Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dr. Goh Keng Swee's immense contribution to Singapore

Many people are aware about the immense contribution that Dr. Goh Keng Swee had made to improve the life of millions of people in Singapore. He was the architect of our economy strategy that transformed Singapore from a developing country to a thriving developed economy. His strategy to attract the multinatinal companies into Singapore laid the foundation for our economic growth. The same strategy is now emulated by many other countries that desired to grow their economy.

There is another aspect of his contribution tht may not be well known. Dr. Goh was the keynote speaker at the historic seminar on the modernisation of the labour movement in 1969. He laid out a convincing case for the labour movement to set up coooperatives to take care of the needs of Singapore, in life insurance, savings and other economic ventures.

This strategy led to the formation of NTUC Income in 1970. Dr. Goh was the chairman of the board of trustees of NTUC Income for nearly 10 years and provided the guidance and advice for NTUC Income to establish a foothold in a challenging market environment.  Without his guidance, it may not be possible for NTUC Income to be what it is today.

Later, the labour movement set up a consumer cooperative (i.e. NTUC Fairprice) and a taxi cooperative (which has since been privatised). The lives of many people are improved by the the contribution of the insurance, supermarket and other coopertives.

I heard stories about the frugal habits of Dr. Goh. He does not believe in wasting money unnecessarily. In his last speech in Parliament in 1984, according to the Straits Times report (quoting Prime Minister Lee), Dr. Goh said about the importance of "public service". I hope that Dr. Goh's message about "public service" can be rekindled.

Tan Kin Lian

Read this report in the Straits Times.


Anonymous said...

...frugal habits of Dr. Goh...

if dr goh is still a minister maybe the pay of current ministers will not be millions.

Anonymous said...

Today ntuc income is squandering away the frugality legacy of Dr. Goh on the stupidity that it has to have a 'modern looking facade for their building', new logo, now color , everything external, more big news paper advertisements with dubious messages hijacked from the past, new title for the insurance agents etc etc.
The only thing forgotten is the professionalism, competence , knowledge and skills of their insurance agents. These make the difference and made different is useless when insurance agents don't have the stuff to make difference to their customers' life. It only shows old dogs can't learn new tricks. New title won't change the fact. More sale is NOT change but only confirms that they are salesmen and product pushers and may border malpractice.
I have been pitched by their agents at roadshows about their growth products as FDs and other products as better than the bank rates despite they are banned by MAS.
Squandering on external changes only tells you the motives, that is they want to hoodwink the public they are made different which is not true. Ntuc agents are salemen. The indsutry fact find submission shows ntuc is last with the lowest submission of option 1&2.Is it a wonder why they were #1 in 2009?
Don't judge a book by the cover.. Honesty is the best policy if it is truly honest , transparent and stop using someone's backside skin as theirs.
Only frugality gives the policyholders good return for their products and affordable protection. Lavish spending and extravagant and wasteful splurging on EXTERNAL to look good is at the expense of the policyholders, the stakeholders.
Dr. Goh's legacy must be revived.

Anonymous said...

"if dr goh is still a minister maybe the pay of current ministers will not be millions."

- Hmmmmm. I wonder why we have not seen more of the frugal Mr Goh Keng Swee over the last 20 years.

Anonymous said...

In Chinese there is a saying.


Meaning time and situation create heroes.

Will there be any future Goh Keng Swees for Singapore?

Anonymous said...

Is the current ntuc income frugal?
The current ntuc is desperately trying to be difference with new facade change, new color, new clothing, new title. It is supposed to look for new ways to enhance their products benefits at low cost. Unfortunately, it is not.It is preoccupied with external changes. All that glitters is not gold. Hope it doesn't end up as wolves in sheep's clothing.

Anonymous said...

Mr.Goh Keng Swee is the type of man that Singapore need.
Singapore has lost a great son.
Mr.Goh,with all respects,may you rest in peace.
To Mr.Goh family,we shared the pains of losing a great man - Mr.Goh Keng Swee.

an army 70s

Anonymous said...

"If Dr Goh is still a minister maybe the pay of current ministers will not be millions"

And they have the conscience to say that they are just building on what Dr Goh already put in place. So what is their contribution to deserve such high salaries?

Anonymous said...

Rex comments on May 16 12.01 pm

hi pal, just a correction - the words are

時勢造英雄 and not "时代造英雄"

(for an interesting discussion on this check out below link:

The meaning is more or less the same as you correctly translated.

Anywy, in my opinion, the likes of Goh Keng Swee are around us all the time. In working life i see plenty of smart humble people too, sometimes they are suppressed due to office politics. Globally the country's politics also surely muzzles the smart and good people. I am quite sure, good types like GKS are plentiful (TKL may well qualify as one of them) but they have no chance to rise to the occasion because of the repressive climate which incidentally makes idiots sound smart so long as they follow the tune of the Leader.

The day of reckoning will come as surely as the angel of death sweeps its wings over the ancient structures that used to support this red dot.


Anonymous said...

"And they have the conscience to say that they are just building on what Dr Goh already put in place. So what is their contribution to deserve such high salaries?"

at first i saw minister huang cried on tv i was very touch. and feel pap quite good actually.

then i read another minister li also cry. but i suddenly have second tought. whats the real meaning of them crying?

maybe another minister li will cry as well soon.

Anonymous said...

maybe he do not like the idea of high salaries for ministers so he had to give way for new blood? just my guess.

if not he should already be MM long ago?

or even MMM (minister mentor mentor)?

but he surely worth to be MMM and should get millions millions more if current minister are already getting millions.

hahaha. really cannot understand why current ministers are getting millions, while someone who can be much has he gotten?

anyone know?

Anonymous said...

I think what Dr Goh had gotten are really peanuts.

really peanuts not joking, very little salary as compared to our current ministers pay of millions.

Anonymous said...

"or even MMM (minister mentor mentor)?"

of course Dr Goh can be MMM because our current MM also surname Goh said he is also a student of DR Goh, as well as many civil servants and ministers said so... Dr Goh was their mentor. I think another Indian MM mentioned Dr Goh as his mentor as well right? Do not know what another MM, MM Lee will say? Was Dr Goh also his mentor as well?

Since someone qualify to be MMM had not be getting millions so surely MM, PM, DPM and all other ministers surely cannot be getting milliions.

Their pay is way too high.

BW said...

"He was the architect .. that transformed S'pore from a third world economy to a thriving developed economy." The Straits Times also quoted Dr Goh describing the economy as "wretched' when he was appointed Finance Minister in 1959.

I don't believe it is accurate to portray us as a third world economy in the 1950s.

Probably the earliest estimate of our per capita income was by Frederic Benham who estimated it to be US$1,200 in 1956 compared with the UK's US$2,750. That is our per capita income was 44% of the UK. Typically, less developed economies have per capita income of under 10% of developed economies.

And, quoting T Silcock "The Commonwealth economy in Southeast Asia (1959)": "(S'pore was) almost certainly the only place in Asia where there was a really substantial middle class." In the mid-1950s, the island had 30 people per private car. No other country in Asia had under 120.

We were already a thriving communications hub back then, with a reservoir of human capital according to Dr Goh himself (1958): "(S'pore had) an entrepreneur class which is both extensive in numbers and high in quality."

Why is it that we lament a lack of entrepreneurship today?

Anonymous said...

It is strange that Dr. Goh retired around the time he remarried the second time. Maybe his second marriage had something to do with him leaving politics.
Whatever happened or being reported by netizens, we regard him with utmost respect and gratitude for what he had done for Singapore.

Tan Kin Lian said...

Thanks for your correction. I agree that the original description of "third world economy" is not appropriate. I have changed it to "developing country".

Anonymous said...

To me, he is the real founding father... unlike someone. RIP Dr. Goh

Anonymous said...

Me had said many times in Cyberspace that SIN has always been the richest state in the whole of S E Asia.

And i find it extremely misleading whenever any claims that SIN was struggling economically in the past.

Now as the Second Largest Economic Country in Asia, Singaporeans are for the first time, beginning to struggle for survivals. BUT, the Rich have become richer and will be even richer than now in the future.

Let's put our history and record accurately. Some tried to mislead but those that ignorantly follow are just as guilty. Try not to be gullible.


Divali said...

"Words of tribute and remembrance for Dr Goh Keng Swee"

Anonymous said...

Definitely, Singapore lost a great leader and not able to find one to replace him.


Name one person who will stand up to LKY or LHL to tell them that their ideas are flaws without fear and retaliation.

The foundation and value of fugality and public services are not carry on by the current batch of leaders.

Anonymous said...

To build on the legacy of Dr. Goh?

I see destruction in the cooperative values in ntuc income soon. Don't be fooled by the so called bonus distribution recently. It was a wool pulled over your eyes to hide the real agenda. The public must be wary. There is no public service but self serving practices.

Anonymous said...

The PM said on TV that GKS is a God. ST said Titan. Despite all the great tributes, how come he is not in the cabinet?

Can anybody answer me?

All big crap.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Goh planted the trees for shade to the future gen but today in ntuc income they chopped down the trees and chipping away the very foundation of cooperatives.

Divali said...

"Singapore Loses a Visionary"

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