Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lee Hsien Loong

Lee Hsien Loong (born 10 February 1952) is the third and current Prime Minister of Singapore, and the eldest son of Singapore's first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew.

A member of the People's Action Party (PAP), Lee became Prime Minister in August 2004, succeeding Goh Chok Tong. He has been a Member of Parliament (MP) since 1984 and a member of the Cabinet since 1987, and was one of the key leaders in Singapore's politcal transition in the 1980s and 1990s. Before becoming Prime Minister he served as the Minister for Trade and Industry, Minister for Finance and Deputy Prime Minister. Prior to his election to Parliament, he served as an officer in the Singapore Armed Forces, rising to the rank of Brigadier-General.

Background and Education
The eldest child of Lee Kuan Yew and Kwa Geok Choo, Lee Hsien Loong was born in Singapore on 10 February 1952. His grandmother, Chua Jim Neo, was a Hokkien Nyonya, and his mother has ancestry from Tong'an District, Xiamen, in the Fujian province of China. According to Lee Kuan Yew's biography, the young Lee had learned Jawi script from the age of five, and has always been interested in the affairs of Singapore, often following his father to the rally grounds since 1963.

Lee studied at Nanyang Primary School and received his secondary education at Catholic High School, before going on to National Junior College (where he learned the clarinet under the tutelage of Adjunct Associate Professor Ho Hwee Long). In 1971, he was awarded a President's Scholarship and Singapore Armed Forces Overseas Scholarship by the Public Service Commission to study in the United Kingdom at Cambridge University, where he read Mathematics at Trinity College. He graduated in 1974 with First Class Honours in Mathematics and a Diploma in Computer Science (with distinction). In 1980, he completed a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

From 2008 to 2012, Lee Hsien Loong earned an annual salary of S$3,870,000 (US$2,856,930), an increase of 25% from the previous S$3,091,200 (US$2,037,168). In January 2012, Lee Hsien Loong took a 28% paycut reducing his salary to S$2.2 million (US$1.7 million). He remains the highest-paid premier in the world.

Personal life
Lee's first wife, Malaysian-born doctor Wong Ming Yang, died on 28 October 1982 of a heart attack, three weeks after giving birth to Lee's first son Li Yipeng, an autistic albino. In 1985, Lee married Ho Ching, a fast-rising civil servant who subsequently became the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Holdings. They have one daughter and three sons, including one daughter and son from Lee's first wife. (The oldest son of Ho Ching, Li Hongyi, was the winner of the Lee Kuan Yew Award for Math & Science in 2006, the same year he was commissioned as an officer in the Singapore Armed Forces.)

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