Goh Chok Tong biography's first volume 'nearing completion', to be released in November

Nicholas Yong
Assistant News Editor
PHOTO of Goh Chok Tong at National Day Parade 2018: Stefanus Ian/Yahoo News Singapore

The first volume of Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong’s authorised biography is nearing completion, and it will hit bookshelves here in November.

According to the website of publisher World Scientific, the book is called Tall Order: The Goh Chok Tong Story. The first volume will cover the early life of Goh until 1990, when he took office.

It will unveil “the private deliberations and negotiations” between Goh and the late Lee Kuan Yew before the latter handed over power. The website added, “In this first of two volumes, Goh navigated years of a challenging apprenticeship to Lee, scoring numerous policy successes but also suffering political blows and humiliation.”

The second volume will focus mainly on his tenure as Singapore’s second Prime Minister.

The news was revealed by Goh, 77, in a Facebook post on Thursday (6 September), when he posted an old photo of himself with former Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee Hwa drinking “young wine” in Vienna. “This photo will feature in my authorised biography due for publication in November,” said Goh.

The biography is the brainchild of former Straits Times journalist Peh Shing Huei, now a partner at content agency The Nutgraf, and his colleagues Sue-Ann Chia, Aaron Low and Pearl Lee.

The quartet has been working on the book for more than a year. Straits Times Editor-At-Large Han Fook Kwang also served as an advisor for the book.

In response to queries from Yahoo News Singapore, Peh said that the book is “nearing completion”. It is based on research as well as face-to-face interviews with Goh and “many of his peers, observers and family”.

“I must say that he has been most generous with his time, and very candid in his sharing, including on things that happened long ago,” said Peh.

Goh, who began his career in the shipping industry, joined politics in 1976. He served in various ministries including finance, trade and industry and defence before becoming PM. After stepping down as Prime Minister in 2004, he was appointed as Senior Minister before becoming ESM in 2011.

The Member of Parliament for Marine Parade ignited controversy in August over the issue of ministerial pay, when he claimed that “ministers are not paid enough”.  Goh implied that those who earn less than $1 million a year are “very, very mediocre” and are not worthy of being ministers.

Goh later clarified that he did not mean to call Singaporeans mediocre.

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