In a speech in 1996, then Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) urged young Singaporeans to go out into the world and seize opportunities. He said, “There is a glorious rainbow that beckons those with a spirit of adventure”.
“To the young and not-too-old I say, look at the horizon, find the rainbow, go ride it”.
More than two decades later, Mr Lee’s own grandson Li Huanwu has actually ‘followed that rainbow’ as he tied the knot with his boyfriend Yirui Heng in Cape Town, South Africa on Friday, 24 May where same-sex marriage was legalised in 2006.
In fact, Mr Li posted on his Facebook page a photo of a rainbow he spotted on the horizon just after his wedding with the hashtag #followthatrainbow – perhaps it was the providential rainbow that LKY mentioned all those years ago.
Announcing the union on his personal Instagram page, Mr Heng posted a photo of the two men in matching white shirts and khaki pants with the caption, “Today I marry my soulmate. Looking forward a lifetime of moments like this.”
The post generated a flurry of positive responses from around the world and Singapore in particular where gay sex is still criminalised.
Speaking to the South China Morning News (SCMP), Li said, “I’ll echo my comment I made to Pink Dot – today would have been unimaginable to us growing up. We are overjoyed to share this occasion in the glowing company of family and friends”.
On his Facebook page, Li shared a photo of him with his husband surrounded by the duos family including his father Lee Hsien Yang who is the second and youngest son of LKY.
When asked about his son’s wedding, Mr Lee Hsien Yang told SCMP, “I believe my father would have been thrilled to know this”.
While sex between men remains illegal in Singapore under Section 377A of the Penal Code that was inherited from the British, LKY himself has been quoted as expressing a different view later in life.
In his book Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going which came out in 2011, LKY said that homosexuality was “not a lifestyle”, basically conceding that it’s not something anyone can choose.
In an earlier book, The Wit & Wisdom of Lee Kuan Yew published in 2007, he was quoted as saying “If in fact it is true, and I have asked doctors this, that you are genetically born a homosexual – because that the nature of the genetic random transmission of genes – you can’t help it. So why should be criminalise it?”