Filipino student shut down and dismissed by Lee Kuan Yew for asking irrelevant question

In this profoundly cringe-inducing video, Filipino student Harvey Campos suffers an epic smacking down by Singapore Elder Statesman and former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. During the question-and-answer segment of some sort of convention, Campos had attempted to inquire into how Lee’s work was influenced by his late wife (jumping of the “old adage” that behind every successful man is a woman).

Lee responded by saying that he was there to discuss public matters and not family matters.

Campos was clearly out of his depth in the presence of the Elder Statesman. He…

(1) Spent an unnecessary amount of time introducing himself and his personal circumstances, within which time he;

(2) Weaved a lame attempt at flattery into his protracted lead up to the point he was going to make which, as it turns out;

(3) Was completely irrelevant to the objectives of the forum.

Suffice to say, Campos grossly misread the situation and, most appallingly Lee himself.

This episode is reminiscent of the Filipino celebrity journalist Ricky Lo’s gaffe while interviewing Les Misrables star Anne Hathaway last year.

Like Lo, Campos fell into the trap of regarding Lee through the lens of a typical way Filipinos communicate with celebrities or people of stature. Rather than step up to speak at their level, it seems a common approach Filipinos take is to try to bring the level of the dialogue down to a more comfortable but substandard level of discourse.

You can swear, these episodes were something that came straight out of a Ricky Gervais script.



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153 Comments on "Filipino student shut down and dismissed by Lee Kuan Yew for asking irrelevant question"

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Amir Al Bahr

Oh boy, just wait for butthurt Pinoys to twist this into “Lee Kuan Yew belittling the entire Filipino people…”

muhammad tan

LOL even Americans do that even on ESPN? You want to ridicule your countryman again?

muhammad tan

LOL this is a 2011 issue You Singapore worshipper. If you go there, I bet you would wish you will be back in the Philippines.

muhammad tan

Even Barrack Obama experienced being asked silly questions. What is the big deal?


I bet he’s watching too much boy abunda interviews. His mindset is sooo showbiz.

victor hernandez

That’s simply a cultural difference, which Mr. Lee Kuan Yew didn’t appreciate, and go to business right away. It’s well taken, anyway.


e anu kaya kung ikaw ung maginterview?
kung mkapagsalita kah akala mu kung cn0 k magaling ah!! putng ina k b?
cgurad0 worse k p s kanya kac pag lapit mu palang eh itatab0y ka kaagad ni tanda! alam mu b kung bk8?
kac ang pangit mu at muka kang basahan, ayus ayusin mu muna yang pagmumuka mu kasi at nang di ka tinatab0y huh!


Hahahahahahahaha. Stupid move.


ganyang talaga mga singaporean. ang mga amo kong lokal hindi masyadong nag oopen ng personal na buhay nila at hindi rin sila nagtatanong ng personal na bagay. hindi gaya ng mga pinoy na pag nakikipagchismisan sa kaopisina lahat ng problema sa pamilya ay kinekwento. magkakaiba lang kultura natin. baka hindi na kayo makatulog nian?



Rico Gloria
Much ado about nothing. It was a valid question in leadership. Of course, a leader of Lew Kwan Yew’s stature whose views on public issues influence government policy, the question of who are the people that influences his perspective becomes a public matter. Lee Kwan Yew didn’t want to divulge how much or how little his wife’s influence. Well within his rights. There was no epic smack down. What is cringe-inducing is the author’s clear inferior stance with regard to foreign nationals. IN this case, it was just a valid question being refused by the tight-guarded LKY. He does not… Read more »

the next Ricky Lo!


Moral of the lesson: Never assume that your culture is applicable to other people, especially when you’re in their country.

Somehow, it reminds me of what Kiko Pangilinan said as the height of the Bus Hostage Crisis fiasco: “what may be prohibited and banned in their nation may not be so in ours.” Epic fail.

Sophia Andaluz

Baka humingi na naman ng public apology ang mg Pinoy kay LKY? Ang dami kasing kaartehan.


I can list other fauxs in this situation:

1. Never assume things. For example, assuming that Lee’s wife is behind his success as a politician. Or assume that family values is part of politics. Really, we’re too spoiled with Imelda Marcos and Filipino nepotism.

2. Better to avoid buttering up. Flattery is baloney. Cut to the chase. Ask the question.


If you ask me, what Harvey Campos exhibited is exactly what fuels pinoy pride. Not an ounce of humility on these praydist buffons.


Hmmm, Mr. Campos could’ve asked another, more relevant question, that could save face. Since he didn’t, that made it look like he was after only the tsismis things, and it made him look bad.


….ok lang yan…next time mas baduy pang tanong! dapat ganito ” tsekwa rin ba kayo?”


Eh ano naman kung malaman natin
ung halaga ng asawa niya??


Wala tayong pake

Alam nyo kain nalang tayo ng Bulalo.


Mag-english ka then magtatagalog…
So pinoy ka na nagcocomment dito…
In what you are all doing right now, sino mas malala, ung nagkamali ng tanong or ikaw?
Public site ito pero kung makapagsabi ka ng bobong pinoy or kung makapang lait ka, kala mo di ka pinoy. Ano kaya sasabihin ng ibang lahi dito?

Nagkamali siya… nakakahiya sa mga pinoy… may mababago ba kapag nagcomment ka dito ng panglalalit mo sa kanya?

Isip isip muna… baka hindi niyo alam, senio din bumalik yan…

Remember, if you point 1 finger to someone, 3 fingers are pointing back at you…

Mature natin noh??