The Oxley Road house of Singapore’s first Prime Minister, the late Lee Kuan Yew, has been the subject of attention in recent weeks amid the ongoing Lee family feud.
For some Singaporeans, curiosity got the better of them and they went down to 38 Oxley Road to take a look at what is arguably Singapore’s most famous address. In the past week, Yahoo Singapore observed more than 100 people who have driven or walked past the house over several hours to gaze at it.
On Monday (3 July) afternoon, while Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was reading his Ministerial Statement in Parliament, there was a noticeable increase in the number of people and cars in the area outside the house. Over two hours, around 15 cars slowed down near the house and people in the cars could be seen taking photos of the house. Around 20 people walking past the house did the same thing.
Yahoo Singapore spoke to a few of them about the feud and their thoughts on whether the house should be preserved or demolished. Most of them felt that the house should be demolished, according to what was stated in the late Lee’s final will.
“Lee Kuan Yew’s wishes should be respected”
Brian Chen, 36, was driving past Oxley Road with his wife Cynthia, 32, and their two kids, aged seven and nine, when they were approached by Yahoo Singapore. They were there to take pictures of the house in hopes of getting some “good luck”.
“My friends have been buying Toto with the numbers 3 and 8 and they got pretty lucky,” Brian joked. “If I take a picture of the house, maybe I will get lucky too!”
On a more serious note, Cynthia said that although she did not follow the news closely, she felt that the feud “reflects badly on the Singapore government and the Lee family”. She added, “Fighting publicly only makes Lee Kuan Yew look like a lousy father who couldn’t raise his children well. They should just demolish the house and respect the will.”
Similarly, Alyssa Chai, 28, who was walking past the house, said, “I don’t really care who is right or wrong, I just feel that Lee Kuan Yew’s wishes should be respected.” Chai also felt that “no one was really honest” throughout the feud.
“An important government issue”
There were also some who felt that the whole saga was not just a typical family feud but a national issue.
Photographers Nicholas, 31, and Adrian, 28, who are brothers and were at Oxley Road to take pictures of the house, said that the constant postings on Facebook by PM Lee’s siblings, Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang were “unnecessary”.
“I didn’t really follow the saga after a while as it got kind of boring. But fighting it out on Facebook is simply childish and immature,” Adrian said.
Nicholas added, “I feel that it is an important government issue because I respected Lee Kuan Yew a lot as a leader. Now that his children are fighting like that, it’s a bit disappointing.”
Rachel Lim, 33, a primary school teacher who lives in the area, echoed the sentiment, saying, “It is beyond just a family matter as it has got to do with government principles that will affect the nation.
“The final outcome (on whether the house should be demolished) should ultimately be something beneficial for Singapore.”