Singapore’s prime minister

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with 47 other nations at the Nuclear Security Summit this week. He stopped by Chicago Tonight to talk about Singapore and its relationship with the U.S.

Loong called the threat of nuclear terrorism a realistic possibility and pledged to play a constructive role to strengthen the nuclear safety regime. Read more about his visit to the U.S. and his meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton here.

Loong is the son of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew; he has served as prime minister in the country of nearly 5,000,000 people since 2004.

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14 responses to “Singapore’s prime minister”

  1. Bob Wolfson says:

    Dear Mr. Ponce:
    Always wanted to complement you on your demeanor and interviews. The conversation with the Prime Minister has finally gotten me to do it.
    Fascintating visit. Hope we have a young someone like him somewhere in our country who aspoires to the Presidency.
    Bob W.

  2. Ray Karr says:

    His family name is Lee. His given name is Hsien Loong. So you should refer to him as Lee.

  3. Ray Karr says:

    I don’t think most Americans could stomach living in an authoritarian one-party state like Singapore where they sue the opposition leaders to keep them quiet, and it’s illegal to hold a protest. The Lee family runs the country like their own personal fiefdom.

  4. Robert Hadnot says:

    Mr. Ponce,
    Listening to this prime Minister was a true pleasure, his likable common sense presentation about our city/country’s character and it’s relationship to Singapore’s way of governing was very satisfying! I must travel to Singapore in the near future to witness this country. Loong is an intelligent and solid leader in his country. Thanks for inviting him.

  5. x12831 says:

    Please do not be deceived by Lee’s presentation on your American TV. Singapore under the PAP is not a democracracy, it is an one-party authoritarian society and a dictatorship with a state-controlled press. It has a first world facade but a political system akin to autocracy. Meritocracy is a myth, and nepotism is rampant at the highest levels of government and public service. And the high salaries the ministers awarded themselves are basically a form of legislated corruption; the justification that ministers would stay out of corruption with high salaries is an oxymoron. For a alternative view of Singapore, please visit

  6. shame says:

    Read the news behind the news

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  7. Tommy K says:

    I’m sure many people holds similar views as Ray’s posts. But Singapore is NOT a part of America and I think Lee explained himself very well in this short interview.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  8. Tommy K says:

    the references to temasekreview site are obviously from local opposition supporters. there is no need for that in a Chicago news story. Singapore has continued to do well beyond international economic benchmarks. they succeeded without conforming to certain western ideals and that causes discomfort to some. but they did well.

  9. John C says:

    Lee has definitely made various good points and responded to Ponce’s questions very well. Singapore is truly a special place to visit. While there are allegations about nepotism and problems with high salaries of ministers, Lee has responded to that very well. I guess it is evident, with Singapore’s continued growth, low crime and cleanliness that Singapore is indeed well run so there is no criticizing Lee’s appointment as Prime Minister. While there may be a perceived lack of freedom and democracy, Singaporeans I have met are not afraid to share their views and do not get persecuted by them (as Lee mentioned, as long as what they say is true, it is fine). Either way, our culture is very different from that of Singapore and has many different challenges to deal with, and I believe it is unfair to expect other countries to follow our ideals.

  10. Desiree Koh says:

    I am Singaporean and I have lived in Chicago since 1996, though I’ve spent more time at home in the last two years.

    It’s true. I don’t like the administration at all. All the negative comments stated are true – it is not a democracy. The administration has ensconced itself as a socialist monarchy masquerading as a democracy. There is no freedom of speech, there is no such thing as an amendment. Any attempt to offer a different point of view is quashed almost immediately. You take it or leave it.

    That’s not without its advantages. Because there is little dissent, the country is run very well and our crime level is pittance compared to other first world countries. Poverty is minimal, the country is extremely clean and you hardly even noticed the recession last year. So many Singaporeans are jaded. They’re willing to give up many liberties for this comfortable life. Those who aren’t move to live in other countries. That is the one right we can exercise.

    But, give credit where it’s due. Prime Minister Lee’s leadership built Singapore from a colonial outpost to what we are today. That’s not an easy feat, especially when you see the state of our neighboring Southeast Asian countries today. And he only needed 30 years to do it. Yes, the size of Singapore, the country, is roughly the size of the city of Chicago. It’s a lot easier to run (rule?) a country when it’s not huge. But the transformation might not have been as seamless under lesser hands.

    So, take it however you like. You can leave it you want. Or if you stay, you accept it for what it is and you enjoy the bountifully prosperous life that comes with it.

    Just don’t try to beat the system.

    – John C: Singaporeans are happy to share their views and complain about the system, but they will never articulate it where it matters or can effect a change.
    – Robert Hadnot: There isn’t much of our heritage left in its true form in Singapore, sadly – much of it has been compromised for compromise and modernization. You can see it, but it’s packaged and Disneyfied. For a visitor, the positive effects of the PAP’s authority, apart from what I mentioned, are the signs prohibiting spitting and littering with the threat of a fine. People don’t love the country because they truly do – they do so in order not to have to break out their wallets. But the food! Oh, the food! That no one can deny the beauty of.

  11. Desiree Koh says:

    But! At least Singapore does not have a baseball team that hasn’t won a World Championship in 101 years, soon to be going on to 102! Ah, my poor blue heart.

  12. Desiree Koh says:

    I forgot to mention one thing about living under a government who does all the thinking for you – you tend to become a very conventional society in which people prefer the security of thinking and behaving like the majority, rather than carve an individual and independent path for themselves. Of course there are those who are not afraid to be different, but they are a rare breed in Singapore. There is no cutting edge in this country at all – if it exists, it is rather blunted by the anonymity of conformity.

    But again – the price you pay.

  13. Phillybean019 says:

    True, second chances for narcotic smugling don’t exist , but what good is freedom as we know it if you can’t walk the streets of our fair city at night for fear of attack. Or the good people in some bad neighborhoods that are held hostage in their homes due to the violent open air drug market that festers on thier corners? Did the founders of our country really write the constitution for the protection of violent narcotic trafficing gangs? What kind of security do we enjoy with the of lack of Democracy do we have here in Chicago?

  14. Kurtis Reed says:

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