PJ Thum casts doubt on LKY receiving standing ovation in US Congress in 1985. YouTube to the rescue.

Making 1985 fake again.

Jonathan Lim | July 2, 2018 @ 08:56 pm


Historian Thum Ping Tjin was recently in the news for his marathon six-hour hearing session at the Select Committee for Deliberate Online Falsehoods.

Why historian PJ Thum was Shanmugamed for nearly 6 hours

On June 2, 2018, he uploaded a Facebook post with the following images:

Along with the post, he wrote:

“Another from the archives:
“At the end of (Lee’s speech to the joint session of the US Congress), there was a sustained standing ovation… Even before he started his speech, there was a standing ovation – such is the Prime Minister’s reputation.” – Straits Times, 10 October 1985.
“(Lee) was addressing a sparsely attended joint session and drew polite applause.” – International Herald Tribune, 10 October 1985.
Hmmm… now I’m wondering just how much of what Singaporeans believed to be LKY’s vaunted global reputation was actually manufactured by the government-controlled media, in the days when there were no alternative news sources?”

In the post, he questions whether “government-controlled media” manufactured former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s “vaunted global reputation”.

In response to this, someone by the name of Bryden Cch commented on his post, sharing a YouTube video of the Lee delivering the speech in Congress in 1985.

Bryden Ccd, disagreeing with Thum, said: “Sparsely attended it was not. see 3:15, 4:11, 5:26, standing ovation at 9:47″.

The post was referring to time stamps in the video.

Here are GIFs of two of those timestamps:


After seeing Cch’s comment, Thum edited his Facebook post and said:

“EDIT: a comment below points to a youtube video of Lee’s speech, which does indeed draw a standing ovation at the close (but the video does not show the opening). I’ll see if I can dig up the IHT article to see if it reported the speech accurately. The ST report is at http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/newspapers/Digitised/Article/straitstimes19851010-1.2.2 .”

Here’s the YouTube video of the speech for you to decide if IHT (which stands for International Herald Tribune) is correct in its description of “sparsely attended” and “polite applause”:

Here’s Thum’s Facebook post:

How to understand 6-hour grilling of historian PJ Thum by K Shanmugam

About Jonathan Lim

Jon is thankful that Singapore is interesting enough to keep a website like Mothership.sg up and running.

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