Monday 24 November 2014

Get-well wishes pour in after ESM Goh's surgery

By Walter Sim, The Sunday Times, 23 Nov 2014

Scores of Singaporeans sent their wishes for a speedy recovery to Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who underwent successful surgery yesterday for prostate cancer.

Many, including grassroots leaders and volunteers who work with him in his Marine Parade ward, were surprised by news of his cancer, although book publisher Tan Wu Cheng said that keeping quiet about it was typical of Mr Goh's low-key style.

"He likes to keep a low profile. He doesn't want to worry his residents as he knows we will be quite bothered about it," said the volunteer, who has been with Mr Goh since he was elected MP for Marine Parade in 1976.

A statement from Mr Goh's press secretary yesterday evening said that the 73-year-old, who was prime minister from 1990 to 2004, had successful surgery.

His doctor, Dr Sim Hong Gee, senior consultant urologist at Gleneagles Hospital and visiting consultant at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), said Mr Goh is expected to make a full recovery as the cancer was localised and detected early. He will remain at SGH for a few days for observation.

Mr Goh, who had been holidaying in Fukuoka, Japan, a week ago and returned home on Thursday, was expected to be present at a dinner and awards ceremony last night to mark the 60th anniversary of the People's Action Party.

Fellow Marine Parade GRC MP Seah Kian Peng told The Sunday Times at the dinner that Mr Goh told him he would be going for an operation. "I didn't get into the details... Of course, today, he released a statement and the important thing is we're very happy that it was a very successful operation. Personally, knowing ESM, I'm quite sure he will come back stronger. I join all Singaporeans and residents in wishing ESM a full and speedy recovery."

More get-well wishes and comments came in via social media last night, including on Mr Goh's Facebook page, MParader.

They included one from netizen Kevin Quek: "Get better soon. And you would also be a good person to bring awareness to this problem and encourage early detection and treatment."

Added another poster Anthony Ng, in a sentiment many others expressed: "Speedy recovery, ESM Goh. Good leaders shall not be forgotten, after all the good work you've done for Singapore."

Fellow Marine Parade MP and Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin's Facebook post wishing him a "smooth and speedy recovery" drew nearly 700 likes and 70 comments.

Ms Tin Pei Ling, another Marine Parade GRC MP, also posted her wishes for a "speedy recovery!" on Facebook, attracting 103 likes and 16 comments.

Prostate cancer is the third most common cancer among Singapore men after colorectal and lung cancer. The cancer forms in tissues of the prostate - a gland in the male reproductive system below the bladder - and usually occurs in older men.

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