Netizens scold PM Lee and ESM Goh for being childish over the word “watch”

by Vincent Low

It all started with Emeritus Senior Minister’s Goh Chok Tong’s Facebook post on New Year’s Eve urgently calling the 4th generation ministers to pick the next PM amongst them before the end of 2018.About a month later on 26 Jan, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong rebuked him publicly through the media, saying, “ESM (Goh) is speaking with the privilege of watching things rather than being responsible to make it happen. I think we know it’s a very serious matter.”

PM Lee wanted the selection of the next PM-designate to be delayed further.

“Fighting” over the word – Watch

Feeling perhaps insulted by what PM Lee had said, ESM Goh then responded last Friday (2 Feb) on another Facebook post. Recalling his previous meetings with the former Iranian Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance, ESM Goh said:

“I recalled my two visits to Iran fondly, the first as Prime Minister and the second, as Senior Minister. Both of us now ‘watch’ things happen, and coincidentally share a common title. He serves as Senior Advisor to his President while I serve as Senior Advisor to MAS!”

Note that ESM Goh ended the sentence with an exclamation mark which suggested that he is trying to tell PM Lee that he is fully qualified to “watch” over things since he is a Senior Advisor to the government, just like the Iranian Minister.

Two days later, probably still feeling bad about being slighted by PM Lee’s “watching” remark, ESM Goh posted again on Sunday (4 Feb). This time, he posted two pictures of himself and an unidentified man sitting next to a pond with a remark, “I watch as he ruminates in the calmness of Learning Forest, far from the maddening crowd.”

A few hours later, PM Lee responded by sharing ESM Goh’s post, adding: “‘Watching’ MParader’s posts: Touché! 🙂 – LHL”

Then later in the day, ESM Goh updated his Facebook post with another remark and two emoticons – one of a big grin and one of a handshake:

“Wow! PM watched my earlier post and reposted on his.”


Some netizens, however, weren’t amused. Many said both PM Lee and ESM Goh were being “childish”, fighting over the “watch” word on Facebook and letting millions of people all over the world to see.