In the normal course of logic, when a person grows old he or she becomes more circumspect in speech and behaviour. But then sometimes there is an exception to this logic when you find a geriatric behaving pompously and bombastically and expecting his preachings to be accorded a regal reception. There are many Chinese sayings to portray such highfalutin individuals but suffice it to quote just one or two: All are too mean for his notice (目空一切) and Conceited and egoistic (自高自大).
In fact having made one gaffe after another in his comments on world as well as local affairs which were embarrassing, to say the least, to his prime minister son as well as to the Government, one would have thought that the former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew would simmer down and retire gracefully to a quiet affluent life to the relief of sceptical Singaporeans. But unfortunately this was not to be the case and his latest gaffe was to humiliate a PhD student of the Nanyang Technological University at a forum. Miss Joan Sim, who probably adored the former MM for what she thought was an inimitable eminent politician and statesman, naively asked him an innocent question about social cohesiveness. Instead of answering the question, the former MM baffled his audience by hubristically urging the PhD student, who is single, to stop wasting her time on her doctorate and find a boyfriend instead. That the surprised audience was shocked by his crass remarks could well be imagined, but the normally sedate Miss Sim could well have been knocked over with a feather from shock. Will Miss Sim still harbour any illusion of the former MM as a humane fatherly figure after this deplorable incident?
The President of the Association for Action and Research (AWARE) Ms Nicole Tan showed admirable courage in attacking the former MM Lee Kuan Yew's comments claiming that it "perpetuates sexist stereotype" and "belittling single women". She also slammed the PAP Government for not "walking the talk". For her adverse remarks against the former MM and the PAP Government, it would not be a surprise if the plucky Ms Nicole Tan finds her presidency being challenged. The netizens are equally critical of the former MM.
It should be well known by now that the highfalutin former MM takes a delight in bullying university students, especially NTU students, (Miss Sim's case is an example) and yet NTUSU and other student organisations seem to enjoy the antics of this blustering octogenarian. This is a fascinating phenomenon and one cannot help associating it with masochism. Does the former MM have a high opinion of university graduates whom he described as "educated but not bright"?
The question that is uppermost on everyone's mind is why does not PM Lee Hsien Loong do something to curb his father's impetuousity. The answer may be found in the saying that a leopard cannot change its spots. Then there is the question of filial piety towards the father which may inhibit any altruistic desire to act.