When the coronavirus started spreading in Singapore, one man stepped up to be our superhero in the fight against the deadly disease.
And unlike Superman, he doesn’t have to find a phone booth and change into a ridiculous costume to save lives.
He just puts on a shirt (usually pink) and a jacket and he’s ready to go.
But how much do we really know about this handsome, bespectacled man? Well, not a lot, because he’s also a man of mystery.
But that’s why we’re here.
Here are 10 facts about Lawrence Wong, the face of our resistance to the Covid-19 pandemic.
1. He has two masters degrees
Yes, this minister doesn’t just look smart, he has the papers to back it up.
He subsequently obtained a Master of Arts degree in Economics at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, and a Master of Public Administration degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Wait, he got a degree from Harvard?
Well, the school is part of Harvard, but it’s not exactly Harvard. It’s still incredibly impressive though.
Reader: It sure is
2. He began his career as a civil servant
Before he began his political career, Wong first worked as a civil servant at the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
He served as the Ministry’s Assistant Director (Research and Planning) from 1997 to 1999 before moving to the Ministry of Finance.
3. He’s a jack of all trades
As a civil servant, Wong has worked in the Ministry of Trade & Industry, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Health, and even became Chief Executive of Singapore’s Energy Market Authority in 2008.
And now, he’s co-chair of the multi-ministerial task force on Covid-19.
This man is clearly a jack of all trades.
4. He’s the reason museums are free for residents
Wong spearheaded the free museum entry policy for all Singaporeans and permanent residents, to all national museums and heritage institutions from 18 May 2013.
Yes, before that, we actually had to pay to enter our own museums.
According to The Straits Times, attendance at the Singapore Art Museum by Singaporeans and PRs jumped 26 per cent in the first year after free admission was introduced.
At the time, Minister Wong said the move aims to make national museums here more accessible, and better able to “tell the Singapore Story, in a way that resonates with Singaporeans”.
5. He has served as a secretary to both a President and a Prime Minister
From 1997 to 1999, Wong served as a secretary to Ong Teng Cheong.
For those who don’t know, Ong Teng Cheong was Singapore’s first-ever elected president.
This man has been under the charge of some pretty powerful people.
6. He’s a nature lover
If you were to scroll through Wong’s twitter feed, you’d find that hidden among the thousands of posts about HDBs and important dinners are several posts about his nature adventures.
— Lawrence Wong (@LawrenceWongST) December 14, 2019
And just like his attire at conferences, Wong seems to enjoy wearing the same thing for all his outdoor activities.
— Lawrence Wong (@LawrenceWongST) November 24, 2019
7 – He’s an animal activist
A pet owner himself, Wong has also encouraged Singaporeans to be more responsible pet owners and condemned those who abandon or abuse their pets.
And if you follow him on Twitter, you’ll know that he loves his dog, Summer, so much that he gets down when she’s hurt.
— Lawrence Wong (@LawrenceWongST) June 24, 2018
— Lawrence Wong (@LawrenceWongST) June 5, 2018
In a Facebook post in 2015, Wong urged Singaporeans to be more loving towards animals, saying “the way we treat our animals says much about who we are”.
“It reflects on our humanity and the kind of society we want to be. So let’s all work together to build a kinder and more compassionate society for all!”
8 – He co-chairs the Covid-19 task force
When Wong started appearing on our television, computer, and phone screens every day since Covid-19 first broke out, people were confused: why is our Minister for National Development talking to us about a pandemic?
Well, that’s because Wong is the co-chair of the multi-ministerial task force on Covid-19, along with Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.
The task force was set up to direct the government’s response to the outbreak and to work with the international community to respond to the pandemic.
The fact that Wong was chosen to co-chair the task force shows how highly regarded he is amongst officials.
9. He’s an emotional man
To say I’m emotional is a bit of an understatement, considering I cry every time I see a dog gif.
Wong, too, is a man who wears his heart on his sleeve.
Wong teared up in Parliament last month as he thanked healthcare workers and other Singaporeans who have contributed to the fight against the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Words are not sufficient to express our appreciation for so many Singaporeans going all out to fight the virus”, he said.
“And I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who is doing their part,” he said, his voice still shaking.
This man clearly cares about Singapore and the people who are risking infection every day to save and serve others.
10. He’s devoted to serving Singaporeans
As Wong said in a 2015 interview, working in the public sector allows him to “do work that benefits people”.
He truly feels that the only way to relate to his fellow Singaporeans is to meet and “be close to them”.
Wong has worked as a civil servant for 15 years and a politician for 10, but there are no signs of him stopping.
Unlike many others in his profession, Wong seems to genuinely care about the well-being of Singaporeans.
“I’ve devoted my life to public service, first as a civil servant and later in politics. I will continue to do my utmost to serve our people.”
We’re certainly fortunate to have such a capable man leading our fight against the coronavirus.
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