The Lee Family Tree
The Lee family dispute — where allegations were made against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong by his own siblings, has been a messy affair. Ever since the joint statement released by Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang on June 14, there has been a constant stream of he-said she-said on Facebook, with the siblings embroiled in a war of words.
The statutory declaration published by PM Lee last night uses many acronyms to represent the people involved. And it isn’t easy for the public to follow as most are unfamiliar names. We decided to provide some background information of the Lee family involved in the dispute, so you are better able follow the events.
Lee Kuan Yew
Mr Lee Kuan Yew passed away at the age of 91, on 23 March 2015. But his contributions to Singapore will forever be etched into our nation’s history.
Read our story on the 91 things we’ll remember about him and his life story here. Mr Lee Kuan Yew suffered from slight dyslexia, though his condition didn’t deter him from achieving unrivalled success in the region.
- He attended Telok Kurau English School before moving on to Raffles Institution, where he secured a scholarship to attend Raffles College.
- He graduated from Cambridge University and read law at Fitzwilliam College.
- LKY was the first Prime Minister of Singapore and served from before Singapore’s independence in 1959, till 1990.
- He also served the Tanjong Pagar constituency for nearly 60 years as a Member of Parliament.
- He was the man who transformed Singapore from a third-world country to a bustling first-world metropolis, with international media such as BBC in awe at how LKY engineered Singapore’s miraculous economic transformation.
- Leaders worldwide recognized his contributions with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe referring to him as “one of the greatest leaders of modern times that Asia has produced”.
- He was duly awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers — the highest honour for foreign leaders conferred by the Japanese.
Kwa Geok Choo
Behind every successful man there stands a woman. And for LKY, that woman was none other than Madam Kwa Geok Choo. She and LKY got secretly married in England, 1947 before remarrying in Singapore in 1950. She gave birth to three children: Lee Hsien Loong, Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling.
But she wasn’t just a wife — she was a pillar of strength, confidante and advisor to LKY. You can read their love story here.
- Just like LKY, Mdm Kwa studied at Raffles College, and was the sole female student in the distinguished institution. The two often vied for top spot in the school, and their competition of sorts blossomed into romance.
- She studied law at Girton College in Cambridge University — where she graduated as a Queen’s Scholar from Malaya.
Together with her husband, the two founded the Lee & Lee law firm.
Lee Hsien Loong
PM Lee is the eldest son of LKY and Mdm Kwa. He got married to his first wife, Dr Wong Ming Yang and had two children with her — a son and a daughter. Sadly, she passed away in 1982 of a heart attack, reported The Straits Times.
- He followed in his parent’s footsteps and graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge University. He was a Senior Wrangler — one of the greatest attainable intellectual achievements in Britain. But he didn’t stop there.
- He earned himself a Diploma in Computer Science from Cambridge and a Master of Public Administration at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
- Prior to his involvement in the political scene, PM Lee served in the Singapore Armed Forces from 1971 to 1984 where he was promoted to brigadier-general.
- He took over from Mr Goh Chok Tong as Prime Minister in 2004, after serving under him as Minister For Trade and Industry, Minister for Finance and Deputy Prime Minister.
- He is also currently heading the PAP team in the Ang Mo Kio GRC.
Read our story on how PM Lee and his father fare against each other in a head-to-head comparison.
Ho Ching first met PM Lee whilst working at the Ministry of Defence. The pair got married in 1985 and have two sons, in addition to an eldest son and daughter from PM Lee’s first marriage. In 2016, Forbes magazine listed her as the 30th most powerful woman in the world.
- Ho Ching was named Student of the Year after becoming one of the top students of her cohort while at National Junior College.
- She graduated from NUS with first-class honours in Electrical Engineering and obtained her Masters of Science (Electrical Engineering) from Stanford University.
- She started out as an engineer in the Ministry of Defence in 1976 and has held positions such as Director of Defence Materiel Organisation and Deputy Director of Defence Science Organisation.
- She moved on to Singapore Technologies in 1987 and became its President and CEO in 1997.
- Since 2002, Ho Ching has been the CEO of Temasek Holdings.
Lee Wei Ling
Dr Lee Wei Ling is the younger sister of PM Lee and elder sister of Mr Lee Hsien Yang.
At 62-years of age Dr LWL is still single and has given reasons for her choice. She served as LKY’s personal doctor as mentioned by PM Lee in his private eulogy speech for his father, and was her father’s close companion. Read our story on Dr LWL’s view on healthcare here.
Like her other siblings, Dr LWL is a President Scholar.
- Dr LWL is a neurologist and former director and senior consultant of the National Neuroscience Institute.
- She used to write for The Straits Times from 2008 to 2009, but left when she claimed the editors didn’t allow her to exercise her freedom of speech, reported AsiaOne.
- She also wrote a book, entitled “A Hakka Woman’s Singapore Stories”.
Lee Hsien Yang
LHY got married to Lim Suet Fern and they have three sons.
- The youngest of the three siblings, LHY graduated from National Junior College and was awarded the President’s Scholarship and Singapore Armed Forces Overseas Scholarship.
- Another graduate from Cambridge University, he obtained a double first in Engineering Science and has a Masters of Science in Management from Stanford University.
- Just like his elder brother, LHY rose through the ranks in the Singapore Armed Forces and became a brigadier-general.
- He was the CEO of Singtel from 1995 to 2007.
- From 2007 to 2013, he was the Chairman of Fraser and Neave.
- LHY is the current Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CASS).
Lim Suet Fern
LSF has three children with LHY: Li Huanwu, Li Shengwu and Li Shaowu.
LSF undertook Law and graduated from Cambridge University in 1980 with a double first, just like her husband.
- The 59-year-old is currently the Managing Partner of Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC, a leading Singapore-based regional law firm.
- She has served on the boards of publicly listed companies all over the world, including Hong Kong and New Zealand.
- She was also formerly the President of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association.
Li Hongyi is the second son of PM Lee and Ho Ching. He has expressed that he has no interest in politics.
- He was from Rosyth Primary under the Gifted Education Programme.
- He moved onto Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), Raffles Junior College and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
- He won the Lee Kuan Yew Award for Math & Science in the year 2006.
- The 30-year-old worked for Google USA as a Product Manager.
- He is currently working for Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA).
Li Shengwu has publicly backed his father (Lee Hsien Yang) and aunt’s (Lee Wei Ling) claims on Facebook.
He believes news in Singapore is heavily controlled by the government and he’s said “…my immediate family has been increasingly worried about the lacks of checks on abuse of power”.
- Li Shengwu is a student alumni of Raffles Junior College, where he represented Singapore at the 2003 debate world championships.
- His passion for debate saw him beat 700 others to the “Best Speaker” award at the 2010 World Universities Debating Championships.
- He topped his class in the Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) at Balliol College in Oxford and pursued a Masters in Economics at Oxford’s Kebel College.
- His PhD was from Stanford University.
- He has been a Junior Fellow at Harvard Society of Fellows since 2016.
Read our story on 12 Ling Shengwu facts you never knew about.
The Lee Family
This family dispute threatens to drag on for an extended period of time, with both sides contradicting each other.
At least now we’ll now have a clearer understanding of the main people involved for the months to come.
Let’s hope this is resolved soon, for the sake of all Singaporeans.
Read the full story here.