A certain family spate has been going for almost a week now and two members of the third generation – Li Hongyi and Li Shengwu – have been in the spotlight.
Not many would have been taken notice of the two Lis. If you recall, the young men gave a moving eulogy at their grandfather’s funeral in 2015 – Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
Well, in case you still don’t know, they are cousins.
In fact, Li Hongyi is 30 years old and is the second son of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (LHL) and wife, Ho Ching.
And, Li Shengwu is 32 years old and is the eldest son of Mr Lee Hsien Yang (LHY) and wife, Mrs Lee Suet Fern. Mr LHY’s older brother is Prime Minister LHL.
Who is Li Hongyi?
- Consultant with Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) since December 2013, according to his LinkedIn profile. His current projects and objectives are to “increase interest in computer science education in Singapore, redesign and reimplement data.gov.sg and improve the transport network using sensors and optimisation algorithms.” Local media reported that he is a deputy director of the Government Digital Services Data Science Division of the Government Technology Agency of Singapore, a statutory board under the Prime Minister’s Office.
- A Public Service Commission overseas merit scholar, a top government scholarship. He studied economics and computer science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in US.
- After graduating from MIT, he worked in Google from 2011 to 2013, according to his LinkedIn profile.
- He was in the Gifted Education Programme at Rosyth Primary, went on to study at Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and Raffles junior college.
- A Lee Kuan Yew award recipient for Mathematics and Science in 2006.
- Commissioned as an officer in SAFTI Military Institute in 2006.
- In 2007, Li Hongyi made news. He was reprimanded by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) for not following proper procedures in emailing a letter of complaint to many other servicemen. Then a second lieutenant, Hongyi had alleged that another officer from his unit had been absent without leave on two occasions and that no disciplinary action had been taken. He sent the email to then-Defence Minister Mr Teo Chee Hean and several senior SAF officers. He was formally charged and administered a reprimand after a summary trial, said group chief of Mindef communications, BG (RET) Benedict Lim.
- It was Hongyi who set up a portrait of his late grandfather at his lying-in-state at Parliament House in 2015, his mother, Ho Ching, who is the wife of PM Lee, recounted in a Facebook post.
- No interest in politics, he said in a Facebook post on 15 June. His full statement reads: “For what it is worth, I really have no interest in politics.” The context is he said this, a day after his uncle and aunt, who are the Prime Minister’s siblings said his father and mother harboured political ambitions for their son, Li Hongyi.
Who is Li Shengwu?
- Brilliant man. He won two scholarships at University of Oxford (Clarendon Scholarship and Overseas Research Scholarship) and did his PhD in economics at Stanford University in US.
- Junior Fellow at Harvard University, US, since August 2016 according to his Facebook profile.
- Market Design and Behavioural Economics, are his research interests according to his website. He wants to design economic systems “that are simple and transparent, even when they deal with complex underlying constraints.”
- Avid reader, thanks to Nai Nai, his late grandmother, Mdm Kwa Geok Choo. In his eulogy, he said growing up, instead of watching TV, a well-stocked bookshelf contributed to his early childhood literacy.
- Award wining and impressive debater. He started when he was 15 years old. His achievements include wining the title of Best Speaker at the Worlds Universities Debating Championships in 2010 held in Turkey, the world’s largest debating tournament and also the most prestigious debating tournament in the world. A Straits Times report in 2010 said Shengwu is the third Singaporean to receive the award.
- A photography enthusiast. Simply wow. Check out his portfolio here. He has some shots of Singapore too.
- Following a very public spate now happening between his father, his aunt and his uncle, Shengwu wrote a Facebook post supporting the statement against his uncle. His post can be read here. He is the first of the third generation to make a public comment on the matter.
- No intention to go into politics, he told news wire AFP which he also posted on Facebook. His statement reads: “Twelve hours ago I gave the following statement to AFP: ‘Not only do I intend never to go into politics, I believe that it would be bad for Singapore if any third-generation Lee went into politics. The country must be bigger than one family.'”
Top images via Shengwu’s and Hongyi’s Facebook pages.