From neighbourhood schoolboy to Prime Minister
A look at Lawrence Wong's rise through the ranks
Born to a school teacher mother and sales manager father, Lawrence Wong grew up in an ordinary family in Marine Parade.
He attended Tanjong Katong Secondary Technical School and Victoria Junior College, and later headed to the United States for further studies on a government scholarship. When he returned to Singapore, he started his career in public service, including being principal private secretary to PM Lee Hsien Loong, before entering politics in 2011.
He made a mark during the Covid-19 pandemic as a meticulous and steady leader, when he co-chaired the multi-ministry task force.
Entry into politics
Wong was elected an MP as part of the West Coast GRC during the General Election in 2011.
Historic milestone for Singapore
As Acting Minister for Community, Culture and Youth, Wong led the team in 2014 to bid for the Singapore Botanic Gardens to be recognised as a Unesco World Heritage Site. The prestigious status was awarded in July 2015. “What a wonderful gift for our Golden Jubilee!” he said in a Facebook post.
Became full minister for first time
In May 2014, Wong was promoted to Minister for Community, Culture and Youth. The following year, he was appointed Minister for National Development, a portfolio he held until 2020.
Moved to tears
Soon after becoming co-chair of the Covid-19 multi-ministry task force in February 2020, Wong broke down while paying an emotional tribute to frontline workers in Parliament. “There are many Singaporeans who have stepped up in their own way, looking after one another and caring for our fellow Singaporeans...”
Appointed Minister for Finance
Wong took over the portfolio from DPM Heng Swee Keat during a Cabinet reshuffle in May 2021.
Bidding farewell to dad
Three months after he became Finance Minister, Wong’s father died. In a sentimental Facebook post, he wrote: “He enjoyed music and introduced me to the guitar at a young age... He also inspired me in my own journey of public service.”
Showed off guitar skills
On Christmas Eve in 2021, Wong posted a TikTok video with his electric guitar rendition of Jingle Bell Rock.
First Budget speech
In his 2022 Budget speech, Wong announced a staggered GST hike over the next two years, but assured that measures would be in place to cushion the impact.
Picked as PAP’s 4G leader
The way was paved for Wong to succeed PM Lee Hsien Loong when he was voted to be PAP’s 4G team leader by his fellow ministers in April 2022. Two months later, Wong was promoted to deputy prime minister during the Cabinet reshuffle.
Jamming with Malaysian minister
After Wong and then Malaysian Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz met in Kuala Lumpur in September 2022, they spent the afternoon strumming on their guitars.
V-Day Budget
During Budget 2023, which fell on Valentine’s Day, Wong announced boosts to the Baby Bonus scheme and the doubling of paternity leave. “To all young married couples; whether you already have a newborn, are expecting a baby, or you plan to have a baby — we have something to help you in your parenthood journey.”
Addressed concerns about rising costs
During Budget 2024, Wong unveiled increased measures for Singaporeans to cope with the cost of living as well as CPF changes.
The next Prime Minister
On April 15, 2024, PM Lee announced that Wong will be Singapore’s fourth prime minister and will be sworn in a month later. "I accept this responsibility with humility and a deep sense of duty,” Wong said.”
Passion for the guitar
Wong posted a video in April 2024 to commemorate International Guitar Month,where he revealed that he has been playing the guitar for over 40 years and started when his father gave him the instrument as a birthday present. “I would go to the National Library every week...would borrow books on the guitar and teach myself.”
Wong will become Singapore’s fourth Prime Minister on May 15, 2024.

PRODUCED BY : Bhavya Rawat, Low Ching Ling, Desmond Chua, CJ Foo, Michal

PHOTO CREDITS: AsiaOne, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok/Lawrence Wong, MCI, MOF, The Straits Times