Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrived in New Delhi, India, on 3 Oct for a five-day working visit. During his visit, he will meet key office-holders like Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee.
While in India, PM Lee will also witness the signing of an MOU on cooperation in tourism and urban solutions, and a grant agreement on capacity-building in tourism and connectivity. According to the Indian Express, “exchange experts in the field of intellectual property; dissemination of best practices, experiences and knowledge on IP with the industry and universities,” would be a key feature of this MoU.
The Times of India reported today that when he arrived in New delhi yesterday, PM Lee broke from tradition and opted to take a chartered bus to his hotel rather than an official entourage of official cars.
It is not the first time that PM Lee had tried to experience how commoners live, eat and travel. In February of this year, a reader of this publication sent us a picture of PM Lee and his wife, Madam Ho Ching, travelling on the subway. The reader said: “I was surprised to see PM Lee and his wife Ho Ching take the train today. I was more surprised to see that many people did not recognise them, or greet them. The security person though looked very nervous. It is encouraging to see our Prime Minister take the train like that to see how ordinary people live.”
Mr Lee trying to experience the life of the commoner has been nothing but a nightmare for his security detail. In June 2014, PM Lee was seen queuing up at a Redhill hawker centre to buy chicken wings for his family. The photo of him at the food outlet went viral online, with some surprised that he would hunker down, as it were, with the ordinary folks, while others questioned if it was a publicity stunt.
In April 2012, filmmaker Martyn See invited PM Lee to come live in his 3-room flat in Tampines for a week to experience first hand how the HDB heartlander lives. Martyn said:
“My mother and I will vacate our home for that period so you and your family may have the whole 700 square feet to yourselves. I will not charge rent as it I consider it a privilege to have you stay in my home. My flat is near the MRT too, so you may want to consider taking our public transportation system to work. I’ll gladly conduct orientation exercise for you and your family, and I’m sure my neighbours will appreciate the extra security presence in the area.”
PM Lee of course did not take up the filmmaker’s offer.