SINGAPORE - The holiday season is here and even prime ministers need a break.
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had announced on his Facebook page last Saturday, Dec 12, that he would be on leave for a week. It was not until the next day that he shared his year-end vacation spot: Seoul.
That same night, he posted a number of pictures he personally took on the first and second day of his trip. He said his first trip to Seoul was back in 1982 and he has since returned often but "never for a holiday till now".
Mr Lee also said he ran into a group of Singaporean tourists at Itaewon, a shopping district in Seoul, where he was having dinner.
Coincidentally, he bumped into another group of Singaporeans at Mount Seorak National Park.
"Enjoyed the tranquil winter scenery and peaks of Mount Seorak National Park," Mr Lee posted.
"On Sunday we hiked along the river up the valley, vigorous but not too tough for us. Yesterday we took a cable car ride up the nearby peak, and promptly met a Singaporean family!"
Mr Lee's wife, Ho Ching, had also posted several photos and updates on her Facebook page - but not without some poetry to accompany her pictures.
For a picture she took of a pagoda, she included this short poem:
Pagodas with odd numbers of storeys
Pagodas with even number of sides
Always the male and female complement
as the ancients reach out to heaven
or bring life once again to a bright new world
Peaceful interlude between the snow flurries
In a particularly lengthy post on Thursday night, Dec 17, Ms Ho wrote about her experience at an old house that was previously occupied by 12 generations of a Korean family. And of course, she again described this flawlessly in the form of poetry.
Not to be outdone, Mr Lee has been showing off his good eye for photography by posting artistic pictures he had taken. From an aerial shot depicting a beautiful seaview as his plane approached Seoul, to a candid picture of little girls at a confectionery store, Mr Lee seems to know when and where to capture the best moments.
Mr Lee and his wife continued to update their Facebook pages on Dec 18 with rather different takes on their vacation so far.
While Mr Lee continued to post pictures of scenic views and cultural spots, Ms Ho shared a rare photo of the two of them in an embrace as they each took a picture of their reflection using their own phones.
At last count, the photo of the sweet couple has attracted over 1,000 Facebook likes and more than 30 shares. Many users commented on how 'loving' the two looked. One sharp-eyed user even asked if both Mr Lee and Ms Ho were using the same phone model and casing.
Though he was not in town, Mr Lee also remembered to give a special shoutout to students who received their 'N' Level examination results on Thursday and reminded them to "keep an open mind on what life has to offer".
During Mr Lee's absence, Deputy Prime Minister and coordinating minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean has been the acting Prime Minister. Mr Lee will be back to work after Christmas as his leave ends Dec 25, according to the Ministry of Communications and Information.