Kenneth Lin: A conversation with Mr Lui Tuck Yew

EDITOR’s NOTE: The following is a conversation that Kenneth Lin recalled having with RAdm(NS) Lui Tuck Yew, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts and an MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC.

NOTE (added 09 Jan): This is reproduced with permission from Kenneth Lin. All those who wish to reproduce this MUST seek Kenneth’s permission.

By Kenneth Lin (Source: Facebook)
08 Jan 2011

I was invited to a “Scholarship and Bursary awards” ceremony organised by CDC and CCC at Catholic Junior College to receive a $650 cheque for being one of the Top 5 in my class. I was reluctant to attend it, but then decided that the money could be put to good use for others. After the entire ceremony was over, I waited for the crowd to disperse before approaching Mr Lui Tuck Yew. Up front, he seemed polite and gentlemanly, with a friendly attitude.

“Hi Mr Lui, I’m Kenneth. You know, I’ve stayed at Tanjong Pagar GRC all my life – 16 years – but this is the first time I’m meeting you!”

“Where do you stay?”

“Jalan Rajah”

“I’ve visited that area quite recently you know. A few months back…” Mr Lui turns to his adviser and bodyguards, and they shook their heads in response.

“What block?”


“Oh, 107..”

“What school are you from?”

“St. Andrew’s Secondary.”

“Do you take any sports? What’s your CCA?”


“Were you from the Junior School as well?”


“So you were from the Junior School choir as well?”


“You know, the Junior School choir is very good, I went to hear them sing before, really good. Like the Vienna Boys Choir. The coach is very good. What’s his name…..”

“Mr Francis Liew”

“Oh ya ya! Very good.”

He goes on talking about how magnificent the coach is and asked me about my trips, etc…

“And how is the secondary school choir? Are you all doing well?”

(smiles)”Not really.”

“You all have the Youth Festival this year right?”


“Oh I see.”

At this point, I realised we side-tracked too far.

“So Mr Lui, I actually tried to visit you at your Meet-the-Peoples’ session last year. Because I read an article in the papers that said that Singaporeans do not know how to engage their MPs on political issues. The author suggested we make use of the Meet-the-Peoples’ Session to do so.”

“What did you see me about?”

“Since you are the Minister of Information, I assume you’re in charge of censorship and all that in Singapore. So I wanted to ask why certain videos online, such as Lim Hock Siew’s video, was banned.”

“We banned it because we don’t want these people to re-write history. You know he was charged and detained?”

“Yes, but he wasn’t ever tried in a court, he was detained under the ISA, which allows for detainment without trial.”

“Yes, the ISA. You know after the September 11 attacks, countries such as the US now don’t question the other countries’ use of detainment without trial? Because they themselves need such an act, because they can’t charge prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, can’t just release them into the streets. So we need the ISA.”

I didn’t want to debate about the ISA at this moment, so I moved on.

“So anyway, I waited for about 1-2 hours at the Meet-the-Peoples’ session before being rejected and told that you only attend to people with Bread-and-Butter issues.”

“Well, yes, I only have time for those issues, because there are many cases and we normally have to say until very late, like 11pm. So you have to ask yourself, which is more important, the peoples’ issues or just normal questions.”

“So, the author of that article was wrong?”

“Yes, probably.

“So, is there a platform for Singaporeans to engage their MPs in political issues?”

“Well, you can organise a forum or function and invite us, and we’ll attend IF WE SEE IT’S WORTHWHILE“(emphasis added)

“Okay. Thanks.”

I went towards my classmate to ask which way he was heading home, and took out my iPhone to check my email. I noticed Mr Lui’s adviser telling him something in private, and was just about to leave when Mr Lui approached me again, only this time, looking quite angry.

“Did you take a recording with your phone(of our discussion)??”

“No, you want to check?”

“I don’t need to check. Are you a member of the SDP?”


“Cause you were in one of the SDP videos. Don’t go one big round, just come out with what you’re doing.”(The last sentence was a bit incomprehensible, so I only post snippets of what I remembered him saying.)

All this time, I just stood there and smiled. The impresssion of a polite and friendly Mr Lui I got when I met him disappeared, as he showed me how threatening he really was. As I turned to leave, all his bodyguards were dangerously looking at me.

DISCLAIMER: I did not at all take a recording of the conversation I had with Mr Lui. All these words were recalled by me, and are therefore subject to error. However, the meaning and message of each sentence is still fairly accurate.

20 comments on Kenneth Lin: A conversation with Mr Lui Tuck Yew

  1. I am quite surprised that a Minister or MP would talk like that ! I find it odd that he seems to be at odds with what he is saying.

    Firstly, what is exactly wrong if one is a member of SDP or any opposition party for that matter. Does it mean that he everytime he wants to bother himself answering any question, he needs to ask what political party does one belong ?
    Maybe I suggest when he goes canvassing for votes during the next coming Election, he better ask the voter which party they would vote before he offers to shake their hands ! Otherwise it would only be a pure waste of his time and efforts shaking the hands of those voters who are not going to vote for him in the first place.

    Secondly, why does he see the need to emphasize that the US no longer question other countries’ use of detainment without trial ? What has our ISA laws have to do with the US in the first place ? Obviously he could not provide a valid and rational explanation of MDA’s censorship of Dr. Lim’s political speech ?

    Thirdly, the MDA has already admitted that Dr. Lim Hock Siew’s political speech contains half-truths. So there must be at least some truth in what Dr. Lim Hock Siew told us in his speech. If part of it is at least true, does that not form part of our history ? What is he trying to hide to prevent the truths in the half-truths of the political speech from being part of our history ?

    From the way he speaks up his mind, I think his intelligence is only so so. Really far from the reality that they say they are worth so much more !

  2. Interesting how Lui’s (intelligence) adviser was able to recall that you were in one of SDP’s online videos.

  3. Lui and company are precisely some of those dogs that were bred by the pigs in Animal Farm.

    It is impossible to dismiss the fact that the pap in well on the way to entrance itself by creating a ‘ruling class’ much like the royalties in pre-French Revolution.

    We all know what the people had to do to rid themselves of the yoke of slavery, domination and repression by the ruling class. In the world of human emancipation only the power that comes from the barrel of a gun can do the trick to quote one very famous Asian.

  4. Lui and company are precisely some of those dogs that were bred by the pigs in Animal Farm.

    It is impossible to dismiss the fact that the pap in well on the way to entrench itself by creating a ‘ruling class’ much like the royalties in pre-French Revolution.

    We all know what the people had to do to rid themselves of the yoke of slavery, domination and repression by the ruling class. In the world of human emancipation only the power that comes from the barrel of a gun can do the trick to quote one very famous Asian.

  5. Hehe….

    Me believes that many Singaporeans are wondering how Lui had been able to be a commander in the army.


  6. 16 year old only. be careful next time targetted by PAP…there goes your life.

    don’t act hero. be safe than sorry.

    and then kenneth lin, the dog, will say,”i stand up to my beliefs, what about you? i serve for the good of the people, what about you?”

    my answer is “take care little boy, all the best and good luck.”

  7. Kenneth, good for u! I am collecting these encounters for my journalist friends to see if they can track the stories and send them to print!

  8. Kenneth, good for u! Some may tell u be careful. I will tell u be brave and stand up for what u think should be done for this country. The demographics and landscape have changed and if pple are detained or publicly marked for this, it will only show the govt’s small-mindedness, not fervor to uphold national security.

  9. Kenneth, I am not a PAP supporter, but I don’t believe what you’ve recalled either (you’ve probably added a bit of salt and pepper to spice up the favour). I think no sane politicians will talk, response or act in the same manner as you’ve described.

    It is one thing to expose others’ idiocies, but another to tell lies to discredit someone, which is my impression of what SDP is always capable of doing versus the other opposition parties.

    You inner conscience will be the best judge to know whether you’ve lied…or not! But if you do not have one, nothing can help!

  10. Omg, I am so disappointed in the PAP’s calibre. I hope this is not true, cause if it is, I really am concerned for our future.

  11. Kenneth, stay strong, be brave. Just be careful with what you are talking because there are plentiful of ‘spies’ for the ruling party around just waiting for you to make a mistake. For those who are laughing at you, for those who still haven’t woke up, let them still be SLAVES and let them bow low with no backbone to stand up for the right of the peoples.
    Whether you are from SDP or WP or RP or etc, let us stay united. The ruling party has been painting a very nice pictures since Primary to Secondary to JC to the Uni. We have all be brain-washed. Saying the pledge every morning is one of them. What is ‘a democratic society based on justices’ ??????? Our media (the TV, Radio and the Newspapers) are controlled by the ruling party. Are the Opposition Parties given a fair coverage ???

    Kenneth Lin, how I wish your friends, your classmates and schoolmates, boys and girls around your age-group are as mature as you. Why such a small nation are the Ministers paid so so so hgh and much more than the US President ? To be MPs, the purpose is to serve the peoples, not going for the big hugh salary.

    Since the Govt believes that foreign talents are good for the country, then, can we have a foreign President, like Mr Obama, to be our President or the British Prime Minister to be our Prime Minister. They are talented too.

  12. If you are not from the SDP, say so! Anyway I really don’t get the logic of how a secondary school student can be in a political party. Is it paranoia of the opposition generalised to all who show even slight dissent?

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