Singapore — The Prime Minister’s Office announced yesterday (Dec 20) that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be on leave for two weeks from Dec 21 to Jan 3 next year.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who is also Finance Minister, will be Acting Prime Minister from Dec 25 to Jan 3, the announcement said.
Mothership reports that, since the Prime Minister will still be within reach from Dec 21 to the 24th, there is no actual need for an Acting Prime Minister for those four days.
This is not the first time this year that the Prime Minister has gone on leave. Earlier in the year, Mr Lee was on leave from June 10 to 16. Mr Heng was also in charge during that time.
Mr Lee announced in a lighthearted post on Facebook at that time that he was taking a break. He wrote: “Will be on leave for a week. Looking forward to spending time with family and catching up on my reading.”
Mr Lee, who is known to enjoy going on walks and taking photos, also told the public: “Maybe I’ll see some of you when I go #jalanjalan!”
This time, the Prime Minister said in a Facebook post on his leave, that he planned to catch up on his other reading, spend time with his family and go #jalanjalan, weather permitting. He added, referring to a mathematical problem, that he would “spend some time trying to decipher Tao’s method”.
He wrote: “It’s something all of us can relate to: some challenges might stump us, but with persistence and by keeping an open mind, we might take a step or two closer to a solution.”
Terence Tao is a mathematician who has come the closest to proving the “Collatz conjecture, or the 3n+1 problem”.
Last weekend, Mr Lee was able to spend some time with former US President Barack Obama, who, with his wife Michelle, have been on a speaking tour and were billeted at separate events at the Singapore Expo.
“Happy to see the Obamas having more time to spend together, even here in Singapore. Looking forward to our next meeting! – LHL”
The Prime Minister has also begun to celebrate the holidays, attending the Bicentennial Christmas Carol Service at St Andrew’s Cathedral on Dec 13, calling it a “beautiful service” and saying: “What a joyful way to end the year!” -/TISG