Mrs Lee Hsien Loong pens poem sharing touching story behind the bag she carried to meet Japan's royal couple

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (left) and Mrs Lee are seen off by Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko after their luncheon at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Sept 27, 2016.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (left) and Mrs Lee are seen off by Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko after their luncheon at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Sept 27, 2016.PHOTO: AFP/ IMPERIAL HOUSEHOLD AGENCY

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's wife Ho Ching made international headlines in August when she showed up at the White House toting a $14.90 dinosaur-print pouch designed by an autistic student artist.

Her accessory choice during PM Lee's recent official visit to Japan is once again a talking point, after she wrote a poem sharing the heartwarming story behind the bag she carried to a private lunch at the Imperial Palace with Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on Tuesday (Sept 27).

In a Facebook post on Sunday (Oct 2) morning, Mrs Lee explained that the bag had been at a previous meeting with the Japanese royal couple - carried by another woman, who died a couple of years ago.

"This elegant bag / also went with Yoko / to meet the kind and gracious / Emperor and Empress of Japan," Mrs Lee wrote.

"It has waited years since, / lying safe in its paulownia wooden box, / filled with memories of happy times and / a loving lifetime with Masamoto."

 
 

She wrote that she had been given the bag, which had been "used only once", by a man named Masamoto after he read of "the news of you / and your dino pouch".

Mrs Lee said that she was unsure of accepting the bag initially because it seemed "so precious, / so full of memories". However, her friend insisted and she eventually promised that she would bring it with her on all visits to the Japanese royal couple.

Mrs Lee did not provide the family names of Masamoto and Yoko.

"Rest in peace, dear Yoko / And keep well, Masamoto," Mrs Lee wrote. "I will safekeep this special gift / of love and friendship."