Friday, May 14, 2010

A Tribute to a National Icon - Dr. Goh Keng Swee

I received news about the passing of Dr. Goh Keng Swee this morning while in Hong Kong. I am very much saddened by this news.

Later in the evening, a ST reporter requested a response from me, on behalf of my party. This is what I said to him:

Our nation has lost a great man who has contributed tremendously to our nation building. Although we do not agree totally to some of his past policies but his spirit of socialism and public service are the source of inspiration to many of us. In mourning his death and the lost of our national icon, we would like to remind PAP of their humble democratic socialist root which was fully manifested by the late Dr. Goh Keng Swee. The PAP should reflect upon their great deviation from the socialist foundation which was upheld by Dr. Goh Keng Swee. Last but not least, our deepest condolences to the family of Dr. Goh Keng Swee.

A special Tribute to Dr Goh Keng Swee for raising Singapore up from a poor country to one with strong economic foundation.

I have not met Dr. Goh Keng Swee personally. My first impression of him came from my late father. Although my father was a skeptic of PAP rule, he had shown much respect to Dr. Goh Keng Swee, acknowledging him as the few, if not the only one, who was sincere and always had the interests of the people at heart.

I got to know Dr. Goh Keng Swee better after I became a student of Economics in NUS. I went through pages and pages of those White Papers that he wrote during his tour of duty in many ministerial portfolios. A true blue Socialist at heart and a Visionary in his era. In 1960s when many countries were caught up with protectionism due to the rise of nationalism in the post-colonialism era, he pushed for Free Trade Port and invited foreign investments onto our shores.

From the description of many others who have worked with him, he was someone who would always be very careful of spending every cent of taxpayers' money. He was also someone who would think of ways to lower cost for the benefits of Singaporeans at large.

Although I did not agree with some of his policies, especially streaming and elitist grooming (Gifted) program in education but I have a lot of admiration and respect for Dr. Goh Keng Swee. He has left a legacy which is hard to be matched by anyone in modern history. He has set a high standard for people who are in Public Service, be it civil servants, ministers, politicians or otherwise.

I am inspired by his socialist idealism and pragmatism which are embedded in many of his policies. It is rather sad to see how the contemporary PAP has forsaken much of the solid ideological foundation upon which our nation was created. It was only after the fading away of Dr. Goh Keng Swee from local politics that we started to hear people cynically relating PAP to Pay And Pay. From HDB, COE, Healthcare to Education, we have lost every bit of socialism in them. Cost recovery and even profit making have become the main policy direction for almost all ministries.

While Singaporeans mourn the death of a great man in this Nation, I hope that everyone of us, including PAP members, should reflect upon the stray path that we have been put on since the stepping down of Dr. Goh Keng Swee.

It is very unfortunate that I won't be back in time to pay my last respect to Dr. Goh. May he Rest In Peace.

Goh Meng Seng

Afternote: I will be able to pay my last respect to Dr. Goh after all on 20 May.


cy said...

i would give A+ for Dr Goh's economic policies, A for his defence policies and B for his education policies.

Special commendation award for his contribution to SSO,Jurong bird park,singapore Zoo

Dr Goh isn't suited for politics because his oratorical skills puts ppl off unlike LKY (ppl prefer to read what he speak then listen to him speak)and Dr Goh don't like to hug babies or shake hands due to his reserved,shy nature as described in his biography by his daughter-in-law.

If he is into politics today, he will have a tough time coping with the electorate who are more demanding and which requires a media-friendly image. He might even not get elected.

We are lucky he is born in a earlier era and he won walkovers for most part of his political career.

wedding singer said...

Dr Goh was a great man and may he R.I.P

If only we could hear his views on LKY staying on as mentor, LHL as PM, HC losing billions, multi million $ pay for the ministars, selling away state assets, affordability of HDB flats, insufficient CPF for retirement.....