Thursday, August 12, 2004

handover day!

first things first: it's Chee Tung's 22nd Birthday today. you know the drill:

Happy Birthday To You
Happy Birthday To You
Happy Birthday To CheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeTuuuuuuuuuuung...
Happy Birthday To You!

have a good one, you. no more chocolate cake, though. -grin-

however, Handover Day was off on the wrong foot this morning, thanks to SMRT having a brain cramp and keeping the train in Dhoby Ghaut station for a good five minutes while the train doors and the platform screen doors banged open and shut. not, of course, in sychrony, so nothing moved. bah! (i heard the station manager wandering around with a walkietalkie saying 'override it manually' over and over, and thought to myself -train accident on sengkang lrt- who knows why this train is sitting here? and was worried that if i got on the next train it would barrel along down the track and smash into this one as it sat, recalcitrant, at City Hall Interchange)

time to practice driving. and get a car. if this is one of the best public transport systems in the world, we are totally screwed. -grin-

however. in honour of Handover Day, the Straits Times has produced a little piece (a long piece!) on our PM-to-be, Lee Hsien Loong. some exerpts:

...WHATEVER they think of his personality, few seriously doubt his competence to be Prime Minister. Talk to anyone who has worked with him, and the praise flows like water. A good leader who cares about people. Committed to Singapore. Able to understand complex issues. Excellent problem-solver. Expects good work. Comfortable with dissent. ... can be expected that he'll continue that habit of probing fundamentals, of challenging a priori assumptions. It's a welcome trait in a leader of a country that succeeded for 40 years on export-oriented manufacturing and is finding new ways to stay relevant.

Third: This new Prime Minister will challenge rules. It's no coincidence that the panels to reduce red tape and review enterprise rules gained momentum when he became Finance Minister.

He'll encourage a society that dares to think out of the box. Already, there's greater churn in Singapore society today: More young people striking out in business on their own, greater diversity in education, more acceptance of bohemian lifestyles. A 'vibrant society' is what he called it in an interview last October. ...

...Mr Lee has an additional image burden: that his family is too powerful. His father remains in Cabinet as an adviser. His wife Ho Ching is executive director of state investment agency Temasek Holdings. Younger brother Hsien Yang heads one of Singapore's biggest companies, SingTel. ...

So for now, Mr Lee Hsien Loong is known to the world outside Singapore as Mr Lee Kuan Yew's son. But could it be the other way round some day? It was his father himself who said in October 1985: 'I may well have the discomfort of later on being compared unfavourably to the offspring.'

Far-fetched? History will be the judge.

worth a read through, even the bits where the reporter is trying her best to make him seem more human, more funny, more relaxed. (i just realised it's Chua Mui Hoong! i hate the woman) i won't disagree with most of it. her description of the 'common man's impression of Mr Lee accurately reflects mine: that he's a brilliant, if somewhat aloof, man. i used to seriously dislike him, but i think over the years he has grown on me somewhat.

i have no quibbles with the fact that he is a very intelligent man, and that he is perhaps the best man to be running this country. i think he is sharp, and thinks on his feet, and is a good public face for our little island nation. perhaps a little arrogant and abrasive, and not like Mr Goh at all, but still. a good move. my only concern has always been that he is perhaps not able to really connect with the people -not the ones who see him every day, or often, or who are in his constituency, but those who only see him on tv or in the newspapers. but i suppose as long as we have confidence in his capabilities, we don't really need to like or love him, do we?

i like the idea that he 'thinks out of the box' and 'goes back to first principles'. perhaps there is hope for the future after all.

ed: i posted before reading the rest of the paper -it is filled with little bits and pieces on LHL's character and how he is a warm friendly person. calculated to give you the warm fuzzies, until your mind wakes up and realises that 'yes, it IS Lee Hsien Loong they are talking about', and then you have a mental breakdown. go take a look.


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