DPM Lawrence Wong Explains How He Nearly Became a Lawyer Instead


While many of us might know Lawrence Wong as our Minister of Finance, PAP’s 4G Leader and the next in line to becoming Singapore’s Prime Minister, how many of us really know interesting facts about him behind the scenes?

Well, now, most of us do.

With National Day being just two days away, Singapore’s newly-minted Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong had his own bit of stories to share while participating in a National Day-related segment recently.

“Ask Me Anything”, a Part of Singapore @ Home

Recently, Mr Wong, 49, partook in an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session as part of Singapore @ Home, an online event held by the Singapore Global Network, which is an arm of the Economic Development Board in Singapore.

As the name suggests, these sessions allow members of the public to ask invited guests any (appropriate) questions, allowing guests to share a side of them that others may not have seen before.

The session, hosted by Hossan Leong and Siti Khalijah, also featured various National Day-themed performances by well-known homegrown talents like Joanna Dong and Taufik Batisah.

Almost Studied Law at University

One of the most interesting facts about Mr Wong that most viewers would have learned during the session would be that he could have ended up taking a very different path if he had chosen a different course in university.

In particular, he could have become a lawyer if he had accepted the offer to study law at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

The other option, which was the one he took, was to study abroad while taking up a Public Service Commission (PSC) scholarship.

Recounting how he made his choice, Mr Wong explained that his parents were unable to fund his studies overseas despite his interest in studying at an overseas university.

They also told him back then that he would only be able to study overseas if he managed to obtain a scholarship.

“I was very tempted to go overseas,” he recalled.

“At that time when I was a young boy, I had never gone beyond Malaysia.”

And that interest led to him applying for a scholarship, and you could also say that the decision made him the politician he is today.

“I suppose weighing NUS Law—which is good—but overseas, I’ve never gone on a plane before to see the world, and I thought, ‘This is the chance of a lifetime.’ So I grabbed it immediately,” he added.

With the leap of faith, Mr Wong chose to take up the PSC scholarship, allowing him to study for an economics degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States of America after completing his studies at Victoria Junior College.


Learned to Ski at University

And aside from the interesting story behind his choice of university, Mr Wong also shared more about his own experience while he was still a student.

In particular, he was asked about his participation in sports while in university, since his alma mater in the United States has produced multiple Olympians over the years.

To some people’s surprise, Mr Wong replied, “I’m not someone who does a lot of sports, I suppose.”

However, he did still get to learn a pretty cool sport during his time there: skiing.

“Where I was studying in Midwest America, they used to have long winters. So I learned how to ski when I was in university,” he added.


Passion for Music

In contrast to his interest in sports, Mr Wong’s interest in music, especially the guitar, is pretty well-known to Singaporeans who follow his social media updates.

And he brought that up too during the session, reminiscing how he used to play with his university roommate in places such as bars.

“I brought my guitar when I went overseas to study. My roommate coincidentally happened to be a guitarist too. So we used to spend a lot of time jamming with one another. We’d even go out busking or playing in overnight bars,” he mentioned.

More recently, he collaborated with Singapore Idol winner Taufik, as the duo jammed out to an acoustic version of Stronger Together, this year’s National Day theme song.

Loves Any Type of Food in Hawker Centres

Moving on from his hobbies, Mr Wong also revealed his inner foodie, highlighting his love for Singapore’s hawker food in particular.


When asked about his favourite local cuisine, he expressed that while he does not keep up to date with the newest food trends, he enjoys dining at hawker centres whenever he returns from overseas trips.

“My favourites are prawn mee, bak chor mee, oyster omelette… anything that’s in the local hawker centres, that’s my go-to food,” he said.

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Last but not least, Mr Wong also left a message for Singaporeans currently living overseas before the session ended.

He thanked those who joined the session and the National Day celebrations, and told them, “I just want you to know that wherever you are, anywhere in the world, you will always have a special place in Singapore, you are always going to be a part of our Singapore family.

“Always remember that you are a valuable member of the Singapore family. And we look forward to your many contributions to shaping Singapore’s future together.”


To know more about Mr Wong, you can also watch this video to the end:

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Featured Image: Facebook (Lawrence Wong)