Wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (PM Lee), Ho Ching (Ho)has posted on social media site, Facebook (FB) a rather funny message. She has “shared” an article from TODAYonline which featured Dr. Rais Hussain’s (Hussain) two cents worth on the maritime dispute between Singapore and Malaysia and commented “Chill, man”.
While I see the humour in that post, I wonder if the same message can be applied to her husband who is currently suing veteran blogger, Leong Sze Hien (Leong) for “sharing” an article that has been deemed as defamatory to PM Lee.
What Hussain is talking about relates to geopolitics and the relationship between two countries. This is a diplomatic issue that could have far reaching consequences if not carefully managed. In that regard, I can understand why Hussain is not “chilled” by Ho’s book. The pending lawsuit between PM Lee and Leong however, is a smaller issue with less impact on the country of Singapore. In that vein, it seems ironic that Ho has asked Hussain to “chill” when her own husband is arguably not “chilled”?
Of course, one can argue that PM Lee is taking the lawsuit against Leong in his personal capacity. That said, the news of the lawsuit is widely reported in the press and PM Lee is by no means a private citizen. He is the Prime Minister of Singapore. Whatever he does, especially in matters which concern perceived slights to his good name, will never be considered a private matter, so to speak, even if he foots the bill in his personal capacity. Asking Hussain to “chill” could therefore look like “pot calling kettle black”.
Don’t get me wrong. Ho’s post was funny. I did chuckle but humour aside, and looking at things in context, I wonder if she can see the irony of her post. It also makes me wonder – what would happen if Leong posted an article reporting the lawsuit with the caption “chill, man”. Would he be able to get away with that?
Given that the Singapore government is not known for its “chilled” reputation and Ho as wife of PM Lee ought to know this, it seems a tad strange that she has no compunction asking someone to do something that her own government is not likely to do. After all, you cannot ask someone else to “chill” when it suits you when you yourself are not known to “chill”.