Wednesday, 14 August 2013

ESM Goh Chok Tong in the limelight

Update 12 May 2018: Dr M reminds me of Lee Kuan Yew, says ex-Singapore PM
Goh Chok Tong, who was Singapore's prime minister from 1990 to 2004, praises Dr Mahathir Mohamad for his 'indomitable will and energy to right what he thinks is wrong with his country'

Singapore’s second prime minister Goh Chok Tong has hailed the political developments in Malaysia, comparing Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s campaign for the May 9 polls with that of the city-state’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew.

“Watching Dr Mahathir fight Malaysian GE14 reminds me of Lee Kuan Yew who famously said, ‘Even from my sick bed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel something is going wrong, I will get up.’

“One must salute Dr Mahathir for his indomitable will and energy to right what he thinks is wrong with his country,” Goh said in a Facebook post yesterday.

ESM Goh wants 4th-Gen PM to be picked this year but PM Lee tells him off
A month ago on the last day of last year (31 Dec 2017), ESM Goh Chok Tong suddenly made a Facebook post talking about settling 4th generation political leadership in Singapore

However, despite the good intentions coming from ESM Goh to quickly see Singapore placed in good hands of the next generation prime minister, Singapore's present Prime Minister was not amused.

Speaking to the media in New Delhi on Friday (26 Jan), PM Lee Hsien Loong said, "ESM (Goh) is speaking with the privilege of watching things rather than being responsible to make it happen. I think we know it's a very serious matter."

That is, PM Lee is saying ESM Goh is not running the show presently since he is not the Singapore's PM and therefore, not responsible to make things happen as one. As such, ESM Goh's words meant nothing.

SM Goh: Two legs better than one

ESM Goh calls on Indian PM Singh

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who is on a visit to India from December 3 to 6, called on Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi. (Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

ESM Goh Chok Tong, who is on a visit to India from December 3 to 6, called on Indian PM Manmohan Singh in New Delhi today (4 Dec).

Both ESM Goh and PM Singh reaffirmed the excellent relations between Singapore and India.

They also noted that Singapore and India will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations in 2015, and looked forward to the reciprocal state visits by the presidents of both countries that year.

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Changes needed to avert "mid-life crisis": ESM Goh

A day after Our Singapore Conversation Chairman Heng Swee Keat gave the nation an overview of issues which concerned the people most during the discussions, Mr Goh has also weighed in to talk about averting a "mid-life crisis" for the country.

"I dare say that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Cabinet are having a tougher time governing Singapore than Mr Lee Kuan Yew and I had. And it is not going to get easier," said Mr Goh.

That's because today's external environment is more complex and uncertain

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Singapore must change to avert crisis: ESM Goh

Singapore is at a turning point and needs to change to avert a mid-life crisis, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said yesterday, in a speech that also laid out the constraints ahead and the need for trust between the state and citizens

Some policies which served Singapore well before need an update or overhaul amid a more competitive global landscape, and the "even greater" domestic challenges of slower economic growth, an ageing population and a younger generation with higher expectations.

A new social compact between the Government and the people needs to be forged, he told guests at a National Day Dinner in his Marine Parade constituency. "Otherwise, I fear that Singapore will begin to go downhill," he added starkly.

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ESM Goh says Singapore must change to avert crisis: political reform?
A common sight: scraping a living in one of the wealthiest nations in the world

It’s absurd of former Prime Minister, ESM Goh Chok Tong, to tick off Singaporeans for piling pressures on the Singapore government.

Apart from the fact that the government’s mission is carry out the will of the people, it’s also the highest paid in the whole world so naturally the expectations of the electorate are high. It’s even more absurd of ESM Goh to suggest that a new social compact needs to be forged. In a social compact the citizens give up part of their rights. ESM Goh is deeply out of touch.

May I remind ESM Goh that the world has moved on. The ruling PAP government is still stuck with a mindset from the last century. What Singapore needs is definitely not a social compact to perpetuate its repressive rule but political reform.

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National conversation on common future welcomed: Goh Chok Tong

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has welcomed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's call for Singaporeans to build a consensus on the country's future.

Speaking at a National Day Dinner in his Marine Parade constituency on Saturday, he hailed the new ministerial committee led by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat that will conduct a broad-based review of the Government's policies and direction. Beyond just coming up with new policies and programmes, the exercise is also about having "a national conversation on our common future", Mr Goh said.

In a nod to the hot-button issues of immigration and social inclusiveness that were also raised in PM Lee's National Day message, Mr Goh said that the Government has to "capture the aspirations of the people, reassure them that Singapore is still a land of opportunity for Singaporeans".

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GCT: Singapore's mid-life crisis
Jialat the ESM, the PM and all ministers. Mati you talk like that

This is not the 90s, 80s or before. Don't come to us and talk about mid-life crisis. There is too much knowledge on all sorts of matters floating around absorbed by so many people. Mid-life crisis exist because you know more or less when you are going to die. You wonder in the middle of your life have you achieved what you had wanted. Half your life is gone, will you succeed or fail with your life. In short, nations do not have mid-life crisis, only crises

I tried very hard to be generous in my last post on the OSC. Trying to give them a huge dollop of benefit of the doubt. Looks like it lasted only a day.

What does the government want from us? I read his speech, it is more or less of the same as in the past and yet talking about how things must be different? That's an oxymoron.The link to the ESM's speech in full.

ESM Goh: S’poreans should be rugged, positive & trust Govt

At the Marine Parade National Day Dinner yesterday (11 Aug), ESM Goh Chok Tong said that Singaporeans should be rugged and have a positive, can-do attitude.

He explained, “When I was in my early 20’s, I was struck by the phrase ‘rugged society’ which then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew sought to build. We must not lose the drive, self-reliance and ruggedness of our parents and first generation leaders. Given our more complex environment, we must recapture that ruggedness and positive, can-do attitude.”

Mr Goh said that no one owes us the right to exist and to prosper. “We should ask ourselves: what services and products can we produce that other countries, with more educated and hungrier workers cannot? Increasingly, our workers will be competing against robots and software that can do the jobs humans used to do, and much better, faster and cheaper.”

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ESM Goh: S’poreans must not pile unrealistic demands on Govt

ESM Goh Chok Tong at the Marine Parade National Day Dinner yesterday (11 Aug) told the audience that Singapore is currently experiencing a mid-life crisis. He said, “I say this because according to some surveys, Singaporeans are amongst the world’s wealthiest but are also the most pessimistic.”

“We are now at an inflexion point of our development as a society. I dare say that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Cabinet are having a tougher time governing Singapore than Mr Lee Kuan Yew and I had. And it is not going to get easier.”

Mr Goh said that this is because today’s external environment is more complex, competitive, and uncertain than in the past. Singapore now has to compete harder against the whole world for jobs, investments and markets.

Everybody’s A Little Bit Elitist

"When society’s brightest and most able think that they made good because they are inherently superior and entitled to their success; when they do not credit their good fortune also to birth and circumstance; when economic inequality gives rise to social immobility and a growing social distance between the winners of meritocracy and the masses; and when the winners seek to cement their membership of a social class that is distinct from, exclusive, and not representative of Singapore society — that is elitism."

Well said, Mr Goh Chok Tong, in this recent speech to alumni of Raffles Institution.

Some argue that, by definition, meritocracy as a system means certain people will end up being better off than others. Elitism, therefore, is a natural consequence. But it doesn’t have to be, because elitism is not about the state of having acquired wealth or success — it is the mindset of being superior and deserving of success. It is also about imposing your own experience in a narrow judgement of others without “walking a mile in their shoes”, and the lack of empathy toward those who have not enjoyed similar good fortune.

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Goh Chok Tong & the Disintegration of the Singaporean Core

In January 2013, Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) Government released a Population White Paper which proposed to increase total population from the existing 5.3 million to 6.9 million in 2030. (link). The paper contradicted itself with a desire to maintain a Singaporean core while aiming for a big immigration increase. This paper also did not define what was the Singaporean core. A likely explanation was it referred to local origin persons with a sense of belonging to the Singapore Republic.

To understand what the Singaporean core might be, will require some historical understanding of Singapore and its population statistics.

From 1786 to 1914, Britain gradually extended its control over the Malayan Peninsula & the northern part of Borneo Island. Singapore, geographically as being part of the Peninsula, was continuously ruled as a British colony from 1819 to 1942 & again from 1945 to 1959. During this period, immigration to British Malaya increased significantly.

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Singapore’s mid-life crisis

How dare people say I am going through a mid-life crisis! I am at the prime of my life even though that old man, LKY, who is even older, thinks I might be heading downhill. Can you believe his book? All forlorn and pessimistic. He’s joined the rest of the country in the gloomy stakes. Hah! I’m still going at 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent a year. My neighbours can eat the smoke from my Ferrari. Oh… Did I just beat a red light?

I break out in hot flushes (or is that only a female thing?) whenever I think about those people telling me to change. Look at all those complaints and suggestions disguised as “reflections’’ in that report! They’re telling me how to age gracefully! I am NOT old, just middle-aged. In fact, I don’t even qualify for senior citizen discounts!

But, frankly, I don’t mind an elixir or two. My knees are getting creaky. The calcium tablets aren’t working. I am thinking of getting more vitamin supplements to boost my immunity but some people say I’m already taking too much. So I guess more of those foreign workers need to go and I’ve got to grow more fruits, vegetables and medicinal herbs in my garden. Something organic. I will still need my foreign help to water them though.

Writing the new Singapore story

THE call by a former prime minister for ending one of Lee Kuan Yew’s cornerstone tenets for governing Singapore when he is still alive has got some questions flying.

Goh Chok Tong, who succeeded Lee in 1990, said Singapore needs to forge a new social compact between people and government to replace the old one to avoid a “mid-life crisis”. In a constituency speech marking the island republic’s 48th National Day, Goh, long believed to be part of the ruling party’s softer faction, spoke of the need to write a new chapter of the Singapore Story.

The reason, he said, is that both the external environment and Singaporeans at home have changed.

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We need to guard against elitism: ESM Goh

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong warned of the dangers of elitism on Saturday evening, saying that it “threatens to divide the inclusive society that we seek to build”.

In order to guard against elitism, ESM Goh said that the practice of meritocracy must not widen the gap between the successful and the rest of society.

Speaking at a Raffles Institution (RI) Homecoming dinner for alumni, ESM Goh talked about adapting and strengthening Singapore’s brand of meritocracy into what he termed “compassionate meritocracy”.

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ESM Goh: "The Singapore Child is being suffocated"

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong is the latest Singaporean leader to weigh in on the thick haze that has enveloped Singapore.

Posting on Facebook on Friday afternoon, the former prime minister lamented the fact that PSI reading had broken another record by breaching the 400 mark.

"The Singapore Child is being suffocated. How can he not scream?" he said, a possible oblique reference to remarks from an Indonesian minister saying that Singapore's reaction to the haze was childish.

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ESM Goh commends Indonesian President for dealing with haze

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has thanked Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for showing the will, graciousness and dignified statesmanship in dealing with the haze problem.

Writing on his Facebook page, Mr Goh said the hot spots in Sumatra have dropped and the PSI is in the moderate range. He said this is helped by rain, wind direction change and the Indonesian President's directive to his ministers to put out the many fires.

Looking to next year, Mr Goh said he is reminded of another old saying, "prevention is better than cure."

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Myanmar needs to do more to project image of stability: ESM Goh


He added, “Not that they were none, but that they were overwhelmed by the bad news (in 2012).”

Mr Goh stepped down from the Cabinet last year after PAP achieved its worst results in last year’s general election, in its close to half a century reign. Things came to a head when angry Singaporeans started to vote against the ruling PAP. For the first time since the independence of Singapore, all the constituencies were contested with the exception of Tanjong Pagar GRC – the opposition team was disqualified as the nomination papers were submitted 35 seconds late.

When the results were announced, even though PAP won the election again, it garnered the lowest winning of % votes in the history of Singapore. Furthermore, for the first time, PAP lost a GRC and two full PAP cabinet ministers in an election. Not only that, three other full cabinet ministers, even though they have won the election, were forced to step down from the cabinet to become ordinary MPs, due to the public anger at their missteps in their respective ministries. The 2 old guards, Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong also stepped down.

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ESM Goh hails PM Lee and team for dealing with future problems early

Former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong on Wednesday applauded Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his team for tabling a white paper now, rather than kicking the can down the road. 

Making his first speech as a PAP backbencher since leaving the Cabinet in 2011, Mr Goh said that the "politically expedient alternative" would have been for Mr Lee to leave the issue to his successor, given that the demographic challenge is unfolding "imperceptibly over one or two decades like a slow, sinking ship." 

"But that is not the responsible way to govern Singapore. My experience in government has been to be upfront with Singaporeans, face the unpleasant facts and work together to overcome problems and crises," he said.

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