Rereading the Best Articles on the 38 Oxley Road Saga

As the allegations among the Lee siblings abate (for now), let us take a step back and relook at articles which may help us make better sense of the escalating saga. Despite all the noise, no one can be certain of the facts. Rather than add to the speculation, perhaps it is best to stretch our lines of inquiry with a spectrum of readings.


Channel NewsAsia: What it takes for a historical landmark to be conserved or preserved
The Straits Times: 38, Oxley Road: Demolish, develop or preserve?
Reddit thread: ELI5 38 Oxley Rd dispute

Set aside for a moment what you think about keeping our founding father LKY’s wishes. Let’s try to first understand the existing policy guidelines on landmarks and the options for dealing with 38 Oxley Road. It is also useful to consider the various perspectives in the Reddit thread, addressing the younger Lee siblings’ claims that PM Lee intends to keep the house for his own political capital.

38 Oxley Road Lee Family Home

The site of contention. [Credit: The Straits Times]


Mothership: 10 common sense quotes by Low Thia Khiang in parliament about Oxley Road saga
Mothership: In a Parliament full of youthful faces, 3 veteran politicians made the most sense
PAP website: 38 Oxley Road – Parliament Highlights 3 July 2017

WP leader Low Thia Khiang was absolutely right in pointing out the hypocrisy of “Own siblings cannot sue… But political opponents and critics, sue until your pants drop!” While ESM Goh’s dismissive response (“As for Tang Liang Hong, he’s not my brother”) confirmed Low’s logic, one can be politically opposed while remaining personally sympathetic to PM Lee’s position. Finally, while “ownself check ownself” never sounds good, it’s vital to check our instinctive doubts against the actual performance of PAP members.

Low Thia Khiang Goh Chok Tong Parliament

GCT: “I expected that.” LTK: I did not expect that. [Credit: Mothership]


The Middle Ground: FamiLEE saga: Putting aside fraternal feelings
The Straits Times: How to respond to threats with more than fight or flight

As our emotions run high alongside those of the Lee siblings, it’s easy to forget that PM Lee is a person first, and a politician second. It’s also easy to forget that we can never be fully rational. Our positions on this saga are inevitably shaped by pre-existing opinions, and this is also true for the Lee siblings. The TMG article inserts us into the messy conundrum between logic and empathy, while the ST article provides a distanced view from an SMU psychologist.

Lee Kuan Yew and Children

How will this saga pan out? [Credit: SCMP]

Of course, an open mind is kept under the pretext that there is no wrongdoing. Which, for me at least, is a clear stance to adopt at this point. Given their open aggression, the younger Lee siblings should have sued if they had incriminatory evidence. The Parliament may be no ideal setting for judgments on unknown facts, but PM Lee’s restraint is justifiable when we see him as an eldest sibling.

Taking this case in isolation, as all court judgments go, he ought to be innocent unless proven guilty.

Socio Empath

Hi, my name is Eugene. I am a Sociology graduate from the National University of Singapore. This blog is an invitation: To see our selves as colored by cultures, and to brighten the colors of our society. I seek to help you create freedom in everyday life, with empathy and the sociological imagination.

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