OK, I want to talk about the Lee family.
More specifically, Li Shengwu and his aunt Lee Wei Ling, otherwise known as the feisty “no filter’’ sister of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Perhaps, they have been used to that sort of powers and privileges that their grandfather’s and father’s positions accorded them all these years? That they should feel they are different from the rest of us? That they are above the law and must be treated special?
So we all thought we were going to have a truce. All quiet on the Oxley front. And then this fellow, Shengwu, a privileged well-educated rich kid of Lee Hsien Yang and Lim Suet Fern, (yes Lim, you haven’t earned the right to be a Mrs Lee, I’m afraid) decided he wants to be smart about it. Or was it smug?
Over the weekend, the third generation Lee decided to upload a post on his Facebook to his friends where he took an aim at the Singapore judiciary system, calling it “pliant’’. Essentially he is saying the judges here are not independent. Mind you, he is talking about a judiciary system which tops the world rankings and that was painstakingly built none other than his own grandfather Lee Kuan Yew.
And to add further insults, he just about attacks his own grandfather by encouraging everyone to read a (now refuted) New York Times piece which slammed Singapore. In short, he is slamming his own grandfather, the founding Prime Minister of Singapore. Ironically, the late Lee Kuan Yew mind you, was particularly protective of Singapore’s reputation.
Now wait. The stupidity doesn’t end there. Then comes Lee Wei Ling. When the Attorney General’s Office said it was probing into the Facebook post on possible case of contempt by Shengwu, she let fly at the government and claimed the Big Brother (no pun intended) and the civil servants are checking on the Facebook of private citizens and their conversations. She seemed to suggest that sharing on social media with friends does not amount to contempt.
Despite all the top notched education, these two – Shengwu and Wei Ling – appear to have little understanding of the laws and the workings of the social media. (Amazingly, one is a President’s scholar and the other is a fellow in Harvard and a world class debater.) You make baseless allegations, well knowing it will viral, and then now cry foul when the comments have taken effect , made their impact and drew a response?
Let me explain. First, you post something on Facebook for a few hundred people to see and you call it a private conversation? Do they even understand each of their friends will have hundreds of other friends? What are the odds they don’t make it to the public?
But that may not even be relevant. Last check a defamation suit can apply even when it is one person communicating with another. A scandalising comment does not need to make it to the mainstream media for it to be followed up. In any case, it wasn’t mainstream media which reported Shengwu’s comments. It was the anti-Government alternative sites which reported on them. The same media whom they have been using in recent fiery exchange with the PM. Wei Ling tried pass it off as private musings. She must have forgotten she and Sheng Wu are part of the most powerful family in Singapore and surely any controversial comments by them on the court would be widely followed and viralled. Shengwu should be best advised not to trust his own friends to make such posts if he doesn’t want to be held responsible for it. Well guess what, thanks to his little venture, the news will now surely make it the mainstream media.
Second, the law on contempt. Are the Lee family above the law? Isn’t it ironic? If Shengwu doesn’t want the courts to be “pliant’’ and hopes to see it operate independently, then all the more the AGC should be hauling him for questioning over his comments on our judiciary system. As recent as 2015, one Alex Au, a gay activist was charged for contempt of court and convicted. So was foreigner Alan Shadrake who was also convicted of scandalising the courts.
Now, here‘s the question I have for everyone. Can anyone give me a good reason why Shengwu should be treated differently from Alex Au and Alan Shadrake if our courts and judges are indeed independent? He being the grandson of Lee Kuan Yew? He being the nephew of the Prime Minister? Certainly, our founding PM would not have it. He left a system where he himself is not above the law, let alone the grandson.
And speaking of the founding PM, why is the grandson hiding overseas siding with the Western media to attack this great nation his own grandfather built? That surely is ungratefulness at the highest order. The kid benefited enormously from the country his grandfather and uncle built. His father’s jobs at Singtel and F&N paid for his education.
What do we get in return? A shocking attack on his own grandfather and our judiciary system which both helped to build a system that produced the successful country that we have.