Surprise! 8 Interesting Things You Didn’t Know About PM Lee!

Despite being a well-known public figure, there are always things about PM Lee that surprise us. Take a look at the list and see if any of it has made you do a double take.

1. He learned the Jawi script since he was five

[caption id="attachment_4579" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: The Malaysian Times[/caption]

Not much is said about the tidbit, but according to the biography of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, he wanted PM Lee to learn Malay in the original Jawi script. The reason? He thought it would be helpful to use “on the local or international scene”.

When I was five, my only habit was walking into a glass door accidentally.

This means that PM Lee speaks fluent English, Mandarin, and Malay. Word is, he also has considerable knowledge in Russian.

2. He used to play the clarinet

[caption id="attachment_4581" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: Your Space Music Lessons[/caption]

Academics aside, PM Lee also has a musical background. During his time at National Junior College, he played the unconventional clarinet. His mentor was none other than the Associate Professor Ho Hwee Long, a beloved and respected figure in the music field.

3. He was one of the recipients of the President’s Scholarship in 1970

[caption id="attachment_4586" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: Visual Hunt[/caption]

Just so you know, PM Lee was also awarded the Singapore Armed Forces Overseas Scholarship in 1971 to study mathematics at Cambridge University.

[caption id="attachment_4873" align="aligncenter" width="600"] (
PM Lee’s Facebook)[/caption]

4. He was one of the top mathematics undergraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge University

[caption id="attachment_4582" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: Trinity College Google+[/caption]

It’s safe to say that PM Lee is a math whiz. Because, word is, the undergraduate mathematics course in Trinity is a killer. Besides his achievements in the numbers field, PM Lee also graduated with a B.A. with first-class honours and a diploma with distinction in computer science in 1974.

5. If he weren’t in politics, he would be a lecturer

[caption id="attachment_4837" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: Lee Hsien Loong Facebook page[/caption]

You would think that if PM Lee weren’t in politics, he would work in the computer science field. But that’s not the case at all. During a Q&A session on Facebook, he revealed that he would like to work as a teacher or lecturer, citing, “It is fun to interact with young people.”

Hmm, maybe a Computer Science lecturer?

6. He shares a birthday with Big Nose Hyung

[caption id="attachment_4580" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: Drama Fever[/caption]

Or should I say, Race Starter. South-Korean comedian Ji Suk-jin and PM Lee were both born on the 10th of February; the former was born in 1966, while the latter 1952. I bet this tidbit tickles your funny bone — especially if you’re a hardcore Running Man fan.

7. He’s into coding

[caption id="attachment_4577" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: Lee Hsien Loong Facebook page[/caption]

By now, most of us would know that PM Lee has a coding background, but did you know that he’s the only world leader who can code?

Back on May 2015, PM Lee revealed in a Facebook post that he wrote a Sudoku solver. Not only did he share his passion, but his coding chops were also clearly shown.

When he visited the Facebook headquarters in America, Mark Zuckerberg gave him an artwork box adorned with the lines from a computer programme PM Lee himself wrote!

If you want to poke around his creation, here’s the link to the file on Google Drive. It’s official: geek is the new cool.

8. He’s the highest paid Prime Minister in the world

[caption id="attachment_4578" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: Statista[/caption]

Despite taking a 28% pay cut, PM Lee still remains the highest paid political leader in the world. According to various sources, he was earning S$3,870,000 a year between 2008 to 2012. Currently, he earns S$2,200,000 a year.

Take a look at the infographic above, he’s even knocked Barack Obama out of the park.

Did this list surprise you? What are some interesting things you think we should know about PM Lee? Don’t forget to let us know on Facebook!

Source: From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000 & Biography Your Dictionary

(Featured image credit: World Economic Forum)

Also read: What Would Singapore Government Agencies’ Slogans Be If They Were Honest?

20 Wildly Fun Outing Activities In Singapore Under S$19 – Most Are Free!

Singapore is a small country, and it’s certainly not boring. It just means that you have to look harder. More often than not, it’s about entertaining yourself in the place you live in. If you prefer not to spend too much money to travel across another continent, Discover SG’s got you covered.

1. Go hiking at The Southern Ridges

[caption id="attachment_2936" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Image credit: Pitt Urban Studies in Singapore[/caption]

Free admission

Ditch your pumps and Birkenstock, and opt for a pair of sensible footwear to have a stab at hiking down The Southern Ridges. At 10km long, it’s the hot new favourite place for history aficionados, nature lovers and selfie buffs.

2. Volunteer at SPCA

[caption id="attachment_2937" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: SPCA Singapore[/caption]

Free admission

SPCA is always on the lookout for helpers and dog walkers to advocate their animal welfare cause. If you’re an animal lover, consider volunteering at the shelter to make a pup’s day. You’re going to go home with a sense of accomplishment.

3. Marvel at the flowers in Singapore Botanic Gardens

[caption id="attachment_2938" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: Your Singapore[/caption]

Free admission

Here’s something you probably haven’t heard of: picnics are back in fashion. They’re so popular that there are companies here selling packed baskets! If your money is a wee tight, treat it as a DIY project. Set a time, pick a shady spot and I guarantee you’ll have butt-loads of fun.

4. Window-shop at Haji Lane

[caption id="attachment_2940" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: Expat Living[/caption]

Free admission

There’s something about Haji Lane. The quirky knick-knacks, the timeless fashion apparels, the aesthetically pleasing little shops. It’s a must-visit for every Singaporean (and tourist). Get a sneak peek at the charming town and its must-visit stores here.

5. Make googly eyes at the fishes at Qian Hu Fish Farm

[caption id="attachment_2941" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: Qian Hu Fish[/caption]

Free admission

If you don’t know who Kenny Yap is, I, well, let’s leave it at that. Qian Hu, famous for its Dragon fishes, has been around the block since the late nineties. The fish farm may not be as glitzy as Orchard Road, but it still has its own rustic charm.

6. Watch a free movie outdoors

[caption id="attachment_2942" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: Movie Mob By Ape[/caption]

Free admission

A free outdoors drive-in movie screening? It certainly beats shivering uncontrollably in the cinema. Movie Mob was launched in 2009 and seven years later, it’s still going strong. Join their mailing list to get the first deets.

also read: Image credit: Mind Blowing Trip[/caption]

We’ve oohed and ahhed while we were in the Singapore Flyer capsule, but how many of us have actually experienced the Tiger Sky Tower? Not many of us, I’d presume. It’s not too late to have a go. Tickets cost S$18 for adults and S$10 for children.

8. Forget hipster cafes, dine at hawker centres instead

[caption id="attachment_2944" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: Northern Sights[/caption]

Estimated cost: >S$4.50

Ice-cream waffles? Nah, I’ll take unconventional local cuisine any day. Here are some recommendations to get you started on your foodie trip:

  • Seletar Nam Hoe’s Bak Kut Teh at the Hainanese Village Food Centre
  • Guang Liang Cooked Food’s Kway Chap at Bedok Reservoir Road Market & Food Centre
  • Soup Kambing Haji M. Abdul Razak’s Mutton Soup at Upper Boon Keng Road Market and Food Centre

9. Test your endurance at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

[caption id="attachment_2945" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: Angie and James Do Stuff[/caption]

Free admission

Get away from the hustle and bustle, and escape to Singapore’s first ASEAN Heritage Park to rewind. The rich biodiversity is something to behold. I wouldn’t be surprised if you stop to smell the flowers. Oh yeah, that Komodo dragon that’s staring at you like food? Don’t worry, it won’t kill you. It’s a water monitor lizard.

also read: Image credit: Today Online[/caption]

Free admission (duh)

Say whatever you want about Stephenie Meyer (Twilight series), but you’ve got to admit it, she’s made reading cool again. If you’re looking for quality me-time, get on the bus and head to the library. Design fanatics can’t go wrong with [email protected] or Jurong Regional Library, and YA (young adult fiction) buffs should not miss Queenstown Public Library for its impressive collection.

11. Admire the greenery at Gardens by the Bay

[caption id="attachment_2947" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: Wikipedia[/caption]


You don’t have to spend a bomb at Gardens by the Bay. You can enjoy free admission for most of the sights. Take The World of Plants, Dragonfly and Kingfishers Lakes, Heritage Gardens and Sun Pavilion for instance. They’re enough to keep you entertained.

12. Rub shoulders with animals at Farmart Centre

[caption id="attachment_2948" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: Farmart Centre[/caption]

Free admission

If you appreciate casual dining and low-maintenance relaxation, look no further than Farmart Centre. You can have a prawning contest with your mates or feed the farm animals. Price: free, unless you end up going home with a puppy.

13. Attempt the humongous climbing structure at Woodlands Waterfront Park

[caption id="attachment_2949" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: White as Milk[/caption]

Free admission

Any children — or adult — will want to try this out. If playgrounds aren’t your cup of tea, grab your bikes, skateboards or fishing rods. What’s interesting about Woodlands Waterfront Park is that there’s a restaurant located at the jetty. Who knew?

14. Turn back the hands of time at Creative Art Corner (or Timezone)

[caption id="attachment_2950" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: 许恩熙[/caption]

Cost: >S$8

Create art with a cotton swab and toothpick! An activity like this will hit you with the nostalgia bomb. If you can’t stand art, grab your pals and head down to the arcade (price varies). It’s much more satisfying than being cooped up alone in home playing Call Of Duty on your Xbox 360.

15. Dance with coconuts at Bollywood Veggies

[caption id="attachment_2951" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: Bollywood Veggies[/caption]

Well, I don’t know if there are coconuts at the farm, but the name ‘Bollywood’ certainly brings the fruit to mind. The lush greenery is a marvel and reminds us to take a step back from our fast-paced, urban lifestyle. Entrance fee costs S$2. Admission is free for kids under 12 and seniors over 60.

also read:  Image credit: National Parks[/caption]

Free admission

Alexandra Canal Linear Park is like a pearl oyster. At first glance, there’s not much to look at. Look further and you’d feel like you’ve been had. If you spend ample time at the park, you’d see that there’s a rope playground and a scaled-down skate park for skateboarding enthusiasts.

17. Feed the animals at The Animal Resort

[caption id="attachment_2953" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit:[/caption]

Free admission

The Animal Resort is another lesser-known place in Singapore. Think of it as a mini zoo. You get to feed the animals, see what it’s like for a pet to get a haircut, and witness a dog training ground.

18. Sneak into The Library & have a drink

[caption id="attachment_2954" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: Popspoken[/caption]

Not much is known about The Library, except that it’s as secretive as hosting an underground supper club. What makes the bar so intriguing is that it’s by appointment only and guarded by a secret pass code. One writer at Popspoken recommends the Wonky Donkey ($17).

19. Get over your fear of heights at the Treetop Walk

[caption id="attachment_2961" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: National Parks[/caption]

Free admission

To any acrophobic, attempting the Treetop Walk is as frightening as walking down the Yuntaishan glass walkway. Think carefully before you embark on this exhilarating mission. Get a friend you trust to come along with you and whatever you do, don’t look down!

20. Or better yet, go Sparta! with Running Man

[caption id="attachment_2962" align="alignnone" width="700"] Image credit: Soompi[/caption]

Cost: varies, depends on your resourcefulness

Here are some ideas to get you started. You could play dodgeball at the basketball field. You could create your own name tag from scratch. Notice the acupuncture stones you often see at your HDB block? Use it. Skip on it. Run on it. Just make sure it’s not occupied by some elderly.

Please, only proceed if you don’t mind getting weird looks.

With these 20 wildly fun activities to do in Singapore for the cheap, we hope you’ll never complain of being bored! Adventure belongs to those to seek it. So go forth and have an adventure!

Note: Price does not include parking fees and transport fares.
Featured image credit: Gardens by the Bay YouTube screen grab