PM Lee shares candid memory of an old telegram from the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew: “ARRIVING TODAY BATTLESHIP = LEEKUANYEW”

PM Lee shares candid memory of an old telegram from the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew

An old telegram from the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew dated Sept 26, 1958. Photo: Facebook/ Lee Hsien Loong

PUBLISHED: 3:05 PM, APRIL 6, 2015


SINGAPORE — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today (April 6) shared a candid memory of his late father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, on his Facebook page.

PM Lee posted a picture of an old telegram that he found while sorting through his father’s items.

Dated Sept 26, 1958, the late Mr Lee, who was practising as a lawyer in Lee & Lee then, simply wrote “ARRIVING TODAY BATTLESHIP = LEEKUANYEW”. PM Lee shared that his father had intended to inform the family that he will be expected home from Sibu, Sarawak, and that he’d wanted to have steam boat for dinner that night.

But, Mrs Lee did not understand the message when it was sent. She thought Mr Lee was returning on a battleship. PM Lee recounted that the law firm’s secretary even called the British Naval Base at Sembawang to check if any battleship was arriving from Sarawak. But no one knew anything about it.

“My father did arrive home that day, but not by battleship,” PM Lee wrote. “He explained that he wanted steam boat for dinner, but as “steam boat” was two words, and telegrams were charged by the word, he wrote “battleship” instead, to save words and money!”

The steam boat dinner was not to be that night, but the fond memory remained for PM Lee.


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