Take a hike Lee, says Indian Media. The editor of India’s Sunday Guardian blasts Singapore’s Prime Minister as being “bully-headed” for commenting that a decline in “moral values” had taken place in India since its first prime minister was in charge in 1947.
In a 40-minute speech during last week’s debate on the Committee of Privileges’ report on the Raeesah Khan saga, PM Lee praised, among other national leaders, India’s founding Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
In referring to India as “Nehru’s India”, he added that it “has (since) become one where, according to media reports, almost half the MPs [members of parliament] in the Lok Sabha [India’s lower house of Parliament] have criminal charges pending against them, including charges of rape and murder. Though it is also said that many of these allegations are politically motivated.”
The Prime Minister’s speech in Parliament has touched a raw nerve in India. Taking a stern view of the Singaporean Prime Minister’s comments, India’s external affairs ministry summoned Simon Wong, Singapore’s ambassador to India, to lodge a protest over comments made by Mr Lee, according to government sources.
An Indian official who declined to be identified spoke to Reuters saying: “The remarks by the prime minister of Singapore were uncalled for. We have taken up the matter with the Singaporean side.”
Many Indian news outlets have reported and commented on the Singapore Prime Minister’s comments on India and the Indian Government’s response to the speech. Among them is a commentary by Joyeeta Basu, the editor of India’s Sunday Guardian, for News X. Sunday Guardian is a part of the iTV Network, which is India’s fastest growing news and infotainment network with multiple interests in print, electronic and digital media.
Basu’s comments are being shared extensively in social media circles.
“This particular gentleman comes across as a bit bully-headed, head in the clouds, out of touch with reality and geo-politics…So, he comes across as an idealist…talking through his hat…(he is) totally out of touch with reality…In any Indian city he would have been considered a mayor, he wouldn’t have been a Prime Minister or a President…He would have been the mayor of a city…Perhaps, he should try to think the way a statesman should think…(like how) a leader of a country should think…his level of thinking comes across as very, very…municipal.”
This is not the first time someone has suggested that PM Lee had acted in an unstatesmanlike manner. In 2013, after he spoke to some U.S. businessmen during his visit to America, one local blogger said he lacked “the sophistication of a statesman, and the tact and craftiness of a diplomat.”
In his after-dinner speech, PM Lee said, “Beijing residents joke that to get a free smoke all they have to do is open their windows!”
He then alluded to thousands of pig carcasses recently fished from Chinese rivers and added, “(In) Shanghai, if you want some pork soup, you just turn on the tap.” His audience appeared doubtful if that was good taste, until he added, “That’s their joke, not mine!”