11 points of comparison; we pit them head to head

Lee Hsien Loong has it tough. He took over as leader of Singapore, living in the great shadow cast by his father and former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. But how similar are they, or do they rule govern in the same way? MustShareNews finds out.

1. Name

Lee Kuan Yew was born Harry Lee Kuan Yew. Lee Hsien Loong doesn’t have an English name. Perhaps we might suggest Eddie? It sounds rather similar to ‘Harry’ and it means ‘prosperous guardian’. Very apt.


2. Ranking

Lee Hsien Loong entered politics after army life, and was a Brigadier-General. Father Lee Kuan Yew however, owns the Order of St Michael and St George and Order of the Companions of Honour. It’s okay, PM Lee; you have 19 more years to catch up. No stress there.

order of st michael and st georgeSource

3. Health

Lee Kuan Yew was known to be health-conscious, as this video illustrates. Watch from 5:02 onwards.

However, as many now know, the senior Lee is now warded in the Intensive Care Unit at Singapore General Hospital. His son, Lee Hsien Loong, also had brushes with poor health. He was diagnosed with lymphoma in the early 1990s and prostate cancer in 2015, although PM Lee has now fully recovered from his operation.


4. Education

Both Lees studied at the University of Cambridge; Senior Lee read law whilst PM chose the field of Mathematics. Apart from graduating with first class honours, PM Lee took a Diploma in Computer Science and also boasts of a Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University.


Side note: Cambridge had this as their Facebook profile picture a while back. Totally not judging though.


5. The woman behind them

For Lee Kuan Yew, it was Kwa Geok Choo. Not one to fall behind her husband in terms of intellectual capacity, Kwa also read law at Cambridge. Kwa frequently accompanied Senior Lee on diplomatic trips and meetings with other world leaders, and was seen as a fervent pillar of support. Kwa died in her sleep in 2010.

Read more about the LKY and Kwa Geok Choo love story here.

What about PM Lee? Ho Ching, his wife, is the Executive Director and CEO of Temasek Holdings, a government owned investment company that manages over $223 billion worth of assets. Whew.

ho chingSource

6. Memorable events

As a young Singaporean citizen who never personally lived under LKY’s leadership, the most memorable thing that I can remember of him is his emotional, tear-riddled speech announcing Singapore’s separation from Malaysia.

We can’t remember the most memorable thing that PM Lee did (because he did so many amazing things) so we’ll just list a couple of them out here.

1. Started 5-day work weeks instead of working 5+0.5 day on Saturday. We hope to see 4-day work week promises at the next General Elections. Hehe.

2. Built the Integrated Resorts which are also colloquially known as The Casinos.

3. Started a Facebook + Instagram #hipster

7. Lawsuits

Lee Kuan Yew: Sued Devan Nair, former President of Singapore, for saying that Lee’s method of suing political opponents until they were bankrupt was an “abrogation of political rights”. Also took offence with the fact that Nair called him an “increasingly self-righteous know-all”.

devan nairSource

Lee Hsien Loong: Sued Roy Ngerng for defamation. Although Ngerng was found to be guilty, it certainly didn’t help PM’s reputation in the least bit.

8. Rally styles

Lee Hsien Loong: 

Lee Kuan Yew:

(We don’t actually expect any one to watch both videos to the end.)

It is obvious that Senior Lee takes his time with his speech, with sometimes uncomfortably long pauses. No such thing from younger Lee. LKY also peppers his speech with more emotional rallying phrases, whilst young Lee seems to be more concerned with economic indicators and illustrating what the PAP has done for Singapore.

9. Resolve

No one can doubt LKY’s iron resolve in ruling Singapore the way he wanted it. Anyone who opposed, he imprisoned under the Internal Security Act. Young Lee has a softer stance towards these “dissidents”, perhaps due to the realisation that Singapore has evolved and the hard way of dealing with opposition no longer works.

10. Fellow Cabinet ministers

Lee Kuan Yew was blessed to have strong ministers of influence who governed Singapore together with him, such as Goh Chok Tong, Toh Chin Chye and Goh Keng Swee. What about our dear PM Lee?


He’s faced with increasing criticism about how his cabinet is made up of “paper generals” such as high-ranking army officials.

11. Impact

It will be hard for anyone to overshadow what Lee Kuan Yew has done for this country. Blame and shame senior Lee all you like, but you can never ignore the fact that he did love Singapore, and was committed to building it with all his heart. Fault his methods, fault his iron-fisted rule; but he demands a sort of unbridled respect.


We salute them both

LKY pushed Singapore through the toughest times when the world thought that we would never make it. But at the same time, we should never measure PM Lee against his own father but against his own merit and contributions. MustShareNews applauds and encourages LHL for all that he has done for Singapore, and we certainly look forward to more in the next General Elections.


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With reference to Wikipedia, Wikipedia, Transitioning