Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s son Li Hongyi is making waves once again – but not necessarily for all the right reasons.
The son of Lee and Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek’s CEO Ho Ching, Hongyi presently serves as deputy director of product and engineering at the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech).
At what appears to be a recent talk, Hongyi was captured on camera wearing flip-flops instead of more formal, closed-toe footwear. Netizens circulating the picture on social media and messaging platforms like WhatsApp are alleging that the picture was taken at a recent IT talk:
Many netizens have pointed out that Hongyi’s slippers mirror what seems to be his mother’s preferred footwear – open-toed sandals.
Despite widespread criticism that her sandals look “sloppy” especially at formal events where she meets world leaders with her husband, Ho Ching has continued to wear open-toed sandals at functions in Singapore and abroad:
The photo of Hongyi wearing slippers at an event is trending on social media. Netizens have already begun criticising him for looking unkempt:
Having previously been employed at Google, Li Hongyi – an MIT graduate – has been with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore for over 4 years, since December 2013.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Hongyi is now in charge of increasing interest in computer science education in Singapore, redesigning and reimplementing data.gov.sg, and improving the transport network using sensors and optimisation algorithms. Hongyi was the lead developer behind the Parking.sg application, that allows drivers in Singapore to pay for parking digitally.
Hongyi rose to greater prominence, alongside his cousin Li Shengwu, when he delivered a eulogy at his grandfather – founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s funeral over two years ago. Hongyi, who was once described as “very close” with Shengwu is reportedly no longer on speaking terms with his cousin although the pair remain Facebook friends.
The cousins were both in the west coast of the United States at one point as Shengwu was pursuing his PhD at Stanford University and Hongyi was working at Google in Silicon Valley. The rift between the pair possibly occurred around the time the Oxley Road dispute broke out between Lee Kuan Yew’s children, following his passing.
The fued, over whether the Lee family home at 38 Oxley Road should be preserved or demolished, spilled into the public domain when Lee Kuan Yew’s younger children Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang made allegations that their elder brother is abusing his power as head of government to preserve their family home, against their father’s willed desire to demolish the house, in order to bolster his grip on power.
Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang also alleged that Lee Hsien Loong used state organs against him and that he was moulding his son, Hongyi, to enter politics.
Hongyi had responded in a Facebook post then and said, “For what it is worth, I really have no interest in politics.”
Shengwu told the press that Hongyi’s comments on a potential entry into Singapore politics is “vague” and added: “He only said he has no interest in politics, but my uncle Lee Hsien Loong also once said he wasn’t interested in politics when he was in his 20s. These words can easily be taken back.”