The more common usage of the honorific "emeritus" is as a suffix e.g. professor emeritus, chairman emeritus, director emeritus, bishop emeritus. It can also be used as a noun, e.g. emeritus of chemistry at Stanford University. Calling Goh Chok Tong ESM is rather unfortunate, as those who toy with acronyms may spell it out as Extra Stupid Minister. Goh as good as bestowed the kiss of death on Wong Kan Seng and Mah Bow Tan during GE 2011, when he defended George Yeo by saying latter committed no sin like letting Mas Selamat escape through the toilet window or HDB prices go through the roof. Maybe Goh is not a presidential race contender because he can't seem to keep his mouth shut, the one prime requisite of the selected president role.
Ms Tan, who is de facto spokesperson cum media contact for her father's campaign, must be wringing her hands and stomping her feet, after hearing Goh broadcast all the way from Japan that the candidate is "eminently suitable" for the post. Said the ESM, "He gives a real choice to the people." This unwelcome endorsement, despite the carefully orchestrated efforts to dissociate Tony Tan from the stain of party affiliation.
Main stream media mogul SPH, of which Tan was chairman of until he threw his hat into the ring on Thursday, went the extra mile of polling 60 people on the streets of Singapore to cement the message of choice. 30 reportedly said party association was not critical in the presidential race. 18 thought being close tot the PAP would be advantageous. 12 considered it would work against the candidate. "The political tide has turned, as can be seen from the last election. Anyone associated with he PAP could be received quite negatively, especially by the younger crowd, who prefer someone who will speak out," quipped a director of a childcare centre.
Make no bones about it, it's an uphill task to thwart the official scheme of things. In January 1999, Ong Teng Cheong told PM Goh Chok Tong that he intended to run again in the August presidential polls. He was given the go-ahead in principle, but was required to undergo a medical exam - he had been diagnosed with cancer in 1992. Although doctors gave him a clean bill of health, Goh and his cabinet quietly made the decision to prop up SR Nathan for the job. Initial soundings had indicated the popular and independent-minded Ong would most likely defeat their yes-man par excellence. As a fallback contingency plan, Goh's team lined up an alternative, lower-profile candidate than Nathan - one who would be less prickly to handle than Ong. At the very last nail biting moment, Ong decided not to contest the election and Singapore's fate was sealed. Four doctors from Singapore General Hospital who deemed Nathan fit for office noted "hypertension, diabetes, elevated cholesterol level, prostate enlargement and diverticulitis of the colon."
Strict eligibility requirements for the presidential slot, such as past experience in heading a statutory board or a company with a paid-up capital of at least S$100 million, restrict the number of eligible candidates, who skeptics say, will be eminently suitable for the honorifics of cronyism and nepotism.