Oxley Road

So let me try to understand the story that has dominated Singapore’s news cycle for the past week:

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s siblings are Very Annoyed that the PM seems to be pussyfooting around part of the late Lee Kuan Yew’s will, that is the demolition of his old home at Oxley Road.

They claim that PM Lee is refusing to tear down the house and is instead attempting to convert it into a national monument of some sort to consolidate his, and his party’s power, by promoting themselves as the party of the late, great, LKY.

PM Lee, in all of his wisdom, has now shunted the decision of what to do with the building off to a government committee, claiming it’s not up to him any more, as LKY’s old home is a matter of national significance.

Even though LKY specifically did not want any monuments to himself and wanted the city to be his legacy.

It’s so difficult for me to take this issue seriously, and the Prime Minister comes out of it looking really bad. If it is true (and all signs point to yes) that the late LKY wanted his house demolished once all his remaining family moved out, it shouldn’t be a matter of public debate, should it? It’s an old man’s private property, and one of his last wishes. Can’t we do that much for his memory?

Why do we need the entire Government to crawl out and deliberate on the matter? That PM Lee has decided that this is the case is damning, because he’s essentially saying that yes, in his official capacity, he thinks there’s a real case to be made for ignoring his father’s last wishes.

So much for Asian values and filial piety.