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Dr Goh Keng Swees early life.

Early life
Born into a middle-income Peranakan family in Malacca, he came to
Singapore when he was two years old. His early education was at AngloChinese School (19271936) and later at Raffles College (19361939).
Armed with a diploma in arts, he entered the colonial civil service in 1939,
but his career was interrupted by the Japanese Occupation. He rejoined the
civil service in 1946 and his outstanding performance earned him a
scholarship to study statistics at the London School of Economics (LSE) in
1947. During his stay in London, he started the Malayan Forum, an anticolonial political group, with some fellow students including Lee Kuan Yew
and Toh Chin Chye. Goh became its first chairman.
In 1951, he graduated from LSE with a first class honour in economics and
won the William Farr Prize. He resumed work in the civil service back in
Singapore, but later returned to LSE for further studies in 1954 and obtained
his Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1956.
His mother Tan Swee Eng was from the family that produced the Malaysian politicians Tun Tan
Cheng Lock and his son Tun Tan Siew Sin, who would later become Goh's lifelong political
opponent. Since young, Dr Goh has been exposed to leadership and political issues. He has
probably been influence and inspired.
During his time in London, Goh met fellow students seeking independence
for British Malaya, including Abdul Razak (later Malaysia's second Prime
Minister), Maurice Baker (subsequently Singapore's High Commissioner to
Malaysia), Lee Kuan Yew and Toh Chin Chye. A student discussion group, the
Malayan Forum, was organized in 1948 with Goh as the founding chairman.
When Goh Keng Swee organized the Malayan Forum, I could see that when
he was young he already wanted to be a leader. With his transformational
leader ship, Dr Goh set up the forum with MMLee and Toh Chin Chye. Lee
Kuan yew and Toh chin chye and dr goh were anti-colonial and they had the
same vision for Singapore to become independent.
In 1952, together with fellow civil servant Kenneth M. Byrne, Dr Goh formed the Council of
Joint Action to lobby against salary and promotion policies that favoured Caucasians over

Asians. His transformational leadership inspired other people to join the Joint Action to confront
the Caucasians. His leadership helped some Asians .
In 1958 he was made Director of the Social and Economic Research Division in the Chief
Minister's Office. He resigned from the civil service in August that year to work full-time for the
People's Action Party (PAP). Lee Kuan Yew was the leader of PAP and Dr Goh was one of its
member and help out a lot.
Transformational Leadership can be characterized as a process where leader
and followers work together, in a way that changes, or transforms the
organization, the employees/followers and the leader.
It recognizes that real leadership involves transformation and learning on the
part of follower AND leader. As such it is more of a partnership, even though
there is power imbalances involved. Transformational leadership is based on
inspiring, getting followers to buy-in voluntarily, creating common vision.
Steps (transformational leadership)
Developing the vision
Transformational Leadership starts with the development of a vision, a view of the future
that will interest followers. The important factor is the leader focuses into it.
Goh Keng Swee claimed he had no actual particular vision and said, I am not a
dreamer. However, his aim and hope for Singapore is to want Singapore to
succeed and prosper. This is shown through his many ideas which makes
transforms Singapore into what it is today, a world-class city. When he was
young, he constantly discussed economic matters with his father and was clearly
the leader of his class when he was in raffles college.
Selling the vision
The next step, which never stops, is to constantly sell the vision. The Transformational
Leader takes every opportunity and will use whatever works to convince others to climb on
board the plan/vision.
In order to create followers, the Transformational Leader has to be very careful in creating
trust, and their personal integrity is a critical part. So, they are selling themselves and their

During his time in the government, he constantly sells his vision and aim for
Singapore and creates many new policies and organizations for one reason---to
achieve his vision and aim for us which is to make Singapore prosper.
One way he sold his vision/aim for us is when he founded the Malayan Forum in
1949, which is a political discussion group to rally support for the decolonization
of and independence of Singapore. This made the people in the discussion group
know what his aim was for Singapore and thus, they would also try to achieve the
way with him. This shows how he has the traits of transformational leadership
and how he managed to create followers.
Another way he used to sell his hope for Singapore is to spearhead to
development of two most public policy achievements: Economic Development
Board(EDB) and the Jurong Town Corporation. Economic development board was
set up to encourage multinational companies to carry out their operations in
Singapore through the assistance provided by its overseas branches. Jurong Town
corporation was also set up to develop basic infrastructures and industrial
estates. All these helped the people of Singapore to realize the need to improve
themselves and thus, Singapores economy changed to a knowledge-based
economy which makes Singapore prosper into what it is today.
Finding the way forwards
Finding the way forward can be an ongoing process of course correction, and the
Transformational Leader will accept that there will be failures and wrong descisions along
the way. As long as they feel progress is being made, they will be happy.
The most controversial mistake made by Goh Keng Swee is streaming in primary
school. This was reversed years later but had still caused much damage to
generations of Singapore. Those people, whose talents show only later in life,
would probably succeed better in a less stressful environment. Also, another
mistake, which in fact proved out to be a correct decision in the future, was the
infamous Gohs folly. During the early years of Singapores industrialization
program , Goh Keng Swee set up the Jurong Town Corporation. This was seen as a
mistake because Jurong, at that time, was a swamp land and not a good place for
businesses. However, years later, Jurong proved to be the right place for
businesses and proved to be a right decision. Although many people saw it as his
folly, Goh Keng Swee still felt it was a right decision and that made him happy. He
also accepted his wrong decisions along his way in the government and this
makes him a good leader.

Leading the charge

Transformational Leaders are always visible and will stand up to be counted rather than
hide behind their troops. They show by their attitudes and actions how everyone else
should behave. They also make continued efforts to motivate and rally their followers,
constantly doing the rounds, listening, soothing and enthusing.
Overall, they balance their attention between action that creates progress and the mental
state of their followers. Perhaps more than other approaches, they are people-oriented and
believe that success comes first and last through deep and sustained commitment.
Goh Keng Swee is very commited to his job and always comes up with ways to
solve problems that Singapore faces. He is also a very frugal person and hates to
spend money unnecessary. For example, he brought his own soap to wash his one
and only piece of underwear when he went travelling.