I knew I was not to be a seat warmer: Excerpts from Goh Chok Tong's biography

Tall Order: The Goh Chok Tong Story chronicles the political journey of Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, from his young days to his entry into politics and the highs and lows as he rose through the ranks to become Singapore's second prime minister. It also reveals the deliberations and negotiations between Mr Goh and founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, before Singapore's maiden leadership transfer in 1990. Written by former Straits Times news editor Peh Shing Huei and published by World Scientific, the book is the first of two volumes on Mr Goh. It contains a foreword and afterword by the Emeritus Senior Minister, and a Q&A segment in each of the book's 10 chapters. Here are edited excerpts of the Q&A between the author and Mr Goh from the book.

Q Were you regarded as the top high-flier in the 1976 General Election and seen as one of the potential new Cabinet ministers?

A I would not say so. At that time, nobody expected you to be anybody. Succession was still not quite yet flaunted or talked about. How did you know the others would not be high-fliers? Nobody speculated that you would be an office-holder and there was no point in speculating because the old ministers then were still quite young. It was too early to say. Your bigwigs in politics were there - Toh Chin Chye, Ong Pang Boon, Chua Sian Chin, Jek Yeun Thong, S. Rajaratnam, E.W. Barker. They were in their late 40s, at most 50s. I was 35.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 04, 2018, with the headline ''I knew I was not to be a seat warmer''. Print Edition | Subscribe