It’s a distraction the country can do without. For the better part of 16 years now, the topic of Ho Ching’s salary keeps rearing its ugly head.
The more determined the government is to keep the salary of the Prime Minister’s wife a secret, the more people speculate. The more people speculate, the more anxious the government gets. It’s all a vicious cycle.
And to add to the mix, Ho Ching’s mishmash of social media posts that come thick and fast round-the-clock have a tendency to set tongues wagging.
They have also become a distraction, to say the least.
So we think of Mrs Lee Kuan Yew.
Because we think of a time when the Prime Minister could get on with the job of running the country without people getting into a feeding frenzy over his spouse. There’s just too much fatigue, too much quibbling that the country can do without.
“I walk two steps behind my husband like a good Asian wife,” said Mrs Lee Kuan Yew.
She meant it metaphorically of course. But she always had her husband’s back without intruding so he could get on with the important stuff.
Privately, behind the scenes, Mrs Lee played the role of confidante and adviser to her husband. She had the intellect for it; she even bested her husband in English and Economic Science at Raffles College, topping the cohort.
The most memorable thing Lee Kuan Yew said of his wife: “Without her, I would be a different man, with a different life.”
Today, those words ring with a meaning and resonance we have come to appreciate.
When we think of all the fuss we keep going through over one person, we think of Madam Kwa Geok Choo.
More than just the woman behind Lee Kuan Yew, she was a woman who silently gave her all to the nation.