of foreign workers in Singapore is lower than that of Singapore Citizens and PRs" - Lee Hsien Loong, 11 Dec 2013, 3 days after foreign workers from India created the first riot in Singapore in more than 35 years


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Singapore PM draws laughs in US speech

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gestures during his meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April, 2, 2013

WASHINGTON — Singapore is well-known for its efficiency and order, but during a visit to Washington the city-state's prime minister displayed a less advertised attribute — humor.


In an after-dinner speech Tuesday to U.S. businessmen, Lee Hsien Loong made a couple of jokes that could pass for stand-up comedy.


He drew laughs — and some groans — with his quips, including one about China's environmental problems.


"Beijing residents joke that to get a free smoke all they have to do is open their windows!" Lee said.


related: Singapore PM draws laughs in US speech


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PM Lee tries to humor his American business audience with bad taste jokes about China during an after-dinner speech in US


Singapore is well-known for its efficiency and order, but on a visit to Washington the city state's prime minister displayed a less advertised attribute — humour.

In an after-dinner speech to U.S. businessmen, Lee Hsien Loong made a couple of jokes that could pass for stand-up comedy.

He drew laughs — and some groans — with his quips, including about China's environmental problems.

"Beijing residents joke that to get a free smoke all they have to do is open their windows!" Lee said.

He then alluded to thousands of pig carcasses recently fished from Chinese rivers.

"(In) Shanghai, if you want some pork soup, you just turn on the tap," he said.

His audience appeared doubtful if that was good taste, until he added: "That's their joke, not mine!" Full story

Related:
  1. Singapore PM draws laughs in US speech - myfoxphilly.com
  2. Singapore PM draws laughs in US speech - Boston Herald
  3. Spore PM tries his hand at after-dinner humor in Washington - Washington Post
  4. Groans greet Singapore PM’s sharing of jokes about China
  5. PM Lee: Poor sense of humour
  6. No Laughing Matter
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PM Lee joking about pork soup

A random joke on a BBC programme in 2003 (‘Top-level jokes’, Business Times, 28 Feb 2003) when he was DPM:
A drunk trying to cross the street was knocked down by a bus. A policeman helped him to his feet and said, “There’s a zebra crossing a few yards away from here.” “Well, I hope he is having better luck than I am,” replied the drunk. (Rating: LOL)
But of course the PM is funniest when the jokes are unintentional, especially when he talks about local food.



I suppose it’s OK for a politician to make a political joke at the expense of other superpowers, but poke fun at a PAP minister and you’ll be at the receiving end of a lawyers’ letter, i.e in hot (pork) soup.

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Could this be a monumental gaffe?


PM Lee could have thought that he was being brilliant in his joke and maybe never occurred to him whether or not the Chinese were amused by it. By any standard it could only be described as a sick joke considering the standing of the audience. Even if PM Lee had wanted to please the Americans, was there a necessity for him to insult the Chinese? Is it in Singapore's interest for him to show such abject adulation to the Americans at the expense of the Chinese?


The Chinese are by nature a tolerant people but they also have a long memory. 


It is interesting that PM Lee had tried to explain after he had cracked the unsavoury joke that he was just quoting what the Chinese had said. What is intriguing, if what PM Lee said is true, is why the Chinese would want to denigrate themselves. If the Chinese had cracked the joke about themelves it is strange that our Chinese paper could have missed it. The unsavoury joke by PM Lee was strangely given a miss by The Straits Times and the Lianhe Zaobao. They could have considered it wise not to publish it. So far, there has been no reaction from the Chinese to PM Lee,s antics, probably preferring to keep this matter close to their chest for the time being.

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The 'Mee Siam Mai Hum' Mystery

During one of his speeches a couple of years ago, the Prime Minister said, 'Mee siam mai hum.' He was relating how he would order the noodle dish, mee siam, without cockles. It was perhaps an attempt to connect with commoners who eat humble stuff, like me. But the speech set tongues wagging, to put it mildly, 'cause mee siam doesn't have cockles, ever.


The harsher critiques thought the PM's little boo-boo showed how disconnected he was with everyday life. But I think there could be another explanation for his culinary faux pas. What he actually wanted to say was mee siam without tamarind, or mee siam mai assam. How do I know that? Take a look at his grandmother's mee siam recipe, extracted from Mrs Lee's Cookbook (Mrs Lee being said grandmother):

Run your eye through the list of ingredients for the gravy. See? There's no assam in Grandma's recipe

So, confronted with the commoners' version that always comes with assam, the PM would say mee siam mai assam. But that fateful day, no thanks to a slip of the tongue, he said mai hum instead


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PM Lee Hsien Loong denies foreign workers suffer hardship and injustice from their employers in Singapore



Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that last Sunday's riot in the city state was spontaneous and there is no reason to believe that it was due to unhappiness among foreign workers.

"The migrant workers involved were employed by a variety of companies and lived in different places," Lee said in Tokyo. Lee added, "We have not seen any evidence of that. There is no tension, there is no sense of grievances or hardship or injustice."

"We believe that foreign workers in Singapore ought to be treated fairly and properly. We do not stand for ill treatment or unfair treatment of foreign workers. We have to make sure they are well treated, they are paid properly on time, their safety is taken care of, their living conditions are up to standard, and they are given full protection of the law," he said. Full story


PM Lee Says Sorry


A collective gasp was hard around Singapore during PAP’s lunch time rally on Tuesday: PM Lee apologized for the mistakes the government has made in the last five years.

He said,” No government is perfect. We can have our best intentions, make our best efforts, but from time to time, mistakes will happen… So we didn’t get it perfect, and I appreciate and I sympathize with Singaporeans when they tell me and they tell the government repeatedly that this is impacting us, affecting us – do something about it. Well, we’re sorry we didn’t get it exactly right, but I hope you’ll understand and bear with us…”

After his apology, opposition parties have been quick to react, saying that this shows the need for alternative voices in parliament. SDP candidate for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, Dr Ang Yong Guan, said the apology by PM Lee showed that a strong opposition can make the government accountable.


Huge uproar over PM Lee's comments


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's open admission that PAP wards are favoured for HDB upgrading exercises has touched a raw nerve among netizens.


His admission came as a reply to a university student living in the Hougang Single-Member Constituency (SMC) ward who asked if he could pay less tax since the opposition-held ward does not enjoy upgrading programmes. Since this story was first posted, reaction has been swift with over 1,500 Facebook shares and 150 comments. The majority were highly critical of PM Lee's stand.


The highest-rated comment came from Yahoo! user Chia, who posted, "Upgrading is not delivered solely based on policies. It is driven by money from the reserves. The money comes from the people and not from PAP." He added that,  "It (upgrading) is a national building programme. A nation does not belong to any party but the people."


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10 reasons why nobody should be surprised about WP’s town council accounts


Finally, let’s revisit this quote from PM Lee Hsien Loong in 2000:

“Suppose you had 10, 15, 20 opposition members in Parliament. Instead of spending my time thinking what is the right policy for Singapore, I’m going to spend all my time thinking what’s the right way to fix them, to buy my supporters votes, how can I solve this week’s problem and forget about next year’s challenges?”
PM Lee subsequently apologised for his remarks, especially the use of the word “fix.” But did he really, truly, deeply mean it after all?

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PM LEE 8 YRS AGO: PAP MAKES LIFE BETTER FOR ALL SINGAPOREANS


At the PAP rally on 8 Dec last Sunday, LHL was in a desperate and panicky state. He talks about the opposition “checking” on them. He mentioned the word ‘checkmate’, clearly indicating that he is clueless about the notion of modern democracy. So, how is he going to appease the citizens?


Well, if you read his speech carefully, you could really feel the desperation. Phrases like ‘If the PAP fails, Singapore is in deep trouble. We shall not fail’, ‘We don’t make empty promises’ and so on, certainly reflect his desperation.


Worse, for the first time, the PAP openly mentions about the possibility that it may not be able to form the govt (see TRE article – ‘First time PAP admits may not be able to form govt‘). Why? just to scare us to continue to vote for him and his party?


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10 years under LHL: Youths uncertain about their financial future



10 YEARS UNDER LEE HSIEN LOONG: HAVE THINGS GONE BAD?

The 10 years under the premiership of Lee Hsien Loong can be characterised as a lost decade for Singapore and a step backwards from First World to Third World. A decade of stagnant wages and exacerbated rises in prices have placed some of the measures of economic prosperity in Singapore on par with other Third World countries.

Indeed, under Mr Lee, real wages have remained stagnant for the majority of Singaporeans whereas for low income Singaporeans, this is even worse - they saw their real incomes decline.

Wages in Singapore have remained so depressed that Singaporeans today earn one of the lowest wages among the developed countries. Coupled with how Singaporeans also now work the longest hours in the world, this also means that when one looks at the wage earn per hour, Singaporeans could possibly earn the lowest wages among the developed countries.


PAP MAKES LIFE BETTER

This story is entirely based on my personal analysis. After the year 1984, LKY was helpless without his ‘work horses’ (‘LKY letters show he is clueless without others‘). Being proud and stubborn, he thought with the new cabinet ministers including his son would do a good job just like his old ‘work horses’.

Most of the problems seemed to be containable – mostly bread and butter issues.  Little did he know that these issues became blotted to near unmanageable sizes (cost of living, healthcare cost, housing cost, widening wage gap, low fertility and increasing global pressure on competition).

Many bad policies were introduced, but these were temporary measures to ease the problems.  He was too focused on fixing his ‘enemies’ that he neglected these problems. His young ministers were not experience enough to fix these problems.  They were only ‘papers’ qualified and more of ‘city slickers’ with not much of ground experiences.


GENES CAN BE INHERITED BUT NOT PERFORMANCE

The PM’s performance was the focus of the media interview at the end of SingFirst’s walkabout in his Ang Mo Kio GRC yesterday. It is common knowledge and widely felt among Singaporeans that the economy has become less robust and society is more divided, stressed and unhappy.


He has failed to repeat his father’s achievements as PM.


Lee Hsien Loong’s dismal record is unimaginable given that he has been “trained” as minister for 20 years before taking on the job as PM in 2004. Neither have the genes from his father been of much help. He might have inherited intelligent genes from his father but certainly not his performance. Unhappiness with their MP’s performance as PM was evident from our conversations with several groups of AMK residents in our walkabout. We met many residents who were severely affected by PAP’s policies that did not create a trickle down effect for the lower to middle class families, even in the PM’s GRC.


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PM Lee draws groans as “Mee Siam Mai Hum” comedy gig goes global


Interviewed after the show, Mr Lee said, “I always knew there is a funny yet sophisticated side to me.” 


“There’s this pent-up humour in my belly that was kept inside for too long. I mean, just look at the grim faces I have to live with at home.”

Since the success of his debut act “Mee Siam Mai Hum” at the 2006 National Day Rally, Lee has received strong encouragement from his faithful yes-men fan club to bring the show international.

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Singapore PM draws laughs in US speech
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gestures during his meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April, 2, 2013.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gestures during his meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April, 2, 2013

Singapore is well-known for its efficiency and order, but during a visit to Washington the city-state's prime minister displayed a less advertised attribute — humor.

In an after-dinner speech Tuesday to U.S. businessmen, Lee Hsien Loong made a couple of jokes that could pass for stand-up comedy. He drew laughs — and some groans — with his quips, including one about China's environmental problems:
  • "Beijing residents joke that to get a free smoke all they have to do is open their windows!" Lee said.
  • "(In) Shanghai, if you want some pork soup, you just turn on the tap," he said.
His audience appeared doubtful if that was good taste, until he added, "That's their joke, not mine!"

read more

PM Lee Hsien Loong inspects Guard of Honour in Germany

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (R) walks ahead of German Chancellor Angela Merkel

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All Singapore Stuff 11 Jul at 08:58

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrives in the Philippines and does an impromptu catwalk! #LOL

Garland himself and gaylek with his hands swinging like a lady in a catwalk.


PM Lee: Fix the Opposition

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Lone Ranger PM in G20 Leaders' Summit
video

CNA SHOWING PM's HANDSHAKE PHOTO WITH TRUMP

Please see this image that Channel News Asia used for their article about the G20 Summit. It features PM Lee sitting and shaking hands with President Trump in a very feminine and timid manner.

That is what the body language implies. Has Channel News Asia sabotaged our prime minister by showing such an unflattering photo? Many comments on the CNA facebook page remarked on this and some Singaporeans openly criticized him for being so submissive to Donald Trump. Channel News Asia should not have used a photo that showed a “sissy” handshake.

What do you think? Do you think this handshake looks manly and confident?


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related:

PM Lee Hsien Loong at G20 Leaders' Summit in Hamburg
Singapore must ‘steal other people’s lunches’
PM Lee In The Limelight
PM Lee in Focus
Singapore PM draws laughs in US speech
PM Lee Appalled By Harassment Over Philippine Independence Day Event
PM Lee on BBC's HARDTalk