Modified & Updated: 08 Sep 2023

george goh ching wah

Emerging from a background of hardship to the pinnacle of entrepreneurial and diplomatic success, George Goh Ching Wah’s life epitomizes an inspiring journey of relentless determination and commitment. As he embarks on a new journey in politics, let’s delve into the life of this remarkable individual. Here are 20 intriguing facts about George Goh Ching Wah.

Table of Contents

Early Life and Education

  1. Born in Humility: On November 25, 1959, George Goh Ching Wah was born into a modest family in Negeri Sembilan. As one of eight siblings, his childhood was marked by the challenges of poverty, laying the foundation of his resilient personality.
  2. Work Ethic from Childhood: At the tender age of 16, Goh dropped out of school and commenced his professional journey as a sweeper and general worker at a shoe factory in Singapore. His modest start, earning a mere weekly salary of $15, was the first step of an incredible journey.
  3. A Degree in Music: Demonstrating his multifaceted personality, Goh pursued his passion for music and obtained an honors degree in music performance from the prestigious Trinity College of London in 2022, reiterating that it’s never too late to follow one’s passion.

Goh’s Entrepreneurial Journey

  1. First Venture at 22: Goh’s entrepreneurial spirit manifested early as he started his first business, DeClassici Shoe Manufacturer, at just 22. This initial venture paved the way for his prosperous career ahead
  2. From Shoemaking to Stock Exchange: Co-founding Ossia International Limited in 1990, Goh expanded his business portfolio. His leadership led the company to be publicly listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange in 1996, a testament to his business acumen.
  3. Harvey Norman Ossia: Goh’s entrepreneurial ventures took a global turn in 1999 when he partnered with Gerry Harvey, the multinational retailer Harvey Norman, to establish a $S33 million joint venture named Harvey Norman Ossia, making a significant mark in the Asian retail industry.
  4. Contributions to the Environment: Diversifying his business interests, Goh co-founded United EnviroTech in 2003, a wastewater treatment firm, showcasing his commitment to environmental sustainability
  5. Ventures in Property: Goh also made his mark in the property sector, collaborating with several property companies to establish Ossia Land, a property division of Ossia International Limited, further expanding his business empire.

george goh ching wah with public

Diplomatic and Community Work

  1. Ambassador to Morocco: Goh’s diplomatic career highlights his appointment as Singapore’s Non-Resident Ambassador to Morocco in 2017, a role he performed for several years with distinction.
  2. Service to the Red Cross: An active participant in community service, Goh serves as a Council Member at the Singapore Red Cross, contributing his efforts towards humanitarian assistance and international relief.
  3. Presbyterian Community Services: Alongside his diplomatic duties, Goh is also an Executive Board Member of the Presbyterian Community Services, demonstrating his commitment to community service.


  1. Border Mission Limited: Goh and his wife co-founded Border Mission Limited in 2015, a charity organization that provides support for elderly cardboard collectors and people with disabilities in Singapore, highlighting his philanthropic efforts.
  2. Support for Remote Himalayan Communities: The couple’s charity also extends to serving remote communities in the Himalayas, showing their commitment to humanitarian work beyond their national borders.

George Goh’s Personal Life

  1. A Loving Family: Goh is happily married to Madam Lysa Sumali and is a father to four children – daughters Joanna, Jovina, and Ingrid, and son Jonathan. His love and commitment to his family is a significant aspect of his life.
  2. Religious Faith: A devout Christian, Goh places great importance on his faith. He is an active member of the Presbyterian Church, regularly participating in religious missions and even singing in the church choir.

Presidential Ambitions for George Goh

  1. Independent Candidate: On June 12, 2023, Goh announced his intention to run for the President of Singapore as an independent candidate, marking a significant milestone in his illustrious career.

George Goh’s Hobbies and Interests

  1. A Passion for Music: A classical music enthusiast, Goh pursues his love for music by regularly singing in the church choir, further enhancing his multifaceted personality.
  2. A Sports Fan: Goh is also an avid sports enthusiast and believes in the power of sports to inspire and unite people, adding another dimension to his diverse personality.

Legacy and Impact

  1. From Poverty to Prosperity: Goh’s inspiring journey from a struggling child worker to a successful entrepreneur and diplomat is a testament to his perseverance and resilience.
  2. An Exemplary Figure: Through his entrepreneurial, philanthropic, and diplomatic efforts, Goh has significantly contributed to society, leaving an indelible mark on Singapore’s business and diplomatic landscape.


George Goh Ching Wah is a shining example of how sheer determination, coupled with the right opportunities, can propel individuals to achieve great heights. His life story serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs and community leaders, demonstrating that success is possible, regardless of one’s beginnings.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where was George Goh Ching Wah born?

George Goh Ching Wah was born in Negeri Sembilan.

What was Goh’s first business venture?

Goh’s first business venture was DeClassici Shoe Manufacturer, which he started at the age of 22.

What role did Goh play in the Singapore Red Cross?

Goh served as a Council Member at the Singapore Red Cross, contributing to humanitarian assistance and international relief.

What philanthropic work has Goh done?

Goh and his wife co-founded Border Mission Limited, a charity that supports elderly cardboard collectors and people with disabilities in Singapore, as well as remote communities in the Himalayas.

What is Goh’s latest career move?

On June 12, 2023, Goh announced his intention to run for the President of Singapore as an independent candidate.