By Augustine Low
In the galaxy of Super Spouses, Singapore must rank quite high. Our politicians in particular have the habit of teaming up with spouses who are no shrinking violets. Put two high flying achievers together and voila! – we have a pair of Super Spouses.
Perched right at the top are PM Lee Hsien Loong and Ho Ching – Singapore’s power couple for 14 years’ running, since the husband became PM and the wife became CEO of Temasek Holdings.
The rest of the Super Spouses are no slouches.
Heng Swee Keat, a front-runner to be the next PM, is married to Chang Hwee Nee, CEO of the National Heritage Board. She was formerly the Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Education.
We have two doctors in the house in Ng Eng Hen and wife Ivy Lim who have both gone way beyond practising as doctors. Ivy is the Group CEO of SingHealth. She was formerly the CEO of KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
As for Teo Chee Hean, he has a spouse who was a senior executive with a co-operative of the NTUC. Chew Poh Yim was previously a Director of NTUC FairPrice and General Manger of NTUC FairPrice Foundation.
Two ladies in the cabinet are also married to high fliers. Grace Fu’s husband is technopreneur Ivan Lee Boon Hong, co-founder and CEO of BLC Solutions, a spin-off company of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research.
Josephine Teo’s spouse is also a top executive with impressive credentials – Teo Eng Cheong is CEO:International, Surbana Jurong. He was formerly CEO of International Enterprise Singapore.
In Tin Pei Ling, we have a Member of Parliament who has an even more illustrious better half. Husband Ng How Yue holds too important portfolios – Permanent Secretary for the Law Ministry and Second Permanent Secretary for the Health Ministry. He was formerly Principal Private Secretary to PM Lee Hsien Loong.
So there we have it, just a snapshot of some of Singapore’s current day Super Spouses. Practically all of those mentioned have credentials and careers inextricably linked with the government and government-linked corporations.
What’s the secret behind Singapore’s Super Spouses? Some will say it is the art of politicians marrying well while others say it is how meritocracy pans out. Then there are those who say nay, it is simply Marry-tocracy.