Singapore — Former Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh Chok Tong, who recently underwent an operation to remove a large kidney stone, has disclosed that the first thing he did after waking up from the anaesthesia was to check on his brain cells.

In doing so, he said in a Facebook post on Saturday (Nov 28), he went through all the phrases and idioms connected with “stone” that he could think of.

He wrote: “I am creeping up to 80. Pray that my tombstone is more than ‘a stone’s throw away’.”

“Here is a sample of those which flashed through my mind”, he said, “no stones left unturned; a rolling stone gathers no moss; cold as stone; a stepping stone; squeeze blood out of a stone”.

He noted that, after returning to his hospital room, he thought of Deng Xiaoping’s “cross the river by feeling the stone”; Richard Lovelace’s “Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage”.

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The 79-year-old has been frank on social media about his health issues. On Sunday (Nov 22), he shared online that he had been discharged earlier that day after being warded at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) for the removal of a sizeable kidney stone.

Mr Goh, who did not suffer from the procedure, other than mild nausea and discomfort, said: “Had my biggish kidney stone laser-blasted yesterday at SGH. Sharing experience for general benefit of those in similar position. Apart from mild nausea after the GA and slight discomfort of having a catheter and J stent in the urinary tract, I felt fine.”

He added that the procedure felt like a “non-event” given how much medical technology had advanced. /TISG