Archive | February, 2013

Gilbert Goh: Transitioning From Singaporean to Aussie?

10 Feb

Gilbert Goh is an interesting fella that not many people know about. He is the sort of character that is easily forgettable. One that operates as a champion of underdog causes. Someone that strangely appears on your facebook feed from time to time, and leaves you wondering, “where have I seen this name before”.

Sometime in Apr 2012, Gilbert Goh called for a nationwide boycott in May 2012 against companies that hire “more than 10 people and 80% of them must be foreigners – even though they are permanent residents”.  Back then, Yahoo Singapore Newsroom promoted Gilbert’s call to boycott which targeted chain establishments such as Breadtalk, Mcdonalds, Crystal Jade…etc. After protests from these businesses, Yahoo Singapore was quick to clarify that:

“We’ve reached out to the companies named here and also to the Ministry of Manpower, and we understand that these establishments are compliant with the 50% dependency ratio requirement that is in place, and this in turn will also be cut to 45% in due course. It is possible that the foreign workers Mr Gilbert Goh could have seen previously at these outlets were PRs, who are not counted as foreigners, which could explain his sentiment.

There was however no apology by Gilbert for his damning and unfounded insinuations. Rather, a defiant Gilbert clarified that “many critics have also slammed me for being xenophobic but if being patriotic make me looks like one then I have no choice here.”.

Patriotism is indeed a fine personal trait (but reckless patriotism blinded by one’s prejudices, is ‘xenophobia’, no questions about that).

Which is ironic, considering that Gilbert Goh himself spent a few years in Australia, Sydney, and from what I read online, a place where his wife and child currently reside (Oh no, the Australians have no issues with Asians and embrace their presence wholeheartly, not!).

“While living in Australia, there is this free spirit that inhibits most of us staying there and I thoroughly enjoy the cosmopolitan culture and care free attitude.” – Gilbert Goh

Convenient to enjoy the ‘cosmopolitan culture’ when you are part of the reason for that cultural mix. Back in Singapore, diversity to Gilbert is four-letter word and the result of a three-letter political party acronym.

But I hear from the grapevine that he spent CNY dinner alone. With the current state of his marriage (shhhhhh, sensitive topic), it is apt that he facilitates a Singapore Support Site for the Divorced (but I hardly think “steadymarriages” is an appropriate name for the group).

The most aptly named group that Gilbert Goh heads is of course Transitioning.org. This is the group that is organizing the Speakers’ Corner event “so Singaporeans just come out and unite together to save ourselves! Say NO to 6.9 million population!” (an event i am sure has created a little stir in the pants of the MIW).

Gilbert Goh is indeed transitioning (but not in the Pinkdot/377A way). Defender of the unemployed, the cyber-bullied and the divorcees of the Singapore. A politician, a philanthropist, and a patriot? He sure transitions alright. … Next stop, Australian PR?

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