Father To Son
Reaching a 70-year milestone seems to have put an extra spring in the step of the Goh family. Pro AVL Asia reports on seven decades of Electronics & Engineering
Electronics & Engineering Celebrates Its 70th Anniversary
The longest-established systems integrator and distributor in Southeast Asia, Electronics & Engineering Pte (E&E), is more than flourishing under the third generation of the Goh family.
Nestled on a small block of pre-war houses along Outram Road, E&E began a journey of discovery by sticking to the principles instated by its founder, Mr Goh Kiok Chuan. E&E has played a firm role in installing cutting-edge AV systems into landmarks – not only in the Lion State but as far and wide as Beijing and India. In parallel with Singapore itself, the company has forged its identity and heritage on a foundation of ingenuity and hard work.
Having initially established a photographic studio in the southern Malaysian town of Benut in the 1940s, Mr Goh’s passion for cinema served as the catalyst for E&E’s creation. Renting a 16mm movie and setting up benches and a bedsheet screen on a vacant lot near his shop, he could charge 20 cents per entry. Several years would pass before Mr Goh started a new company with two friends in radio and cinema. In 1951, Electronics & Engineering came of age importing portable radios, radio parts and WISI antennas from Germany. Although the radio business didn’t perform to expectations, Mr Goh started his own projection equipment company once his two partners had sold their stakes in the business.
In 1963, his eldest son Ronald Goh entered the frame. “I was literally born into the business,” recalls Ronald. “My father founded the principles of E&E, taught us to work smart, to think things through and be righteous.” When Ronald was accepted into Raffles Institution, a premier school for his secondary education, his dad insisted he should go to a technical school as it had better prospects. Singapore was developing, shifting its focus towards engineering, and this would better equip him to assist in the family business.
As the 1970s progressed, E&E did not shy from bigger projects, including the installation of a sound system for Singapore’s National Theatre. Awarded the S$780,000 tender to install a system at Singapore’s new National Stadium, a 21-year-old E&E came of age in 1972.
Seventy years on and the original shophouse continues to serve as the main office and operational nerve centre. “This is where my dad started and it will always be the root of our business,” explains Ronald. “This is the neighbourhood in which I was born, and the continued sense of belonging remains important to me.”