Old childhood memories came flooding back when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong found an old telegram when sorting through his father’s belongings at home.
In a Facebook post on Monday (Apr 6), PM Lee shared a photo of the 1958 telegram which the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who was then practising a lawyer at Lee & Lee, had sent from Sibu in Sarawak to his law firm. On it, was the message: “ARRIVING TODAY BATTLESHIP = LEEKUANYEW”.
PM Lee said his mother did not understand the message. “Was my father coming home on a battleship? The Lee & Lee secretary called the British Naval Base at Sembawang to check if any battleship was arriving from Sarawak, but they knew nothing about it," he recounted.
Turns out, he was trying to tell his family that he wanted steam boat for dinner.
"My father did arrive home that day, but not by battleship. He explained that he wanted steam boat for dinner, but as “steam boat” was two words, and telegrams were charged by the word, he wrote “battleship” instead, to save words and money!" wrote PM Lee.
“Sadly, since we had not understood the message, we did not have steam boat for dinner that night.”