ST cartoon + maths formulas = PM's Facebook likes

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has shown a side of himself that many knew was there but few had seen in public for some time.

Yesterday, the mathematics whiz was drawn to a cartoon (above) by The Straits Times artist Miel Prudencio Rosales Jr on education resources going online by 2016 which included a complex, though apparently accurate, formula.

Sharing the strip on Facebook, PM Lee wrote: "Was enjoying Miel's cartoon in Straits Times today, when I noticed, to my astonishment and delight, that the maths formulas in the pictures not only made sense, but were correct!

"Usually such 'math formulas' drawn in cartoons are just gibberish."

Apparently the formulas were for combinations and permutations that, as PM Lee pointed out, would be familiar only to those doing A-level maths.

Miel said he picked the formulas as he was thinking of the kind of learning that would take place in the future. He added that he was honoured to have been mentioned by the PM but said: "If I think too much about it, I won't be able to come up with my next cartoon."

The post picked up nearly 3,000 likes and 84 comments within four hours. One commenter named Larry Tan wrote: "Once a mathematician, always a mathematician."

Mr Lee topped his class and graduated with a double first-class honours in mathematical statistics and mathematical economics from Cambridge University.

His interest in the subject has been documented on occasion. In the book Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going, for example, former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew revealed how his elder son not only topped his class but had also solved a record number of 12 more "alphas" or problems than the second person after him.

He said of the younger Lee: "He liked mathematics. He's got a special bent - a problem-solving mind."

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.