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Youth is a mindset, not a time of life!

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Today, our youth in Singapore got a break from school and celebrated “Youth Day”. While we honour the youth in our nation on this day, let us also remind ourselves of Samuel Ullman’s poem “Youth”, in which he writes that: “Youth is not a time of life – it is a state of mind”. So often in our society, we hear people use their age as an excuse for not pursuing their potential: “I’m too old to do this”, “I’m already an Uncle/ Aunty”, etc. But it is almost always not the truth; it is a perception that limits one’s potential and reduces…

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Silk Street eyes upmarket transition

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The Friday 20 March 2015 edition of the China Daily carried the report: “Silk Street eyes upmarket transition”. Following are extracts from the article: “Beijing’s famous Silk Street market plans to discard its image as a mixed-bag shopping paradise and transform itself into a top high-end market.  “Silk Street announced on Thursday that it will close all shops that continue to sell poor quality goods or provide bad service and introduce higher-end businesses, including designer clothing and self-owned brands, developing into a high-end shopping place that can compete with shopping malls of international standards. “Located in Beijing’s largest business and embassy area, Silk Street…

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HOW NEW LEADERS CAN SUSTAIN SINGAPORE’S SUCCESS

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GIC group president and former civil service head Lim Siong Guan spoke on honour, wealth, leadership and Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy at a Business Times conference last Tuesday. Here are edited excerpts of his speech that were published in The Straits Times on 6 April 2015.  OFTEN when visitors come to Singapore, they are briefed on the Housing Board, the Central Provident Fund, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the education system, the health system and so on. While these are critical factors, I believe there is a deeper cultural reason to explain Singapore’s success since independence. The explanation lies in…

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WE HONOUR MR LEE KUAN YEW, WHO PASSED ON YOUNG AT 91

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  As Singaporeans continue to ponder the legacy of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, it would do us well to recognise that Singapore is a product of imagination and human endeavour, a mix of ideals, vigour, fortitude and courage, the attributes that make for superior leadership. A highly inspiring poem in this regard is “Youth” by Samuel Ullman.  It is a poem which highly inspired Konosuke Matsushita, founder of Panasonic, the largest Japanese consumer electronics company. “YOUTH” by Samuel Ullman Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and…

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HONOURING MR LEE KUAN YEW (1923-2015)

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Honour (Singapore) joins Singaporeans in honouring our founding Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who passed away early this morning.  If we look at an atlas of the world, Singapore, the country, fits quite nicely into the letter “o” in its name.  Indeed, in most atlases, they have to make a point of enlarging the dot so that Singapore may be pointed out. That is how small Singapore is. When Singapore became, rather unexpectedly, independent in August 1965, it had to find its own way into the future: the dream of a common market in Malaysia was broken, and Indonesia was…

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THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL NORMS

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The Straits Times on 13 March 2015 published an article entitled “The importance of social norms”, which was written by David Brooks, an Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times who has been described as relatively irreligious. It is a commentary on American society today with a perspective useful for Singapore. Allow me to quote extracts: “We now have multiple generations of people caught in recurring feedback loops of economic stress and family breakdown, often leading to something approaching anarchy of the intimate life. It’s not only money and better policy that are missing in these circles; it’s norms.”  “The…

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“WHAT IS THE TRUE MEANING OF THE BLACK BELT?”

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I had the privilege of speaking as the Guest of Honour at the ACS (Barker Road) Founder’s Day Celebration last Friday 27 February 2015. As I entered the school auditorium, all the students were standing up, clapping their hands.  But what made the occasion so different from any other function I have attended was that the students were cheering with gusto. Thus it was not simply the polite stand-up welcome for visitors but a warm, noisy welcome of the heart (or just the boisterousness of ACS)? Awards were a major part of the programme.  And the first awards were for…

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What is YOUR name?

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The matter of honouring others came across so strongly in a recent graduation ceremony of a kindergarten in Singapore. The principal described how her kindergarten had hosted trainee kindergarten teachers. One of the trainees remarked in clear amazement: “You call the children by their name in this kindergarten!” The principal responded by saying this is how the children are treated with honour:  a life of self-confidence must start with a sense of identity, and the fundamental sense of identity for each of us lies in being known by our name. It is unfortunately the case that not all kindergartens identify children…

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Gratitude is Food for the Soul

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We all need balance in our life, not only in terms of physical rest but also in terms of well-being for the mind, soul, and spirit. Gratitude is a food for the soul that is often neglected.  I can imagine a few people immediately thinking: “What is there to be grateful for? Life is tough.  Life is miserable.” But let us give ourselves a little time to think this over. The way to derive daily rest is to start being grateful for the small and simple things of the day. Keep a journal that you can write at the end of…

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People will never forget how you made them feel

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Maya Angelou was an American author, poet, dancer, actress, and singer. She became a poet and writer after a series of occupations as a young adult, including fry cook, prostitute, nightclub dancer, and performer. She was also an actor, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs. Of life she has said, “I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day,…

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