OnePacificNews, November 16, 2018, Friday

The Singapore government is making plans to promote its next generation of leaders to eventually succeed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and senior members of his cabinet.

Of late, it’s not been going too well for the 66-year-old leader who has been in office since 2004.

Concerns over his health have been revived since he dramatically fainted during the live telecast of his national day speech in August 2016. Earlier, Mr Lee had been diagnosed with cancer.

Last year, a brewing family quarrel pitching the prime minister and his wife against his younger brother and sister burst into full public view. The open washing of dirty private secrets shocked the nation, particularly for its largely conservative ethnic Chinese population who make up the bulk of its 5.6 million people.

In the midst of the country’s anxious search for its next leader, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came to Singapore at the invitation of Mr Lee to attend the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit.

Singaporeans were surprised to learn that Mr Trudeau is a direct descendant of William Farquhar, their country’s first British Resident and Commandant when it came under British colonial rule in 1819. Mr Faquhar held those positions till 1823.

The winsome Mr Trudeau has proved popular with his host as shown by his interaction with the audience of over 400 at the National University of Singapore. There was no need for him to pitch multiculturalism’s virtues as Singapore has long been a haven for and symbol of multiculturalism’s success.

As Singapore marks its 200th anniversary founding by the British in 1819, there could be a case for Mr Trudeau to become Singapore’s next Prime Minister. It would mark the return of a long-lost son. Mr Trudeau is young (46 years old), internationally recognized, good-looking, and pre-disposed to building bridges across cultural divide. Singapore has a long history of being ruled by white men, so Mr Trudeau won’t present much of a culture shock. He’s not popular with Canada’s conservatives, so they won’t mind shipping him out to Singapore.

Looks like a win-win trade.
Trudeau’s family connection to Singapore revealed as he makes case for multiculturalism
Trudeau fields questions at the “Canada and Asia in a Changing World” dialogue held in the University Cultural Centre of the National University of Singapore on Nov 15, 2018.
15 NOVEMBER, 2018