Goh Kee Nguan

Goh Kee Nguan
CEO, Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee; Brigadier General (National Service), Singapore Armed Forces 

A Brigadier General in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) with strong humanitarian convictions, Goh Kee Nguan has had a multi-national, multi-professional education. He graduated from the Royal Military College of Duntroon in Australia, took a degree in computer programming from the University of New South Wales, and earned a Master in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College.

General Goh distinguished himself commanding and effectively running Singapore’s largest-ever humanitarian relief operation, “Operation Flying Eagle”. His 1,500-man-strong contingent of soldiers, sailors and airmen conducted tsunami relief operations in three locations in Indonesia; Banda Aceh, Medan and Meulaboh from 2004-5. He was 44 years old at the time.

Singapore was one of the first countries to send personnel, aircrafts, ships, vehicles and relief supplies to the sites in Sumatra devastated by the earthquake and the tsunami. Operation Flying Eagle also carried supply and support missions to other tsunami-affected areas around the Indian Ocean like Thailand, and Sri Lanka.

“In addition to the assistance by our helicopters, we brought in engineering equipment from the sea to establish beach landing points and to clear supply routes from the coast to the devastated city of Meulaboh,” General Goh said. “The SAF’s medical teams treated 4,000 people in Banda Aceh and Meulaboh.”

Recalling his initial reactions, he said “the scale of devastation that we saw on the ground was beyond what we could ever imagine. It was hard for us to visualize the extent of the damage until we were physically on the ground where we could see and smell the impact of the disaster. Besides the physical damage, the impact on the people of Aceh was also beyond what words could describe. Rather than simply providing humanitarian assistance, we realized that it was important to use our resources to provide relevant and timely help to the victims, and to add significant value to the whole relief operation, whenever possible.”

Today he serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee. In selecting the Brigadier General, the Singaporean Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan said “we have entrusted the challenge of staging an exciting and memorable Games in just under 2 and ½ years to an individual with experience in organizing mega events. With his strong leadership and organizing capabilities General Goh meets the criteria perfectly. His experience in heading the SAF tsunami relief efforts in Indonesia put him in good stead to ensure that the operational and logistical aspects of these first Youth Games run smoothly.”

“The inaugural Youth Olympic Games will be a 12-day event from August 14 to 26 in 2010 and involve an estimated 3,600 athletes between the ages of 14 and 18, 1000 officials and 800 media representatives,” says General Goh. “The International Olympic Committee in Lausanne has decided to feature 26 summer Olympic sports. However, the competition formats have been modified to ensure greater participation and to be more engaging for the youth. Besides sporting excellence, the Games will also give a balanced emphasis on culture and education.”

The organizing committee is counting on thousands of volunteers and more than 15,000 spectators. “Can we handle such a big event on our little island city-state?” he was asked. “I’m absolutely certain we can,” he replied.

Prior to becoming involved in the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games, General Goh was Commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command in the SAF. (P.Ress)


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