In a tweet, “Blogfather” Lee Kin Mun, who is better known as “mrbrown” and carries that name on his Twitter account, drew attention to the pronunciation guide for Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s name in the New York Times yesterday.
mrbrown tweeted a portion of the article, and highlighted the pronunciation guide, with the quip, “Dear NYT, Lee Hsien Loong name is not liddat pronoun one. -@mrbrown.”
Singapore has been featured in many international newspapers recently, since it is the venue for the historic summit meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12.
The New York Times featured an article with a timeline of the summit, which included an update on a meeting between Mr. Trump and PM Lee Hsien Loong on June 11 at Istana Palace, and was followed by an announcement from Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that Mr. Trump had accepted an invitation to return for a state visit in November of this year.
The update included a pronunciation guide for the Singaporean Prime Minister’s name, “Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (lee haz-ee-en lahng).”
His humorous caption for the tweet was, “Dear NYT, I tried to pronounce my Prime Minister’s name the way you said it should be pronounced. I sprained my tongue. #TrumpKimSummit”
— mrbrown (@mrbrown) June 12, 2018
The news article on the New York Times was originally from the Associated Press, which means that it has gotten published on hundreds of news sites.
The correct way to say the Prime Minister’s name is simply, “lee see-yan long.” If the AP journalists had done a little howeork, they would have even found this pronunciation guide on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndfcQXbjCc0.
Many netizens responded to mrbrown’s tweet, with some even attempting to school the New York Times on the correct pronunciation
Omg @nytimes. It’s really not that hard. How about “Lee See-anh Lo-ung”??? GEEEZ
— Dilys (@o_dilly) June 12, 2018
Lee Sea-en Loon. And I’m not trying to be funny. Thats how i’d write it. It’s not hard to work it out IF you’re asking a bilingualist but you also need to be familiar to translate the sounds into English. Ugh it’s so important to get these things right.
— Anita Kapoor (@AnitaKapoor) June 12, 2018
Others simply expressed their disbelief
..Lee.. Haz.. lang?
Wtf is this nonsense. Do they not have Asians in their progressive NYT?
— MonkeyMoniker (@RamenShark) June 12, 2018
Lee Kin Mun, or mrbrown, is one of Singapore’s best-known bloggers. He is also an influential podcaster, with thousands of people downloading his podcasts daily.