Since the episode involving my parents’ house became publicised, my
sister, Wei Ling and I have taken to social media to reach the people of
Singapore. We have no other access. Please let me step back and
introduce myself, so that Singaporeans know where I am coming from.
I am the youngest child of Lee Kuan Yew. I have an elder brother Hsien
Loong, and an elder sister Wei Ling.
I am a private individual who has always avoided public attention. I am not
a politician, and I have never desired to be a one. When I reach out to
Singaporeans, please bear in mind that I am a novice. I have neither
brigades of staff nor teams to back me up. Indeed, until this episode
occurred, I had never posted on Facebook. As such, I ask for your
patience – I am only a man working to honour his father’s wishes.
Many have asked me why Wei Ling and I have felt compelled to bring
these issues before the people of Singapore. They ask why I have made
public a huge national controversy. The answer is that we were pushed by
Hsien Loong’s secret cabinet committee.
Growing up in Lee Kuan Yew’s family was a unique experience. My father,
the first Prime Minister of Singapore, was a powerful and influential man.
My mother too, though she avoided the public eye, was herself a very
principled woman. For all these privileges afforded by my parents, they
always taught us to act with integrity and to always do the right thing. This
was an inviolable value of theirs.
When my father died, the issue of carrying out both my parent’s wishes for
their house came up. Our father firmly believed that demolition of his house
was the right thing for Singapore. He believed Singapore needed to focus
on her future and not on monuments. My father named my sister and I his
executors, and with it came his expectation and trust that we ensure his
wishes are honoured. Unfortunately, our brother, Hsien Loong, and his
wife Ho Ching, have in private vehemently opposed demolition.
As we sought to remind the people of Singapore of our father’s last wish,
we encountered opposition every step of the way. It became clear that we
faced a vast and coordinated effort by Hsien Loong against us. He did not
want our father’s wishes remembered or carried out; he wished to rewrite
history to claim that Lee Kuan Yew “accepted” the preservation of his
house. Hsien Loong was ready to use his power and influence to thwart our
father’s wishes, to meet Hsien Loong’s and Ho Ching’s personal political
At that point, I could have said to myself, “This is too big for me. This
political world is not my world. I could just let events take their course.
This is not worth it.” It would have been easy to keep my head down — why
risk public outcry, suffer campaigns of character assassination, or even
exile? But doing the right thing is rarely easy.
I am not a perfect human being. But I do my best to act with the honour
and integrity expected of me by my parents. Their view on demolition of
their house was unwavering. I know what they wanted, and as executors
of our father’s will, my sister and I have a legal duty to carry out his wishes,
instead of allowing them to be perverted by sophistry and machinations. It
was a difficult decision, but we were pushed into a corner. We have to
stand up and fight for our parents even if it means bringing things into the
public sphere as a last resort.
Since these events became public, many reached out to me. Some have
scolded me for disrupting the status quo. Others have offered words of
encouragement and support. But both groups often ponder what I hope to
achieve through all this.
I am just a son trying to honour my father’s final wish: to demolish my
father’s house immediately when my sister, Wei Ling, no longer lives there.
In the meantime, to ensure her the unfettered right to live in the only home
she knows as long as she should wish. Ling, being unmarried and without
children of her own, stayed there with Papa and helped look after him in his
final years. It was our father’s wish that she should be permitted to stay in
the original house for as long as she wanted.
It has been insinuated that I seek to redevelop the Oxley road house into a
condominium for financial profit after buying it at 150% market price.
Beyond zero certainty on timing and the ability to demolish, this requires
both rezoning by the URA and cooperation with the neighbors. I have no
inclination to seek either of these. Preservation of the house would be
trampling on Lee Kuan Yew’s values, and it would be an affront to these
same values to develop a luxury “LKY” condominium. The price I paid for
the house was simply a price I paid to help ensure my father’s wishes are
Wei Ling may live in Oxley Road for decades to come. I simply hope to
ensure our father’s wishes are honoured when the day comes. Since I
cannot predict the timing or whether the government will even permit us to
demolish the house, it is impossible to plan beyond that point. We
suggested options such as demolishing the house and planting a memorial
garden, but Hsien Loong has staunchly refused.
Our father, and we too, recognise that the Government has the power to
gazette the house — no man stands above the law after all. We are simply
very sad that it is in fact Hsien Loong using powers and instruments of the
state to achieve preservation of the house for his personal agenda, whilst
pretending to be an honourable son.