ESM Goh Chok Tong to release first volume of biography in November

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong's book includes a photo of himself and former Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee Hwa at a party in Vienna in the 1970s.
Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong's book includes a photo of himself and former Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee Hwa at a party in Vienna in the 1970s.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/MPARADER

SINGAPORE - The first volume of a two-part biography of Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong will hit bookshelves in two months.

Called Tall Order: The Goh Chok Tong Story, it will cover Mr Goh's early life up to 1990, when he took office as prime minister.

Mr Goh revealed the news in a Facebook post on Thursday night (Sept 6), when he uploaded pictures of himself meeting former Hong Kong chief executives Tung Chee Hwa and Leung Chun Ying on a recent visit to the city, as well as an older photo of himself and Mr Tung.

"Both are old friends," Mr Goh, 77, wrote. "I first met Chee Hwa in the early 1970s when we were both in shipping."

He added that the older photo of both men "partying in Vienna drinking young wine after an international shipping conference" will feature in his biography, which will be released in November.

Mr Goh was Singapore's second prime minister, and held the post for nearly 14 years before stepping down in 2004.

According to a description on the website of the publisher World Scientific, the book will reveal "the private deliberations and negotiations" between Mr Goh and Singapore's first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew before the leadership transfer in 1990.

It will also tell the extraordinary story of Mr Goh's life and career over half a century, "revealing how Singapore's second Prime Minister rose through a combination of strength, wit and a political nous which many, including himself, did not know he had".

"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," it added.

The biography is being written by former Straits Times journalist Peh Shing Huei, who is now a partner at content agency The Nutgraf.

Mr Peh said the book was based on a series of face-to-face interviews with Mr Goh, done by the Nutgraf team as well as ST Editor-at-Large Han Fook Kwang. It will include content that has not been made public previously.

 

"It has been 14 years since ESM Goh stepped down as Prime Minister and I understand there have been many people who have tried to persuade him to tell his story during this time. I'm glad he has finally agreed," Mr Peh, 42, said.

"He gave me and my team generous time and plenty of good stories."