- Dr. Goh Keng Swee Campaigning At Kreta Ayer Constituency Elections
- Chop Wah On at No. 67, Pagoda Street,- Chinatown
Dr. Goh Keng Swee – It’s Been A Hard Day’s Night
Former Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Goh Keng Swee first contested the Kreta Ayer Constituency Legislative Assembly seat in 1959. Back then I was a Primary 2 student of Pearl’s Hill School I, and was living at 67, Pagoda Street in Chinatown, where my family’s business, Chop Wah On was located.
The condition of the shophouses in Chinatown were all in a deplorable state as the owners had neglected to maintain the property given the meagre rentals they received from these rent-controlled properties. In particular, the staircases leading up to the 2 to 4 storeys in these shophouses were most challenging both physically and psychologically for anyone who used them. . The staircases were all rickety, dingy and even smelly
. As it was the first time that Dr. Goh was contesting in the Legislative Assembly election, he had to visit and introduce himself to all the Kreta Ayer constituents who lived mainly in these shophouses in Chinatown. We had heard of election candidates in the heartland constituencies complained of how demanding it was physically to take a lift to the top floor of an HDB block and then walk down every floor to visit their constituents. I imagine, Dr. Goh’s task at campaigning was probably a 100-times harder than those of the heartland candidates.
I remembered it was around 6pm or later when I saw him as I was already back from afternoon school. He was walking along the five-footway near our shophouse with a few of his PAP supporters, doing the last stretch of his campaigning for the day. He was panting and sweating profusely. Using his handkerchief to wipe off his sweat from his neck and brow, he extended his hands out to our neighbours and said “ I am Dr. Goh, please vote for me”. It must have been a hard day’s night for Dr. Goh campaigning.
Fortunately for Dr. Goh, he was returned unopposed in all the subsequent elections.