By: Kumar R
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be attending a state dinner at the White House today (2 Aug) hosted by US President Barack Obama. The State Dinner has been described as one of the highest honors that a sitting US President can confer on another head of government.
The Obama administration has only hosted 11 state dinners, and only 4 of them were Asian countries. What’s notable about the 4 countries is that they are all big ones – China, India, Japan and South Korea.
Why would arguably the world’s most powerful man host such a prestigious dinner. for such a tiny country like Singapore?
Of course there’s the official statement about the invitation from the White House, but one unofficial theory is the geek Obama enjoys the company of geek Hsien Loong.
Why, both of them have been described by news media as lead geeks of their respective countries.
More evidences that both are geeks.
And of course, Jeffrey Mark Goldberg, an American-Israeli journalist and long-time Obama observer also rated Geek Lee very high on Geek Obama’s warm-cold list – only after the Pope, Angela Merkel, Malcolm Turnbull and David Cameron.
But what’s the official reason for Obama’s invitation?
“President Obama will host Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore at the White House for an official visit and State Dinner on August 2. The two leaders will celebrate the bilateral relationship between Singapore and the United States that has served as an anchor for the U.S. rebalance to Asia. Marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations, the two leaders will highlight the enduring principles that have inspired the tremendous growth in our cooperation, which has attracted more than 3,500 U.S. companies to establish a presence in Singapore, forged strong security ties between our militaries, and led to increased exchanges of college students. As partners in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, the Counter-ISIL coalition, and the Paris Climate agreement, the two leaders will discuss how our relationship can continue to address international challenges and advance a rules-based order for the Asia-Pacific.” – Statement by the White House Press Secretary
So, what kind of jokes might Obama share with Hsien Loong at the state dinner?
“There’s a band called 1023MB. They haven’t had any gigs yet.”