PM Lee Hsien Loong responds to ESM Goh Chok Tong's 'watching' FB posts

ESM Goh posted photos of himself and an unidentified man on Facebook, accompanied by the caption, "I watch as he ruminates in the calmness of Learning Forest, far from the maddening crowd".
ESM Goh posted photos of himself and an unidentified man on Facebook, accompanied by the caption, "I watch as he ruminates in the calmness of Learning Forest, far from the maddening crowd".PHOTO: FACEBOOK/MPARADER
ESM Goh posted photos of himself and an unidentified man on Facebook, accompanied by the caption, "I watch as he ruminates in the calmness of Learning Forest, far from the maddening crowd".
ESM Goh posted photos of himself and an unidentified man on Facebook, accompanied by the caption, "I watch as he ruminates in the calmness of Learning Forest, far from the maddening crowd".PHOTO: FACEBOOK/MPARADER

SINGAPORE - Netizens have been following with some interest a Facebook exchange between Singapore's current and immediate past prime ministers on the country's leadership succession.

The exchange started on New Year's Eve when Emeritus Senior Minister Goh urged the younger ministers to pick the next Prime Minister before the end of 2018, calling it an "urgent challenge" for Singapore.

On Jan 26, when quizzed about the matter by reporters during a trip to India, PM Lee said that the process to select the next PM will "take a little bit longer" than ESM Goh's timeline.

He added: "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."

ESM Goh then picked up the "watching" reference in two separate Facebook posts.

Last Friday, he posted on his page MParader about his meeting with former Iranian Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance, Dr Ali Tayebnia: "I recalled my two visits to Iran fondly, the first as Prime Minister and the second, as Senior Minister. Both of us now 'watch' things happen, and coincidentally share a common title. He serves as Senior Advisor to his President while I serve as Senior Advisor to MAS!"

On Monday morning (Feb 5), ESM Goh made another post on Facebook with a similar reference.

"I watch as he ruminates in the calmness of Learning Forest, far from the maddening crowd," he wrote, and posted two pictures of himself and an unidentified man in the distance.

A few hours later, PM Lee shared ESM Goh's post, adding: "'Watching' MParader's posts: Touché! :) - LHL"

The posts have led some people to speculate on the relationship between the two men.

One person left a comment on ESM Goh's page, saying: "Using FB to get a message across between a former PM and the current PM reflects a strained relationship that requires some patching up. Hopefully, we don't end up watching more things happening."

PM's "Touché!" post led to someone asking the PM on his Facebook page: "Is this a call for a truce?"

Perhaps. Later in the day, ESM Goh updated his post with not one but two emoticons - one of a big grin and one of a handshake, adding:

"Wow! PM watched my earlier post and reposted on his. -gct"