The Chinese saying :xuan bin duo zhu (喧宾夺主）is more scathing in its Chinese form than its English rendering "usurping the role of the host". And in the Chinese society there could be example of social occasions which ended up with one party accusing the other party or person with this saying. It has an unpleasant connotation which could have a lingering effect on the receiving party or person for quite a while.
The Straits Times and the Media Corp could have, whether unwittingly or not, played the role of portraying our eminent PM Lee Hsien Loong as a usurper of the role of the Indonesian host President Susilo Banbang Yudhoyuno. The Straits Times and Media Corp had been giving prominent daily reports of the speeches of PM Lee at the ASEAN/East Asia Summit in Bali, Indonesia to the diminution of other world leaders, especially President Yudhoyuno. You opened the Straits Times every morning and you could see nothing but PM Lee Hsien Loong said this or he said that and very little of what other world leaders said at the Summit. One could not help getting the impression that PM Lee was the host of the Summit and that he was actually running the show. The Indonesian Ambassador here could not have failed to notice this phenomenon as it was so glaring. President Yudhoyuno could hardly be amused but being a magnanimous person he could not be expected to show any displeasure. But Indonesians have a long memory.
We now come back to the role of the Straits Times. The public perception that it is the propaganda organ of the PAP Government is never too far-fetched. And the chairman of the Singapore Press Holdings who exercises tight control of the Straits Times and other vernacular newspapers is described as the spin doctor. So to counter the pro-government propaganda that the Straits Times disseminates, there is a proliferation of the social media which provide an alternative source of news to the public. Because what they print is not complimentary to the Government, there is now an intention on the part of the Government to curb the influence of the social media by legislation, although still at a preliminary stage. The Internet played no small part in the PAP's loss of the Aljunied GRC and reduction of the total percentage of the votes garnered in the General Election in May this year.
There is really nothing wrong in PM Lee Hsien Loong's ambition to portray himself as an outstanding politician among ASEAN and world leaders at the ASEAN/EastAsia Summit or in any international forum. But it shows political sagacity that this is done without any tendency of one-upmanship.