New book provides 'scholarly analysis' of Goh Keng Swee's legacy
SINGAPORE - A second book commemorating the late Dr Goh Keng Swee's contributions to Singapore was launched yesterday by the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) and World Scientific Publishing.
Titled Goh Keng Swee: A Legacy of Public Service, the book (picture) aims to "provide a scholarly analysis" of Dr Goh's legacy of service across a number of portfolios.
Written by 10 Singaporean scholars, the book spans the entirety of Dr Goh's career in public service and his involvement in policies in social welfare, finance, defence, the education system and even in the establishment of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
Among the issues tackled is the question of whether Dr Goh had been rightly framed and given a status of a "hero".
"(It is) not so much documenting the consequences of his farsighted decisions and actions, but inquiring into the process of how his decisions were made and implemented," wrote Mr Kwa Chong Guan, head of external programmes at the RSIS, in one of the book's essays.
The book also serves as a companion to a first volume, Goh Keng Swee: A Public Career Remembered, which was launched last year.
"(The two volumes) will help a younger generation of Singaporeans assess the impact of Dr Goh's contributions to the making of Singapore today and shape our opinions for our future," said RSIS Dean Barry Desker.
One of the book's editors, assistant professor Emrys Chew, who is Dr Goh's grand-nephew, called the project "a labour of love, albeit undertaken with the impartiality of a scholar". While he only saw Dr Goh infrequently during extended family meetings, Dr Chew fondly remembers his grand-uncle as a "great economist, with a science behind his actions".
A foreword written by President Tony Tan said the book "captures Dr Goh's foresight and the vigour with which he addressed the problems of our new nation as well as the imagination he showed in solving them".
Former President S R Nathan, who launched the book, welcomed it as a "legacy to a great man who has contributed much to Singapore". Goh Keng Swee: A Legacy of Public Service is currently available at all major bookstores at S$52.
By Woo Sian Boon
09 May 2012
Photo by DON WONG