CAMBRIDGE PROFESSOR: LEE HSIEN LOONG WAS THE BEST MATHS STUDENT IN SCHOOL

According to Mathematics Professor Bollobas who taught Lee Hsien Loong while he was a student in Cambridge, this was what he had to say about his student:

“I certainly taught him more than anybody else in Cambridge. I can truthfully say that he was an exceptionally good student. I’m not sure that this is really known in Singapore. “Because he’s now the Prime Minister,” people may say, “oh, you would say he was good.” No, he was truly outstanding: he was head and shoulders above the rest of the students. He was not only the first, but the gap between him and the man who came second was huge.”

“I think that he did computer science (after mathematics) mostly because his father didn’t want him to stay in pure mathematics. Loong was not only hardworking, conscientious and professional, but he was also very
inventive. All the signs indicated that he would have been a world-class research mathematician. I’m sure his father never realized how exceptional Loong was. He thought Loong was very good. No, Loong was much better than that. When I tried to tell Lee Kuan Yew, “Look, your son is phenomenally good: you should encourage him to do mathematics,” then he implied that that was impossible, since as a top-flight professional mathematician Loong would leave Singapore for Princeton, Harvard or Cambridge, and that would send the wrong signal to the people in Singapore. And I have to agree that this was a very good point indeed. Now I am even more impressed by Lee Hsien Loong than I was all those years ago, and I am very proud that I taught him; he seems to be doing very well. I have come round to thinking that it was indeed good for him to go into politics; he can certainly make an awful lot of difference.”

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