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Writer Augustine Goh Sin Tub dies

Source: Obituary, Straits Times 17 Nov 2004 (H18)

Local short story writer Augustine Goh Sin Tub, who hails from the pre-war generation of Singaporeans, died on Wednesday, 16 Nov 2004 at Mount Alvernia Hospital. He was 77.

But Goh lives through his 20 published books comprising novels, short stories and poetry. He is best known for his short stories spanning seventy years, against the backdrop of big events such as the Japanese Occupation, the Maria Hertogh riot, the Hock Lee Bus commotion, Singapore's independence in 1965, the Bukit Ho Swee fire, the People's Association strike, the 1997 haze, and the SilkAir plane crash.
Present and future generations of Singaporeans who have never lived through the hardship years of World War II or the pre-independence years of Singapore have him to thank for leaving them with precious anecdotes of the kind of life that their parents and grandparents went through.
And it is these memories that this story teller has preserved for posterity that will help Singaporeans connect with Singapore's past.
In his book One Singapore - 65 Stories By A Singaporean, Goh wrote that "my stories are in the nature of glowings, perspectives from one worm's eye view - an ordinary worm who lived our momentous times."
In his foreword to the same book, Edwin Thumboo noted that "The worm has an excellent memory, a sharp eye for detail; the 'time-web' spans seven decades; the reflections contribute to the flow of that special history; the patchwork will grow, for 'One Singapore' is ongoing, moving as the world moves, in ways that these stories help chart".
Sure enough, One Singapore went on to spawn One Singapore 2 and One Singapore 3.
Goh's last book, Walk Like A Dragon, was published earlier this year. The book is a collection of 65 short stories. In one of them entitled Discoveries, Goh narrated, blow by blow, how he came to need an operation on his head to clear some clots in February 2003.
Of his one-week stay in Mount Alvernia Hospital for the operation, Goh wrote that "I recognise now that week was a 'dry run' for me. When the time comes to really go (whether soon or much later, as God wills), it will be easier. It is a road once travelled...'
Goh had a stroke on 13 Nov 2004 and was admitted to Mount Alvernia Hospital. After a brain operation, he went into a coma from which he never woke up.
The wake is at No. 1 Padang Chancery. Cortege leaves today at 3pm for funeral service at Church of the Holy Spirit, 248 Upper Thomson Road at 3.30pm, thereafter for Mandai Crematorium Hall 1 for cremation at 5pm.
Sources:
 - The Straits Times 17 Nov 2004 (H8)
 - The Straits Times 18 Nov 2004 (H18) Obituary
 - Walk Like A Dragon - Short Stories Published 2004
 - One Singapore - 65 Stories By A Singaporean Published 1998

 

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19 November 2004