Lee siblings not invited to Lee reunion dinner

From ‘Lee siblings welcome PM’s offer to settle dispute in private’, 6 July 2017, article in Today

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s siblings said on Thursday (July 6) they welcome his offer to manage their disagreement away from the public eye, and they would stop posting on social media “provided that we and our father’s wish are not attacked or misrepresented”.

Two days after the parliamentary debates earlier this week over their allegations that saw 29 Members of Parliament speak about the issues, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling released a seven-page public statement on Facebook putting forth the background to the dispute and their reasons for going public.

…They claimed that PM Lee quarrelled with them on April 12, 2015, the day their father founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s will was read. And he had allegedly not spoken to them since.

They also added that PM Lee was the first to invoke lawyers, a move that “gobsmacked” them since they were “were siblings discussing (their) fathers’ house”.

Shortly after he wrote to them that he had hired Mr Lucien Wong to deal with the situation and asked them for their lawyers, all direct communication ceased. They added that the first Chinese New Year reunion dinner following Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s death, all relatives were invited except them.

The younger Lees may have decided to take their beef with PM Lee offline, but they couldn’t resist one final parting shot, one that exposes the pettiness of our leader. I’m not sure what’s worse, suing your own flesh and blood for defamation, or not inviting them for reunion dinner. If there’s anything Ah Gong and Ah Ma would have wanted, it would be the family getting together at least for Chinese New Year.

LWL/LHY also accused big brother of having two faces – but then again which politician doesn’t? One moment our PM channels a seminal moment in LKY’s march to independence and opens the floodgates in front of national TV, the next we hear of him refusing to speak to his own siblings except through a lawyer. And we continue to trust the same man and all his flaws to steer this ship through stormy waters.

While it looks like this ‘Korean drama’ has reached its uneasy epilogue, with the PM resorting to making a public apology and all, what’s intriguing to me about this saga is not so much the lies, deception, hypocrisy, apple-polishing and political charades, but the choice words coming from the mouths of all dragged into this CIRQUE DU SO-LEE.

Here’s a look back at ‘The Best (words) of Oxley’, and how they can be used in everyday speech:

  1. ORGANS OF STATE
    ‘Do not question the authority of the Government or face the wrath of the organs of state!’
  2. RECUSE
    ‘I recuse myself from this Whatsapp chat group’
  3. DOGSBODY
    ‘I spent the whole weekend doing dogsbody work for my best friend’s wedding’
  4. GOBSMACKED
    ‘Your dad went to Pink Dot? I’m gobsmacked!’
  5. WHITEWASH
    ‘I would have read Men in White if it wasn’t so whitewashed’
  6. ORWELLIAN
    ‘Ownself defend ownself is so Orwellian’
  7. CONFLICT OF INTEREST
    ‘I have shares in Pfizer so I’m not participating in the generic Viagra trial on erectile dysfunction due to conflict of interest’
  8. PARTY WHIP
    ‘Please don’t forget to bring the party whip at the next BDSM teadance’ 
  9. MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE
    ‘Let’s set up a ministerial committee to discuss the terms of reference for ministerial committees’
  10. BESMIRCH
    ‘You besmirch my father’s honour by casting Adrian Pang as him in that movie’

‘For what it’s worth’, I guess what we can take away from this episode is one, the Lee family is human after all, and two, journalists who cover angry exchanges over Facebook have the easiest job in the world. It also sets an awkward precedent for other public figures with relatives dying to expose them but afraid of getting ‘sued still their pants drop’.

May the Lee clan have a peaceful Seventh Month this year.

 

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3 Responses

  1. Here’s my piece on the aftermath of the Parliament airing: From K Drama to Shakespeare’s Hamlet

    http://shijai.blogspot.sg/2017/07/lee-family-internecine-war-from-korean.html

  2. […] The fact is, PAP’s DNA does not permit reconciliation with any party – including family members – after 5 decades of having its way or no way. Certainly not after all the "lies, deception, hypocrisy, apple-polishing and political charades". […]

  3. Personally, I think LHL should have invited siblings to the reunion. This way he would not give his siblings any reason to say “oh how petty he is”. The siblings might have not gone and if they did and made a scene with the other relatives around LHL would have all the witnesses to back him up on how the siblings tried to fault him again. Or the dinner could have gone well. None of us would know the outcome. He also should not have communicated with his siblings only through his lawyer. I also felt that he should not have imposed on his brother to donate 50% of the house value to charity (let the younger Lee decide for himself). Apparently this 50% donation by LHY is an area of contention (from LWL and LHY’s statements)

    With regards to the reunion dinner, it is LHL’s personal choice and who are we to do say he should or should not invite. Why should the siblings made this public as it has nothing to do with their allegations of LHL abusing his power and is entirely personal. Don’t forget that it was barely a few months earlier that his siblings threatened him before the general elections, an act which I thought was hooliganish. Actually LWL did call him a “dishonourable son” during the election hustings without explaining her action and Chee Soon Juan picked that up to attack LHL

    I asked three people (one relative and two friends) if they would have invited a family member to their reunion dinner if they were in the same circumstances. All said no: if the relationship is so sour why invite the person as they all want a happy and peaceful dinner.

    The whole saga is sad not just for the three siblings but for all of Singapore / Singaporeans and LKY. His legacy is forever tarnished by the so public and ugly spat among his children so soon after his death. Like GCT said, I think there were problems among his children even when he LKY was alive but he was able to contain it within the family then.

    A classic case of he says this I say that. But I don’t think the younger ones should have gone so public about it however and whatever they thought their elder brother was. The key reason for this is that they knew that their father had two loves: his family and Singapore and in this spat, the siblings tore these down to shreds.

    While they might have been and still are good honourable people, they crossed the red line by dragging this out and getting others involved, might I say wittingly?. They weren’t exactly telling the entire truth too just as they claimed their elder brother was behaving such.

    It is obvious that LHY’s wife had a hand in the preparation of the last will (the will may still be legitimate) why said it was the cousin who prepared it and the latter denied. Since LSF had a hand or knew the contents of the will, the two siblings knew full well the father had also included in the will that if the government decided to preserve the house then do this … To refuse to include the second clause is, in my view, not right. Half truth is no truth. Of course I think most if not all Singaporeans are well aware that LKY wanted the house demolished but he was a man who always obeyed the rule of law. Sure he might have been fretful knowing his house might be preserved but that does not remove the fact that he had allowed the clause to be written in his will, however difficult and unwelcome it was to him.

    Ok, the elder sister in law cleared the house and found some documents of LKY’s and handed them to her husband who then arranged for them to be sent to the NHB. A family member and they accused her of theft (such strong accusation).

    A case of when we have an issue with somebody, everything the person does or does not do, say or does not say, this person is all wrong wrong wrong. Period. A common phenomenon with all human beings.

    Some may question the set up of the ministerial committee and how it handled or mishandled things, but why could this committee not be working independently of LH?. It may be that some ministers are beholden to the PM but DPM Teo Chee Hean is no pushover. DPM Tharmman, a well respected man also said setting up a ministerial committee is not uncommon. And Heng Swee Keat vouched for the fact that LKY met with the whole cabinet and wrote his last letter to the cabinet. These three men are not kowtow men; they can easily at any time find alternative employment with even higher salaries. For example, for years Mr Tharmman has been invited by international organisations to chair some committees.

    Some say LWL and LHY are clear winners in this saga. Rubbish. There are no winners. Only losers: all three siblings: LKY’s legacy: government agencies which could have handled the saga better (eg NHB should never have accepted the terms of the artefacts donation set by the siblings which are out of the norm, regardless of who they are, and then scrambled to find a way out or resolve the problem after the family disagreement became known to NHB and perhaps most importantly Singapore / Singaporeans.

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