Dr Goh Keng Swee’s Insights on Golfing

Posted by on Nov 18, 2016 in People & Personalities
19980006752 - 0098 GKS colour wm

A portrait of Dr Goh taken in 1984, when he was Singapore’’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education. MITA collection, courtesy of NAS. Ref: 19980006752 – 0098

In this extract from a humorous & insightful speech he gave at the opening of the Tanah Merah Golf Club in 1984, Dr Goh Keng Swee, our former Deputy Prime Minister and first cabinet member, shared with guests why, in his view, many take to the game of golf:

“The great issue I want to discuss is – ‘Why do we play golf’?…A common reason given by a busy executive or harassed professional is that it refreshes the mind and makes him more productive when he returns to work. This reason can be rejected out of hand. Better results can be achieved with less cost in time and money by, for instance, transcendental meditation or yoga exercise.

Then there is the health reason. Again this is easy to demolish…Why not walk briskly for one-and-a-half hours? Better still, why not swim 20 lengths..?[It must be that we simply enjoy the game] but this is manifestly untrue…how often as we go through the fairways, have we heard cries of anguish from golfers, in a nearby green who had just missed a two-foot putt? How often have we ourselves sliced a ball into ponds?…

If rational reasons cannot account for why we play golf , we must seek irrational explanations…I must confess that I wish my colleague Mr Rajaratnam had taken to the game. He has much greater understanding of abnormal psychology that I have and a keener sense of insight into why people behave in irrational ways…”

You can read the rest of the speech online at the National Archive’s database: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/data/pdfdoc/GKS19840317.pdf

Dr Goh taking a swing shot at Bukit Club, Sime Road, 1965. Ref: 19980000605 - 0030

Dr Goh taking a swing shot at Bukit Club, Sime Road, 1965.
Ministry of Information and the Arts collection, courtesy of NAS. Ref: 19980000605 – 0030



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