PM Lee shares photo of puzzling telegram sent by Mr Lee Kuan Yew in 1958

PM Lee shares photo of puzzling telegram sent by Mr Lee Kuan Yew in 1958

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has shared on social media a photo of a telegram sent by his late father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, that puzzled the family back in 1958.

"Was amazed to find this old telegram when sorting through my father's things at home. My parents had kept it all these years! When I saw it, the old childhood memory flooded back," PM Lee wrote in a Facebook post today.

The telegram read, "ARRIVING TODAY BATTLESHIP = LEEKUANYEW".

It was sent by Mr Lee, who was still a practising lawyer then, when he was handling some cases in Sibu, Sarawak, before he returned home that day on September 26.

"My mother did not understand the message. Was my father coming home on a battleship?" PM Lee said.

He added that the secretary at Mr Lee's law firm Lee & Lee even called up the British Naval Base to check if any battleship was arriving from Sarawak, to no avail.

When Mr Lee arrived home later, he explained that he wanted to have steam boat for dinner. But because telegrams were charged by the word, Mr Lee decided to save money by using "battleship" instead of "steam boat".

"Sadly, since we had not understood the message, we did not have steam boat for dinner that night," PM Lee said.

Mr Lee died on March 23 at the age of 91.

huizhen@sph.com.sg

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