Perak Academy’s Perak Lectures 15th Series, 1st Talk: “Goh Keng Swee: The Malayan” by Dr. Ooi Kee Beng

Dr. Goh Keng Swee (1918 – 2010), although born in Melaka, Malaya (now Malaysia), relocated with his family to Singapore, when he was just two years old.

Perak Academy lecture

Dr. Ooi Kee Beng giving the talk “Goh Keng Swee: The Malayan in Singapore”

From this talk, it looked like Dr. Goh’s heart had always been with mainland China first and foremost, followed by Singapore, first as a city, and then as a country.

Interestingly, as one of the founding members of People’s Action Party (PAP), the initial objective to form the party was to have Singapore and Malaysia as one country, with Singapore as the capital city. In Malaya, on the other hand, leaders had envisioned Kuala Lumpur as Washington, D.C. and Singapore City as New York City. Either way, these were not realised, obviously.

Perak Academy lecture

dinner talk

It is quite astounding with the numerous institutions and agencies he established in Singapore, building and shaping the country to much of what it is today.

But there is no denying that if not for the free hand and backing given to him by Lee Kuan Yew, many of his visions and ideas would have come to naught.

Some of the hard institutions that were formed by Dr. Goh were the Singapore Armed Forces and the Defence Services Organisation (DSO). Dr. Goh was also instrumental in the establishment of Sentosa, Jurong Bird Park and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, just to name a few.

Here was a man who thought really far ahead of times, and his passion for nation building was already evident from a young age.

Perak Academy lecture

Dr. Ooi is presented with a gift of appreciation by Perak Academy’s Mr. Chan Kok Keong

About the speaker:

Dr. Ooi is Deputy Director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) in Singapore since 2004.

While Dr. Ooi has a few books under his belt, perhaps the more well-known is award-winning book, The Reluctant Politician: Tun Dr. Ismail and His Time (2006).

This talk, organised by Perak Academy, was based on his book, In Lieu of Ideology: An Intellectual Biography of Goh Keng Swee (2010).

Event: Perak Academy Perak Lectures 15th Series, 1st Talk “Goh Keng Swee: The Malayan” by Dr. Ooi Kee Beng
Venue: Symphony Suites, Ipoh
Date: 18th Oct, 2013
Time: 8pm

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