They have perfected the art of being a power couple. For 14 years running, since the husband became Prime Minister and the wife became CEO of Temasek, Lee Hsien Loong and Ho Ching have reigned supreme.
What makes them tick as a power couple unlike any other?
For a start, you have to concede that they are totally single-minded. No matter what people say (even flesh and blood siblings), they just plough on inexorably. Once their objectives are set, nothing can get in the way and they never ever get distracted.
Then you need the demeanour and the thick skin to shut out all the noise, allegations and speculation. If push comes to shove, just ownself declare ownself innocent. And shed some tears if you must, to show you are the wronged party.
All that talk about sloppy sandals and $11 clutch bag and attire that’s inappropriate and unbecoming for state visits and occasions of pomp and grandeur? The attitude is, who cares? People will stop talking if you never even start caring and responding!
And who’s to fault them for it? Look what happened to Rosnah Mansor (wife of Najib Razak), whose love for the finer things in life caught up with her. Not to mention Imelda Marcos and her immaculate wardrobe and thousands of handmade Italian shoes.
Needless to say, Singapore’s power couple know that flaunting frugality and humility is the way to go.
Next, some power sharing won’t hurt. Although Ho Ching does not hold political office, the lines are often blurred – like when she attended a meeting last week with China’s Vice-President Wang Qishan. In what capacity? We can ask but they won’t bother to answer.
Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling alluded to this in their joint statement last year: “Although Ho Ching holds no elected or official position in government, her influence is pervasive, and extends well beyond her job purview.”
Finally, if you can’t convince people, then you confuse them. So we have the Prime Minister who is known for his penchant for pink and the CEO wife who is known to always wear the pants.
Therein perhaps lies the answer to the million dollar question.