Lawrence Wong has taken the less than conventional pathway

Lawrence Wong has taken the less than conventional pathway. And he is not pedigree.

He was a divorcee. He married after, but has no kids. Except for VJC, he attended Haig Boys’ Primary and Tanjong Katong Secondary. He is not from RI, Hwa Chong or ACS. And his father is no politician or PM.

For 12 years before 2011, when he entered politics, Lawrence started out as an economist in MTI. He was “rejected by the prestigious Administrative Service,” and was not initially involved in policy work.

It reports that “his job was to crunch numbers, using economic models to analyse the likely impact of changes on the Singapore economy.”

As a typical young man, he said something many people his age now are able to identify with: “I figured…I can do exactly the same kind of economics work in the private sector too, and they are paying better. The thought did cross my mind: “Maybe I should just leave and join private sector, maybe a bank.””

Well, he nevertheless stayed on under the persuasion of his bosses, Mr Khaw Boon Wan and Mr Lim Siong Guan. In fact, KBW was later assigned to select the next 4G leader after HSK stepped aside due to health reasons.

In his interview with KBW, Lawrence recounted how it went: “(KBW) listened, he asked me some questions, and then at the end of it, he said: “There is a consensus emerging.””

That was it. He was picked. Though surprised, Lawrence said: “But we had been prepared for it because she (his wife) knew I was part of this process. And we knew that going into this we would accept the outcome of the process.”

“And if this is the result, then I would step up and I would take on the responsibility.”

He will be our nation’s fourth PM. Thus far, we have two Lees, a Goh and now a Wong.

On the next lap of our country’s journey, I note two realities after the passing of the baton.

First, we can expect continuity in leadership. It’s about building on what his predecessors have built upon.

“It is not so much that we are going to slay a sacred cow for the sake of doing so…But we are prepared to re-examine all our assumptions and consider, under different circumstances, different societal expectations and needs - what might we do differently,” Lawrence said.

I therefore trust that meritocracy, multiracial and multicultural harmony, and continuing to raise the economic tide for all are sacred cows that will be kept as they are.

For meritocracy, Lawrence aims to build “a country to be a place that embraces different pathways to success.” Schools will follow suit, with emphasis on diversity of talents, respecting different learning pace, and more tailored teaching methods and bonding styles.

We are on the right track in respect of keeping the harmony and unity of the country despite its diversity. Laws are enacted in response to external threats and the changing technological landscape, which has become more excitable and agitated of late. These laws stand sentry to remind citizens to respect boundaries.

And for economic growth, I believe it has always been the leadership’s most sacred cow. Economic downturns, high unemployment rate, wage stagnation and high inflation can be devastating for a country. Our strong fundamentals ought to keep us in good stead for the near future.

This brings me to the second reality. It’s part existential and part philosophical. It’s more personal. It’s about the 5Cs. It seems like there’s a change of tide and expectation.

According to Forward Singapore report released last October, “Singaporeans no longer focus on the “five Cs of condominium, car, cash, credit card and country card membership.””

Lawrence said that the good life is now “measured not by narrow metrics based on material success but also by meaning and purpose.”

He added: “I think these are very noble aspirations.”

In truth, I don’t really know how you rate or balance the 5Cs with these noble aspirations. Is it a priority issue? Which should come first, and which is still secretly coveted?

They are definitely not mutually exclusive, but in a highly unequal society, income and status (or material aspirations) are still the sacred cows some will have more of and some have less of. Our society is not only dislocated and fragmented by technology and AI, but the relentless pursuit of material possessions also keep us disjointed and fragmented.

I anticipate that this will be a tough nut to crack, that is, juggling between economic growth as first priority and hoping that our society will be satisfied/contented with what are noble aspirations. The raw reality is, there are many still struggling to catch up in a world where the unbridled material successes of the few are within a click of a button.

After all said, Lawrence ended the interview with this: “I do not have to write my legacy today. Hopefully, at the end of my time and tenure, I will leave people to write my legacy and what kind of a prime minister I am.”

Well, tbh, I wish he will be the kind who keeps the Solomon-like balance of things/goals, that is, between what is material success and what is noble aspiration, focus on those left behind or are struggling to catch up and give them hope and assurance, and develop his unique style of leadership that embodies the courage to deviate from the beaten path or the official script, even if it would invite stares and frowns from the status quo.


Micheal Han



16 Responses to “Lawrence Wong has taken the less than conventional pathway”

  • OMEN 1505:

    Pinky has created all these shit & pass them to the PM/FM Liangy Wong.

    “Inflationary pressures, a tumultuous geopolitical landscape and a staggered GST hike from 7% to 9% in the last two years — these, among other matters, have led to residents here feeling the pinch as prices in Singapore steadily increase.”

    What can he do to tackle it?

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  • Merci me:

    Will PM Wong consider granting a general amnesty for those detained under Operation Cold Store and Operation Spectrum for their ideologies and not proven to have plotted the use of arms to overthrow the government? It will mean so much to the survivors to have their records expunged and a symbolic rehabilitation for those passed on. No monetary compensation asked here, just a declaration from the PM. And it will make a bold start to his administration, signalling a generational shift from the LKY era of political combat and ‘hatchet in a cul-de-sac’.

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  • rice:

    At least,he knows how to nab a “pretty” lady.
    Hope,he delivers more than yakking only.
    Just an average PSC OVERSEAS scholar ,considered not as “atas” as Kee Chiu and the likes of General Umbrage?!

    Pls be humble and SERVE the common sgs,first.
    Pls be your own man if you can?
    God bless.

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  • 2Daft2Live:

    To be a good chess or board game player, you need just one thing i.e. to understand your opponent. Are they good players who can see several steps ahead i.e. have great foresight or are they mediocre players who can see only one or two steps ahead i.e. short-sighted in vision. What are their vested interests? To protect their gains or to make further inroads?

    So, is LW a short-sighted or far-sighted leader? What are his vested interests? If you know the answers to these 2 questions then you will know what is going to happen to SG in the next 5 years. Let me give a hint. To know if a leader is short or far sighted, you need to see if they correctly identify the underlying root cause(s) of a problem e.g. high COL. To know a leader’s vested interests is even easier. Just ask whether he is a selfish or selfless leader. A selfish leader has lots of hidden agenda but, sadly, none benefitting the common people. So, what do you think?

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  • OMEN 1505:

    In his maiden speech as newly minted PM, he said this motherhood statement which is good to hear!

    We see how focus he can be to help Singaporeans – the young, the adolescents, the adults, the aged, etc!

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  • @OMEN 1505

    I am sure there are 4D outlets in your neighborhood.

    May I suggest you go buy 1505, though remote but at least there is still a chance that it will kenna. lol

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  • Luwuganbob:

    His demeanour is amicable.

    His thoughts are clear.

    There was no pressure listening to his speeches.

    Have a very strong feeling that a good leader is emerging.

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  • opposition dude:

    Let’s be brutally honet on one thing, the PAP’s leaders have most certainly dropped off in terms of quality. Only the first 2 PMs were good, the 3rd one lost 2 GRCs, never won a GRC back and received an appropriate 60% vote share. They are just fooling themselves with all the glowing reports written about both the 3rd and 4th PMs. After all, they did the same exact thing pre pandemic with report after report about how the 4G were the best, how they were ready to take over at any time and so on. One Covid later, the 4G suddenly need more time. These idiots have never learned what contradiction means.

    So with the less than impressive 4G exposed for just how mediocre they really are the newspaper has to start from scratch again. We were told how well they tackled the pandemic but does the general public think so?

    Guitar Wong knows he isn’t any good, he is just good at talking like goondu Loong. But talking alone won’t get you anywhere because voters are suffering on the ground with no job security and the sky high cost of living. And people do not trust whatever you say because they can see through your smokescreen so it’s no surprise that the opposition got 40% of the votes.

    PAP’s arrogance comes through every single time after an election where they proudly proclaim that people want PAP in charge but want more opposition to check the PAP. So whatever happened to that airy fairy ownself check ownself and no blame culture then?

    I wonder what PAP will say when they are forced into a coalition government. Perhaps silly nonsense like the biggest opposition party in terms of parliament seats? I would not be surprised.

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  • Oxley:

    15 May 2024.
    The day when Lawrence Wong will be sworn in as the Fourth Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore.

    The questions are: as the new head of state:

    Is Lawrence Wong willing to step forth, disassociate himself and his entire party and the nation from the Oxley Road family dispute?

    Is Lawrence Wong willing to allow Lee Hsien Yang and his family to return to Singapore from exile, as free citizens and a true-blue, red-blooded family of Singapore?

    from the movie: The Rock (1996)

    John Mason: now offer to take THESE off (referring to the handcuffs)
    it would be a gesture of your good faith

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    LHL has successfully divided the people into two major groups. The 80% in Public Housing who are struggling with rising costs and the wealthy 20% who are still after the 5C and in many ways are the cause for the spiralling costs suffered by the 80%. LW was in the govt. supporting LHL. Will he now as PM begin the work of dismantling the suffocating hold of the 20% over the 80%? Only time will tell if he is a People’s PM or only a PAP party person.

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  • They ask for it.:

    Remember only 14% supported a non-pappy President. Therefore, most of the 80% are happy. Definitely not 80% are struggling. At least 66% of them are happy.

    SINGAROAR: LHL has successfully divided the people into two major groups. The 80% in Public Housing who are struggling with rising costs

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  • Nathan:

    It is not a glaring tell tale sign to you that Lawrence Wong had accepted not one but two Senior Ministers in his Cabinet? What are the roles of these SMs? Just an advisory role? Hahaha. The SM has extra- ministerial executive power more powerful than the PM should the occasion, situation and circumtance arises. Sure, be fair. Give Lawerence Wong and his government three months honeymoon, period. Time is tight before the next GE. Since when has GEs changes anything for anyone, here? The only predictable change you can expect after GE 2015 is a worse PAP government for another five years.

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  • No change:

    A typical “no-fault” report.
    Even a quick reading shows possible faults.

    1. Is the equipment adequate/faulty?
    2. Is the firefighting procedure wrong? Why is one man alone exploring deep into the vessel?
    3. Why the oxygen ran out and there was no alarm for the firefighter?

    OMEN 1505:
    BAD omen saga continues:

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  • VOTE:

    The Wong’s bloated way to govern which is unproductive!

    “Mr Philemon questioned the need for a large number of political appointees in a small country like Singapore, implying that such appointments may be excessive.”

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  • Oyangfen:

    Therefore in your mind, an island state of just @700 kilometres square, PM Mr Lawrence Wong alone should be able to manage!

    True or false?

    The Wong’s bloated way to govern which is unproductive!

    “Mr Philemon questioned the need for a large number of political appointees in a small country like Singapore, implying that such appointments may be excessive.”

    GD Star Rating

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