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Goh Keng Swee: A Singaporean for All Seasons

  • Description
  • About the Author and Illustrator
  • A graphic novel that celebrates the visionary man behind the Jurong Industrial Estate and one of the country’s brightest minds.

    Dr Goh Keng Swee: The architect of Singapore’s economy. The man who built the SAF from scratch. The brains behind Jurong Bird Park and Sentosa; the Renaissance man who mooted the founding of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. Not forgetting, his role in setting up DBS Bank, the Economic Development Board and the Jurong Town Corporation.

    But how did this academic, by his own admission a reluctant politician, transform from an ideas man into founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew’s chief troubleshooter? This is the premise of this graphic novel, Goh Keng Swee: A Singaporean for All Seasons.

    Written in the style of creative non-fiction, this innovative book pivots on the development of the Jurong industrial estate as an inflection point of the story.

    In 1959, when Dr Goh was sworn in as Finance Minister, the stakes could not be higher: 200,000 people, or 14 per cent of the population, were unemployed; the population was growing at 4.5 per cent per year.

    The Jurong industrial project was Dr Goh’s visionary and gutsy initiative to create jobs for the masses, by clearing vast swathes of swampland, building factories and enticing MNCs to set up shop here. But it was a gambit – to the tune of $100 million – which, naturally, was met with resistance from some of his cabinet colleagues. Along the way, the country’s founding fathers also had to deal with regular labour strikes and leftists who infiltrated trade unions to stir up trouble.

    The Jurong project could have cost Dr Goh his job, the PAP’s reputation and even bankrupted the country. Instead, what some critics had labelled as “Goh’s Folly” turned out to be a success, heralded as “Goh’s Glory”.

    • Celebrates the achievements of one of Singapore’s founding fathers
    • A timely introduction to one of the most brilliant minds of his generation who has remained under the radar since his retirement from politics
    • Shares the rationale behind key projects such as the Jurong Industrial Estate and the challenges to execute them
    • Stunning evocative illustrations that tell a compelling story
    • Attention to detail in illustrations from the type of watch Dr Goh wore, the model of the car he drove and even what the façade of the premises of the Singapore High Commission in London looked like at that time
  • Felix Cheong is the author of 17 books across genres, from poetry to fiction, from children’s picture books to non-fiction. His works have been widely anthologised and nominated for the prestigious Frank O’Connor Award and the Singapore Literature Prize. Conferred the Young Artist Award in 2000 by the National Arts Council, he holds a master’s in creative writing and is currently an adjunct lecturer with the National University of Singapore, Murdoch University, University of Newcastle and Curtin University.

    Cheah Sinann is a former editorial cartoonist with The Straits Times, where he also produced the popular comic strip The House of Lim. His cartoon strip Billy & Saltie, which highlights environmental issues appears in The Borneo Bulletin in Brunei, and The Daily Frontier in Bangladesh. His collection Billy & Saltie: Cool Croc was published in 2010. He has since published two graphic novels, The Bicycle Thief (2014) and Terumbu (2018).

ISBN: 9789815113419
Cover Type: Hardcover
Page Count: 144
Year Published: 2023
Size: 235mm x 150mm