George Goh Shares What He Hopes To Achieve If He Were To Become President Of Singapore
Entrepreneur George Goh was thrust into the spotlight when he announced his intention to contest the Presidential Election this year.
In addition to racking up impressive business accomplishments like bringing Harvey Norman and World of Sports into Singapore, the 63-year-old also keeps himself busy with charity and community work.
And if he were to become President, he hopes to do more to bring other successful people together to help the less privileged.
This afternoon (27 July), Mr Goh and his wife Ms Lysa Sumali visited Dignity Kitchen to help pack and distribute food to elderly folks in the area.
He also took a few minutes to speak to MS News and other media outlets, sharing more about what philanthropy means to him.
George Goh hopes to rally more support for the elderly
As the co-founder of the charitable organisation Border Mission, Mr Goh is no stranger to helping others in need.
One of the communities they serve is elderly cardboard collectors. In addition to providing storage space and bicycles, Border Mission negotiates with karang guni or rag-and-bone men to offer higher buying prices for cardboard.
“Sometimes, the price is as low as five cents per kg,” he shared. “So we’ve managed to ask the karang guni men to increase the price, which in turn helps to increase the elderly collectors’ incomes.”
Of course, he hopes to do even more for this group should he be elected into office.
One way to do this is by bringing more business owners together to champion and support this vulnerable part of society.
“I would encourage more people to support the elderly,” Mr Goh shared. “I foresee the number will increase because of our ageing population.”
Believes in being on the ground to understand people’s struggles
Besides the elderly, another area Mr Goh’s charity organisation focuses on is people with disabilities.
He admitted that at first, he didn’t expect there to be such “a big number” of them.
“As we slowly got more involved, we noticed that there are a lot of people like this in Singapore who need help,” he elaborated. “So at Border Mission, we decided to champion this second group.”
In order to more accurately understand the needs of their beneficiaries, Mr Goh emphasised that Border Mission strongly believes in “working on the ground”.
“We don’t work with the concept of donating,” he said. “We want to be on the ground with the families to understand how they’re struggling.”
Helps pack & distribute food to the elderly
With his beliefs, it’s no surprise that Mr Goh had nothing but high praise for Dignity Kitchen, a social enterprise that provides training and employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
It also gives out free meals to people in need at 4pm on weekdays.
Besides speaking to the media and meeting the staff, Mr Goh was also there to assist with the packing and distribution of food packets.
He took his time to speak to the dozens of people there, most of whom were seniors, who showed up to receive their dinners.
“This is a wonderful place,” he gushed during a doorstop interview. “If Singapore had more social enterprises that came together to help others, especially the ageing population, I think that would be wonderful.”
While Singapore is “a very advanced country”, Mr Goh noted that there are still a lot of low-income households and individuals.
“I think we should bring more institutions and businessmen — and of course the wealthy are invited too — together,” he said.
“It’s very important for those who are successful to come forward, with a leader who stands with them, to work to bring society together.”
“I think that would be very good for society, so I hope I can do more to unite these people if I’m in office.”
Family background spurred passion for philanthropy
Mr Goh’s passion for helping the poor stems from his own humble background.
Growing up in a blue-collar family in Malaysia, he shared that one of his brothers passed away at just four weeks old as they couldn’t afford proper medical care.
Another one of his brothers became handicapped at the age of 15 due to an accident, and his mother is a stroke patient.
“When I see my family and when I look at these people, my heart is burning [for them],” he declared. “I say we have to be part of it. This is where I’m coming from — to serve the nation for the next six years.”
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Featured image by MS News. Photography by Doreen Fan.
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