SINGAPORE: Several netizens are asking why Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s wife stayed mum when her nephew Li Shengwu was awarded the prestigious Sloan Research fellowship earlier this year, after Mdm Ho made post after post heaping praises on Hollywood star Michelle Yeoh for her historic best actress Oscars win.

Mdm Ho, an avid Facebook user, appreciated all of the major winners of the 95th Academy Awards on her page but her praise for Michelle Yeoh was mammoth in comparison. She devoted a whopping 30 posts on her page celebrating the Ipoh-born actress.

Most of the posts were shared from other pages, without comment, while some had short captions like “yay!” or “bravo!” A few posts were accompanied by a strings of heart, clap and sparkle emojis.

The PM’s wife also put up at least two posts with lengthy captions, expressing just how proud she is of Ms Yeoh. In one post, she praised the members of Ms Yeoh’s family in Singapore, like Ms Yeoh’s granduncle and former ruling party MP Dr Yeoh Ghim Seng, but conspicuously left out ex-GIC chief economist and Government critic Dr Yeoh Lam Keong.

In another post, she rebutted some netizens’ view that Malaysia shouldn’t take credit for Ms Yeoh’s success. Mdm Ho said, “Of course, Malaysia should feel proud of Michelle Yeoh.
After all, Malaysia recognised her as a Tan Sri well before her Oscar award.

“And of course, her extended family and friends, and friends of family and friends of friends all want to send congratulations – they are all proud of her. And women and Asians, all feel proud of her.”

Speaking of how Ms Yeoh has contributed to good causes, she added: “She has given hope and confidence to many through her own personal example of remaining grounded amidst success. May she continue to inspire many many others to make of life as best as they can.”

While many netizens have shared in Mdm Ho’s joy, some others are asking why she did not publicly praise her own nephew when he recently won a prestigious award no Singaporean ever has before.

One Facebook user Joyce DC said, “Wait a minute, What about our recent achievement by LKY’s grandson, Shengwu? Think a congratulatory note here is more relevant here.”

Another netizen, Douglas Cheng, quipped: “Own nephew won awards never congratulations yet can congratulate Michelle Yeoh. What a great auntie.”

Mr Li Shengwu is a highly accomplished mathematician who has made significant contributions to his fields of study. His work has earned him numerous awards and recognition, and he is widely regarded as one of the most promising young scholars in his field.

Mr Li, who serves an assistant professor of economics at Harvard University in the US, is the first Singaporean inducted into the Harvard Society of Fellows. Last month, he became the very first Singaporean to be awarded the prestigious Sloan Research Fellowship – a highly competitive award that has been conferred upon many prominent researchers over the years.

As the oldest son of Lee Hsien Yang – founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s youngest son – Mr Li is the nephew of current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Mdm Ho.

Despite their close blood relationship with Mr Li, both the PM, his wife and their children remained silent as news of his Sloan Research Fellowship award broke. The ongoing Lee family feud is likely to blame for the silence.

The public dispute between Lee Kuan Yew’s sons took a new turn just a few weeks ago when the Government announced that Lee Hsien Yang and his wife Lee Suet Fern are under a police probe.

Despite the tension within the family, some netizens have suggested that PM Lee and Mdm Ho could have put their differences with Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s family aside to post a small message of congratulations for Mr Li’s latest achievement. He has, after all, brought pride to Singapore.