Can there be a more squirmy occasion than when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong extolled his old man as a unique and one and only Minister Mentor before a gullible University student audience at the National University of Singapore Cultural Centre on the night of 5 April? PM Lee listed his eminent father's contributions as in terms of his stature, in terms of his network, in terms of his weight which people give to what he says and concluded by saying that he is a very precious resource. It is quite natural, being MM Lee's anointed son to follow his father's footstep to become prime minister, to extol his father's so-called virtue.
PM Lee took special precaution to avoid mentioning the considerable number of booboos committed by his eminent father. He had also taken the trouble to avoid mentioning the constant vitriolic criticisms that MM Lee received at the hands of the new media, in particular the criticism that MM Lee is drawing $3m plus of the taxpayers' money annually for doing nothing but "forecasting" in his own words. There were also frequent calls in the internet that he should retire and not waste the taxpayers' money. These disclosures would give a lie to PM Lee's sentimental statement that his father is a unique Minister Mentor.
In fact MM Lee is an incorrigible highfalutin character who often opened his big mouth to make booboos to the chagrin and embarrassment of his prime minister son, only the latter will find it unfilial to show it. Before the American presidential election in 2008, MM Lee appeared to be disdainful about the prospects of the black American candidate Mr. Barack Obama becoming an American President. He described Mr. Barack Obama as a "flash in the pan". He was rooting for the white candidate Mr. John McCain and considered the election of a black American President to be apocalyptic. President Obama is a magnanimous person and when MM Lee unabashedly entreated a meeting with the President in October 2009, he was overwhelmed when President Obama described him as "one of the legendary figures of Asia". That made him look rather foolish after calling Mr. Barack Obama a "Flash in the pan".
Another booboo of the Minister Mentor occurred in 2009. He made deleterious comments in the National Geographic magazine in which he protrayed Sigaporeans as less hard-driving and hard-striving so that it became necessary for the Singapore government to bring in Chinese immigrants as a counter-measure. This caused a furore in Singapore.
His latest gaffe is his disparaging comments on the Singapore Malays/Muslims in his much-hyped but doubtful repute book:Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going. He commented that other communities have easier integration than Muslims because they tend to be "distinct and separate". This caused an uproar in the Malay/Muslim community with the Association of Malay Professionals (AMP) coming out in a scathing attack on the Minister Mentor. It was up to the Prime Minister to issue a statement dissociating the government from MM Lee's disparaging comments. It had taken MM Lee more than a month to come out reluctantly with a statement to say "I stand corrected" but no apology. Whether the Malay ground was convinced of the sincerity of MM Lee's belated statement was a moot point.
PM Lee is right in saying that his eminent father is a unique Minister Mentor but unique in making booboos. In this respect he has no equal and it will be an insult to the intelligence of the electorate if he is nominated to stand in the General Election.