According to Education Minister Ng Eng Hen, People's Action Party's Organising Secretary (Special Duties), nearly 200 tea sessions with some 260 individuals were held over the last 4 years and just 20 were selected after thousands of hours spent. We are told the PAP looked for "four essential qualities" in its search for candidates, they must be an activist (grassroots, not human rights), have a heart for Singapore (spelled with a $), have the guts for Singapore (but not enough for SMC) and be trustworthy (say "yes" each and everytime) . Based on the results we have seen so far, the bar couldn't have been set too high - if the wifey can't trust him to keep his word, can the nation?
Before "Hard Truths", Han Fook Kwang et al wrote "LKY: The Man And His Ideas."(SPH 1998). There's a chapter 11 ("I Did My Best") where Lee Kuan Yew confesses that being a politician has also made him more wary of people, especially those who might use their relationship with him for their own gain.
"I've got used to that and I think I'm pretty sensitive in discerning who's on the level and who's wanting to get something out of me. One of the qualtities that you need to have to last as a leader is you must be good at that, otherwise you get taken for a ride. You must be able to smell people out."
"It's got to do with being able to interpret body language. Watch the chap, his voice, whether he is dissimulating, what's his real position, the tone of voice, the tic in his face, his body position or whatever. You can see into a person and through a person." But even in his 70s, he knew, as he grew old, his faculties, his sharpness of eye and ear, like his sensory capabilities, was diminishing. (page 237)
The best two persons he had met with very high sensitivities were a Tan Teck Chwee, who was then chairman of the Public Service Commission, and Lim Kim San. On the other hand, Lee felt Dr Goh Keng Swee did not have the same discernment, and was always making mistakes. Lee said Goh's vey brainy, very thorough, very methodical, but lacking here. "And I don't know why. He doesn't see through people."
Lee mentioned Tan Teck Chwee once reported of a contact with a head of the Singapore Special Branch who later became a Malaysian minister, "When I shake his hand, I feel I want to wash it." You know, the oiliness of the man and the viciousness of the man - he just sensed it. It's a gift, Lee said.
We don't know about Ng Eng Hen's gifts, but some of the RazorTV videos of the candidates introduced to the public do tend to induce a sense of queasiness in the stomach. Not a good sign for Singapore. Not good at all.