Goh Chok Tong Analogy Contest

OK, I haven’t come up with something to give away as a prize, but Goh Chok Tong’s latest analogy was too good to just let go after saying “whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?”

For starters, and for your reading pleasure, I give you the Senior Minister’s latest: “The Platoon Leader & The Hopeless Recruit” (via Yvonne Chia):

Dear Yvonne Chia,

Think of this analogy. I was given a recruit who was assessed to have the potential to be a good soldier. The platoon had to capture a hill. The recruit came under a hail of bullets. As platoon leader, I had to protect him, even at the risk of my own life.

Am I being stubborn or deaf? Or did I not do the honourable thing expected of a platoon leader?

That the recruit could have been better prepared for the mission or be an older, more experienced recruit is a separate point. I am aware of the widespread unhappiness at sending this recruit to the platoon. But I would say, now that the recruit has survived the ordeal of battle, let him prove that he can be a good soldier…

Goh ChokTong

Here’s my own entry:

“Dear Citizen,

Think of this analogy. I was given a handful of rice in one hand, and a chicken in the other. But I can only cook one of the things. Do I cook the chicken? Or the rice? Now, you will know that no matter how I decide, I will not be able to have chicken rice.

I can be stubborn, I can be deaf, and sooner or later, I will have to cook one of the things because I am hungry.

I am aware of widespread unhappiness because I cannot make the chicken rice. So I say we better be prepared and let us get used to eating just rice or just chicken.”

Can? Pass the Talk Chok Sing Tong standard? Post your entries here!

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27 responses to “Goh Chok Tong Analogy Contest”

  1. Aloysius Low Avatar

    Here’s mine.

    Dear Citizen,

    It’s like you’re shopping for branded bags. When you walk into a shopping mall, you’re given the option of buying a wide range of branded bags. But sometimes you have no choice, because your husband doesn’t really know your taste and what you like, so he gave you a Kate Spade bag instead.

    Now, since it’s a gift to you, you sometimes don’t have the choice of not wearing it out in public, especially since he probably pulled some favors to get this one-kind-of-special bag.

    So sometimes, you just have to endure the odd looks and think of them as envious looks. Not every lady can carry off a bag from Kate Spade that features low-powered light bulbs. But I can, and I hope you understand why I’m doing this.

  2. Aaron Koh Avatar

    Wouldn’t a more experience foot soldier be called a private or corporal? Recruit, young or old, is still a recruit.

  3. Hali Avatar

    Dear Citizen

    Think of this analogy. I was given a brand new phone which claims to be well-connected to the 3G and even the 4G network. I was supposed to use it to make phone calls, do messaging, surf the net and connect with the young people on my addressbook. I had no choice as this the only phone they gave me. Furthermore, the contract has been signed and it’s unreturnable.

    Am I stubborn or deaf? Or did I not do the right thing to honour the contract and continue using this phone?

    That this phone could have been better tested for the real world, screened for potentially embarrassing feet-stomping bugs or unknowingly login to people’s FB is a separate point. I am aware of the widespread negative rating of this phone by the public. But I would say, now that this phone did not crash or self-destruct, l have no choice but to use it since I have signed the contract for the next 5 years. I was hoping for this other new phone, the Nokia S24 model since it speaks very well and can easily connect to the 4G network. I even heard it’s waterproof from sweat and tears! I guess I have to wait till the contract ends.

    Goh Chok Tong

    PS. Ask me what is my greatest regreat? I have another analogy to share 🙂

    1. Mr Miyagi Avatar

      What is your greatest regret, @twitter-49339277:disqus ?

    2. kelvin Avatar

      Super nice one Nokia S24. I laughed like mad when i realise what that represented

  4. Sin Ga Por Lang Avatar
    Sin Ga Por Lang


    Dear Citizen,

    Think of this analogy, I was given a watch and was told that it can be an expensive watch. So I took it to diving, but who knows it is not water resistance. As a owner of the watch, I have to quickly get out of water.

    I might be blind or I might be careless, but I did my very best to keep it running.

    Though I know that I can reject the watch or find a water resistance watch for the dive but that is not the point! Because since the watch is mine, just let it be, why do you all have care so much?

  5. Michael Graetz Avatar

    Dear Citizen,

    Think of this analogy. I am the ageing centre back of PAP United and we’ve scored five quick goals at the start of the game (usually we score many more, so this is not as good as it sounds). We were forced to bring one a substitute in the opening minutes. Now the opposing team have introduced a new star striker who is really hot. I have a new, inexperienced right-back beside me. Together we must prevent the striker from scoring at all costs. I am not as nimble as I used to be and my left-back nearly scored an own goal in our last game five years ago and he is being outflanked again. He is no George Best.

    What do I do? I have already tried to support our left-back but exposed our goal keeper in the process. He’s already let one escape his grasp but we had it ruled off side. Sooner or later, it looks like the opposition is going to score, but from where?

    The crowd is jeering my right back every time she gets near the ball. Our manager mentor is not helping by telling the crowd they will repent and our central midfielder is apologetically sending back passes to me all the time. All I can do is hope our new young player’s lack of experience will not put me in a position where I am forced to commit a foul and get sent off.

    Gohl Choke Tongue

  6. Teratai Avatar

    Dear Citizen

    Think of this analogy. I was given a puppy which was assessed to have the potential to be a good guard or hunting dog. While patrolling our border fence, the puppy was bullied by the neighbour’s cats. As the leader of the pack, I had to protect him, even at the risk of some nasty scratches.

    Am I being stubborn or deaf? Or did I do the honourable thing expected of a top dog?

    That the puppy could have been better prepared, or even half as smart as the neighbour’s puppy which is even younger, is a separate point. I am aware of the widespread unhappiness at sending this puppy to do a dog’s job. I would say, now that the puppy has avoided the catfight by hiding behind the “lau kow” (old dog), let him take his tail out from between his legs and prove he can be good dog. Now… Sit. There’s a good boy.


  7. sarahtan Avatar

    !!! huh.. the only reason why this recruit survived was not because you saved her, it’s because the ‘battle’ ended.. and from the looks of it, the ‘battle’ is still raging..

  8. Heypat Avatar


  9. ch33ky butt Avatar

    Dear Shitty-zen,

    Think of this anal … aiyah, bway tahan oredi.
    “OI! Ah Ling ah! AH LING AH! Faster come!”
    *stomping of clueless little feet* “See outside the window! Got the bag lady you like leh. Her name what again ah? Spayed Cat issit? Ya ya, Kate Spade, correct! Still cannot see? Got lah, see further some more. Some more. SOME MORE LAH!”


    Dear Shits-in-sand,

    Problem solved.

    Goh “The Cleaner” Chok Tong

  10. Sigh Avatar

    Think of this anal ogy. I was given a recruit who was assessed to have the potential to be a good soldier because his boots always kilat kilat but IPPT failed. The platoon is full of wayang people. The recruit wayang till he become the best recruit. As platoon leader, I had to honor the SAF system, even if I know it produces people who can read but not lead.

    Am I being stubborn or deaf? No I just wayang along.

    That the recruit could have better fitness is a separate point. I am aware of the wide spread unhappiness at letting this recruit to be the best recruit. But I would say, now that the recruit has mastered the art of wayang, let him carry on since everyone here is doing it…

    1. Ant Avatar

      Blanket Party!!!

  11. Mrbrown Avatar

    I don’t see anything wrong at all with GCT’s analogy; it’s yours that totally doesn’t make sense.

    Why can’t you cook both chicken and rice? Even if you really have to choose one or the other, just go for the chicken! Isn’t that a no-brainer? Most people would love chicken without rice, even those who are not on a low-carb diet.

  12. Vincent Wang Avatar

    Dear Citizen,

    think of this as an analogy. i was given a recording artiste which was supposedly able to be a chart topper. it turn out that this recording artiste was Rebecca Black. We recorded the song and it was horrible, but we posted it on youtube nevertheless.

    Am i stubborn but i’m definitely deaf. but did i do the right thing for sharing this gem with the world?

    The recording artiste could have been Celine Dion or Lady GaGa is a separate point. I am aware of the wide­spread ridicule at releasing this video. But I would say, now that the youtube hits has reached an all time high, let her prove that she can record an album by herself.


  13. Kor Shu Yen Avatar

    Pursuant to Section 49, Paragraph 7E of the Parliamentary Act, I declare that the experience of the recruit is exactly the point.

  14. anonymous Avatar

    Actually his analogy makes perfect sense if you read it again.

    I was given a recruit who was assessed to have the poten­tial to be a good sol­dier. The pla­toon had to cap­ture a hill. The recruit came under a hail of bul­lets. As pla­toon leader, I had to pro­tect him, even at the risk of my own life.

    Am I being stub­born or deaf? Or did I not do the hon­ourable thing expected of a pla­toon leader?
    That the recruit could have been bet­ter pre­pared for the mis­sion or be an older, more expe­ri­enced recruit is a sep­a­rate point. I am aware of the wide­spread unhap­pi­ness at send­ing this recruit to the pla­toon. But I would say, now that the recruit has sur­vived the ordeal of bat­tle, let him prove that he can be a good soldier…

    (2LT) GC­T

    read between the lines.

    1. sieteocho Avatar

      I was going to mention that too. Look like he was fucked by his CO

  15. Mr Tan Avatar
    Mr Tan

    I would feel very concerned for a platoon commander who had to send a recruit rather than a private into a situation which saw a hail of bullets. Was the commander in short supply of manpower? At least a private would have gone through BMT and know to avoid getting shot. Actually on hindsight, I think the analogy is PERFECT! Next time wait until the person at least achieve the lowest actual rank in the army instead of a chow recruit.

  16. Harvey Neo Avatar
    Harvey Neo

    Dear Mr Miyagi

    of this analogy. I was driving to hunt for mushrooms in a car with a co-driver who was assessed to have the
    potential to be a good mushroom picker. We had to find mushrooms in a hill frequented by tigers. (It turns out that the co-driver had no driver’s license but this does not affect my analogy, so I’ll just leave it at that). The
    recruit was chased by a tiger in the hill and I had to tie my shoe laces and run very fast to distract the tiger so as to protect my co-driver-even at the risk of my own life.Am I being stubborn or deaf? I don’t know. Thing is, we did not find any mushrooms but did find plenty of rotting dead trees which incidentally was used by one of the three little pigs to build a Weak Wooden house. Did I not do the honourable thing expected of a driver by placing into safety my co-driver in the Weak Wooden House?That
    the co-driver could have been better prepared to hunt for mushrooms (for a start, she should be able to drive a car) is a separate point. I am aware of the
    widespread unhappiness at sending this co-driver to hunt for edible mushrooms. But I
    would say, now, that I still do not know what is a First World Parliament (despite me googling it two times). Nonetheless, the co-driver has survived the tiger attack, I hope he can eventually find some mushrooms in this rotting Wooden House too.

  17. Nyetshin Avatar

    Think of this analogy- I own an extremely popular chilli crab stall along the east coast. It did very well for many years as I had no competitors & as there is no mrt, & as buses out of area were always packed, residents in the area had no choice but to patronize my stall if they wanted to have their chili crab fix.

    One day, I was offered a young chilli crab chef wannabe. I was happy to accept her as she had many years experience running a coffee shop & I thought she could help develop new crab dishes to cater to younger customers.

    Alas – my new recruit never tasted chilli crab in her life – or Local or sri lankan crabs for that matter. She only tasted crab claws from Alaska & hokkaido. When I gave her some chilli to pound, she would stamp her feet & say she did not know what to do. Alamak – I even had to tell her that chilli crab should be served hot & not chilled! I received many complaints, even from my regular customers who have eaten at my stall for 30 odd years. As a good boss I had to shield my new staff member from the criticisms, & try to counsel her to do better, even at the risk of getting a nasty review from a food blogger.

    Was I being stubborn or was I being deaf? Or did I do the right thing as a leader wanting to develop his team at the risk of poisoning others?

    That the new chef wannabe could have been better prepared in both her technical & soft skills ie at least learnt what chilli crab should taste like & not outrightly contradict customers who complained about our high prices is a separate point. I was aware of the widespread unhappiness that my new employee caused but we managed to fend off a new stall suddenly opening which sold nonya chilli crab! It was highly popular but closed as luckily it just wanted to test the market & were unprepared for the positive response & had to shut prematurely. ..we should move on & let my young chef practice her skills on my customers (since they have no choice anyway). It is okay if she accidentally loses a few or if they feel they are getting a raw deal….rumor has it that there will be plenty of new settlers moving to the area anyway!


  18. Justin Avatar

    Poelpe’s Action Barbie. Each should be sold separately. Batteries not included.

    The recruit should be happy that he survived the battle. I suggest he quit army since he had consistently showed he is not cut to be a soldier. He can probably contribute to nation building by other means such as staying home and raise kids.

  19. Skchua7 Avatar

    There was a rich towkay who lived in Marine Parade. He earned his
    millions from staging cock-fighting shows. One day he decided to bring
    out his prize catch to show the usual crowd around him. It was a frail
    looking chick that had not learn how to crow except to whimper “cheap
    cheap” and hopped up and down on its own two feet. The rich towkay
    boasted that the chick would grow its spurs to become a fine fighting
    cock in 5 years time. The people did not believe him and began to jeer
    and throw stones at the chick. To protect the frightened chick from the
    angry crowd,the towkay did the honourable act by hiding the chick in his
    back pocket. He went on to try to convince the crowd of his time tested
    ability to spot a fighting cock from the day the chick was borne. And
    in 5 years time if the chick turned out to be a hen and not the cock
    that the towkay had boasted, at least everyone could have eggs for char
    kway teow at the Marine Parade hawker centre.

  20. Jaketan77 Avatar

    Think of this analogy. I was given a van by my boss to deliver chwee kway from Tiong Bahru to Bedok. My boss told the customer I was to deliver the chwee kway to that the van was capable of a top speed of 70 km/h and will reach him in at most 40 mins. However, I know for a fact that the van can only do 35 km/h and will get me in trouble with TP if I had gone onto the expressway. As a chwee kuay delivery man, I had to make sure I get this piece of junk my boss calls a van from Tiong Bahru to Bedok in under 40 mins.
    Am I being stubborn or deaf? Or did I not do the honourable thing expected of a chwee kuay delivery man?
    My boss could have given me a real van which could have brought me to Bedok with no problems. I am aware of the possible unhappiness of the customer and my boss if the chwee kway arrived late. But I would say, now that I had got the “van” with its chwee kway cargo to arrive in Bedok barely on time only because of my years of experience and good knowledge of the roads, my employer should scrap this sorry excuse of a van and give me a brand new one. 

  21. Benny Tan Avatar
    Benny Tan

    Dear Yvonne Chia,
    Think of this anal­ogy. I was given a nubile nitwit who was assessed to have the potential to be an older nitwit.
    I just sucked it up. Everything else is a separate point. You should too.

  22. Yanny Ong Avatar
    Yanny Ong

     This GCT analogy (if true) is seriously flawed because it assumes the people of Singapore is the ‘enemy’.  

  23. Kayangmo Avatar

    It is this: Get the recruit in, and you can retire, old Goh, and still keep your pension. Period.
    What do I do? I get the recruit in.

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