S.C. Goho and Wartime Singapore


Singapore Memory Project
Danny Chue

Recently I happened to see the documentary Wartime Singapore on TV and it brought me memories of what my father had told me on more than one occasion about World War II in Singapore. (I was born after the war.)

I remember my father telling me about the very good man Mr Srish Chandra Goho who was better known as S.C. Goho.

Goho was a lawyer at that time and my father was his clerk. And during the Japanese invasion Goho, who was in charge of the Indian army in Singapore, had rendered help and protection to my family. And he had provided food, shelter and protection for my aunt (my mother's sister) by taking her to his residence in Calcutta, India where there was no war. Whilst in Singapore, my mother had told me that the Japanese came and knocked on the door of the flat where my father, mother and grandmother were staying in a rented room. Then my father went to the door to answer and after which the Japanese went off and all the people in the flat were unharmed.

Goho then adopted my aunt as his daughter after the war. And my father had in the mid to end 1960s, when returning home from an overseas working trip, visited my aunt at the Goho residence in Calcutta. And my father told me that his residence was a big house with several servants. Then sometime around mid 1980s my aunt came to Singapore and visited us. And today my aunt is still living in Kolkata/Calcutta with her sister-in-law Mrs Goho but at a new Goho residence, and we do keep in touch by letters, cards and phone calls.

And as the years went by after my father had told me about Goho, I read and learnt that during the war Goho had organised the Indian Passive Defence in Singapore with 800 volunteers where 16 depots, one being a first-aid hospital, were set up and more than 10,000 casualties were treated including civilian casualties who were Chinese. And Goho had also secured a few ships from India to evacuate his countrymen, women and children. To all that a passage in a letter from Lt.-Col. Chaudhuri O.B.E., former Commanding Officer of the Nee Soon P.o.W. Camp, to Goho after the liberation read "You saved many lives, and for this our gratitude can never be wanting". So, Goho had not only rendered help to my family but also to many people when the war broke out.

After the war Goho, as an independent candidate, became one of the first of six elected legislative councillors in Singapore in 1948.

Eight years later, his son was admitted to the Singapore Bar and he practised law here. And my parents would bring me to the junior Goho's home on Diwali day and he and his wife would come to our home during Chinese New Year. And when he had retired, there were afternoons when I had tea with him and his wife at their home before they returned to Kolkata to the new Goho residence to spend their retirement. And they had invited me over.

And this is a nice wartime memory which I got from my father.