Mr Lee and his wife Lee Suet Fern accompanied their son and his husband to the 11th annual Pink Dot gathering, that was held last Saturday (29 June). Photos of the family’s appearance at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride event quickly drew attention and went viral online.
Mr Lee’s presence at the event was notable for a number of reasons – first, because he is the son of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and younger brother of current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who recently said that Section 377A – a law that criminalises gay sex – will not be repealed in Singapore anytime soon.
Additionally, this was the first time Mr and Mrs Lee had attended such an event in Singapore.
As netizens widely shared photos of the Lees at Pink Dot on social media, Facebook user Tobey JC shared a link to an online article covering the Lees’ presence at Pink Dot to the Facebook group ‘We are Against Pink Dot in Singapore‘ – a network which encourages mostly anti-LGBT discussions.
He wrote that Lee Kuan Yew must be rolling in his grave since his son, daughter-in-law and grandson attended Pink Dot.
Netizens responding to Tobey JC’s post responded that Lee Hsien Yang has committed “political suicide” by attending the event since they will not give their support to someone who supports Pink Dot, in the event that Mr Lee chooses to contest the next election.
In the midst of the furore, Rev Nina Khong expressed her dissatisfaction with Mr Lee. She wrote: “What’s immoral remains immoral. Doesn’t matter who did it!”
In a separate comment, she added: “Walter E. Williams rightly said, “How does something immoral, when done privately, become moral when it is done collectively?
“Furthermore, does legality establish morality? Slavery was legal; apartheid is legal; Stalinist, Nazi, and Maoist purges were legal. Clearly, the fact of legality does not justify these crimes. Legality, alone, cannot be the talisman of moral people.””
Rev Nina Khong is the wife of Apostle Lawrence Khong, the founder and senior pastor of FCBC. Apostle Khong is one of the more prominent faces of the ‘Wear White Campaign’, a movement that was set-up to counter the Pink Dot movement (a movement for societal acceptance of LGBT and their families).
The Khongs have repeatedly affirmed their friendship with PM Lee. In 2016, Apostle Khong wrote online that he was praying for his former classmate when PM Lee suffered a brief fainting spell during the National Day Rally speech:
“Prime Minister Lee, your tenacity, love and commitment to chart Singapore’s destiny is an inspiration to me. Thank you for pouring your heart and soul to bring our homeland to greater heights, and defining what it truly means to be one people, one nation, one Singapore.
“I pray for God’s special protection and covering over you. And may you be filled His renewed strength every morning when you wake, and be blessed with restoration and healing at the end of the day. Know that FCBC, together with Singapore, are upholding you in our prayers.”
A year before that, Apostle Khong helped to organise the Jubilee Day of Prayer, which saw 51,000 Christians gathering to pray at the Sports Hub. PM Lee was the guest-of-honour at the event, which preceded the 2015 General Election by just two months.
According to City News, “The highlight of the event for many was the arrival of Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Hsien Loong. The stadium erupted in deafening cheers of welcome and waving of Singapore flags when he and his wife, Ms Ho Ching, were announced. Mr Lee gamely took a photo of the crowd with his phone when he reached the stage.”
After a speech, in which PM Lee “showed off his knowledge” of the significance of the Jubilee to Christians, City News reports that “everyone rose to their feet and sang Aaronic Benediction (Misha Goetz) in English as a blessing upon the prime minister. This was followed by the recitation of the National Pledge.”
While PM Lee and the Khongs remain good friends, Lee Hsien Yang remains entangled in a bitter family feud with his brother. In 2017, the younger Mr Lee and his sister Lee Wei Ling publicly accused their elder brother of using organs of the state against them in 2017.
The younger siblings accused PM Lee of abusing his power to preserve their family home against their father’s willed desire to demolish the house, in order to bolster his grip on power, and claimed that the Government convened a secret committee to make a decision on the house.
PM Lee addressed the allegations against him in a Parliamentary debate where he declared that he has been cleared of all charges. Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang reinforced their allegations but offered a ceasefire in favour of settling the matter in private, so long as they nor their father’s will be misrepresented or attacked.
Instead of improving in the months that followed, the siblings’ relationship with PM Lee seemed to become even more fractured when the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) initiated legal action against Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s son over a private Facebook post before filing a complaint against Mr Lee’s wife to the Law Society over Lee Kuan Yew’s will.-/TISG