The below headline on China’s social media says, “Singapore to become the next North Korea?”
It goes on to give details on the Lee family dispute that went public on 14th June 2017.
The dispute started when Lee Kuan Yew’s son Lee Hsien Yang and daughter Lee Wei Ling issued a statement on social media to say that they have “lost confidence” in the leadership and integrity of their brother Lee Hsien Loong, who is the current Prime Minister of Singapore.
Multiple accusations of power abuse was made. They also expressed a loss of confidence in Singapore’s future.
At the time of the accusation PM Lee was on holiday. He sent out a text message expressing his sadness after hearing about his siblings’ accusations.
Lee Hsien Yang’s son, Li Shengwu, then entered the dispute in support of father and aunt. He wrote in a Facebook post that while he as always tried to stay out of politics, this situation was an exception.
He said that his immediate relatives had become increasingly concerned about power abuse in recent years and that his parents were considering migrating which was as a hard and painful decision.
The North Korea comparison may not be fair. It is probably designed to capture attention.
But how Chinese netizens responded to this headline and the dispute show what they really think of Singapore.
A netizen commented under this post, “When Singapore’s geographic position isn’t that important anymore, all it will be is a ‘rich little town’.”
Another netizen said, “Singapore is but a rich North Korea.”
There were also some anonymous allegations of international politics at play.
One netizen said, “The history of the ‘Lees’ Singapore’ shows that location determines prosperity. If not for the good location, why would Uncle Sam give two hoots.”
Another joked, “Don’t know if it’s the US or China getting ready to topple Singapore’s political powers. If you ask me this sort of father to son rubbish country should have changed a ruler long ago.”
One Chinese netizen called the dispute as a royal family palace rivalry…
There is a Chinese saying, “Don’t talk about the ugly side of your family outside.”
One netizen commented, “There hasn’t been a politician who has been accused of violations in his governance by so many of his relatives. Can’t help but admire how cultured their society is.”
Was this sarcasm or genuine admiration?
Another netizen said, “From this we can see that Singapore is a highly civilized country.”
Some considered it as highly entertaining ‘soap opera’.
One commented, “Another drama is on air!”
While someone else said, “How long can this palace internal strife last? Let’s get some snacks and a seat and watch.”
What else are Chinese social media and netizens saying?
We extracted the top trending headlines from Sina Weibo, the most actively used social media platform for distributing news.
1st: “Grandson of Lee Kuan Yew : Lee Hsien Loong seriously abusing power, relatives want to escape.”
2nd: “Internal strife between Lee Hsien Loong and sister; in reality caused by differences over Lee Kuan Yew’s old residence.”
3rd: “On Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew family dynasty dispute.”
One netizen said, “Where there are Chinese this sort of ‘palace drama’ will always happen. A Chinese style family rule brought about this evil.”
To which another netizen replied in jest, “This is a democratic country’s matter. How dare you call it family dynasty politics. Beware of getting sued by them.”