TRP Series Story 4 : Teach the Young to Cope with Failure + Always Choose to be Socially Responsible




The Right Perspective Series l Story 4



We have a friend in Israel who retired from his lifetime career and discovered, like so many others, that retiring means to “get new tires (tyres) and run again”.

After retiring, he decided to set up robotics clubs in schools.

Robotics clubs, of course, are not a new idea. But this friend’s venture is different in two very important ways.

  1. Social Responsibility Comes First

First, even before the students start building robots, he teaches them social responsibility. In other words, as they build the robots, they have to be able to answer the question: “How is what you are doing socially responsible and good for society?” The minimum standard set is that what they are doing is not socially irresponsible or bad for society.

It is interesting and impressive that the first thing students learn in this friend’s robotics club is that they need to be socially responsible.

  1. Teach the Young How to Cope with Failure

Second, he teaches them how to cope with failure. So many students in robotics clubs clamour to take part in international competitions, but how many winners can there be? Not winning in a competition happens far more often than winning.

We hear a lot about how innovation and enterprise always require a measure of risk-taking and a positive perspective on failing.  But how many schools are making a conscious effort to teach their students how to cope with failure?

No one starts something new with the idea of failing, but everyone needs to be conscious of the possibility of failing.

Perspective #4:

In life, we will fail to achieve our desired outcomes from time to time, or maybe, most of the time. Everyone needs to have a deliberate perspective on how to cope with failure, so that one can have the strength to move forward and the determination to do the right thing by always choosing to be socially responsible.

As Winston Churchill once said: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

And it is the courage to always choose to do the right and socially responsible thing that will enable you to positively impact the lives around you.

By: Lim Siong Guan & Joanne Lim (Co-Authors of “Winning with Honour” and “The Leader, The Teacher & You“)

For more information, please visit:


TRP Series Story 3 : The True Meaning of the Black Belt


The Right Perspective Series l Story 3


After many years of hard training, a martial arts student finally knelt before his sensei (or “teacher” or “master” in Japanese) to receive his black belt.

“Before giving you the black belt, you must pass one more test,” the sensei said.

“I am ready,” the student replied confidently.

The sensei asked: “What is the true meaning of the black belt?”

“The end of my journey,” the student said. “A good reward for all my hard work.”

The sensei was not satisfied and waited for more. Finally, the sensei spoke: “You are not ready for the black belt. Return in one year.”

A year later, the student knelt again in front of the sensei.

“What is the true meaning of the black belt?” the sensei asked again.

“A symbol of distinction and the highest achievement in our art,” the student replied.

The sensei said nothing for many minutes. Clearly, he was not satisfied again. He finally spoke: “You are still not ready for the black belt. Return in one year.”

A year later, the student knelt once again in front of the sensei. And again the sensei asked the same question: “What is the true meaning of the black belt?”

“The black belt represents the beginning — the start of a never-ending journey of discipline, hard work and the pursuit of an ever higher standard,” the student replied.

The sensei smiled and said: “You are finally ready to receive the black belt and begin your work.”

As we can see, the attainment of the black belt marks a point, but it is not the highest point. The black belt merely enables us to move on to the next point.

 You may think: “This is terrible. The hardwork never ends!”

Yes, the more we learn, the more we know, and the more we attain……and the more we attain, the more we are expected to contribute to the good of others.

This is why we need to believe in what we do.

We need to believe it is worth doing.

We need to believe we are doing something useful.

We need to find our work interesting and challenging.

We need to have fun along the way.

We need to be dissatisfied with ourselves if we have not done our best.

We need to learn new things and get better day by day.

Otherwise life will be a big burden and work will be a dread.

Perspective #3:

Excellence is a never-ending journey.  It is our attitude that will make the journey either fun or burdensome.

 So, believe in yourself. Be the best you can be. Do the best you can.

By: Lim Siong Guan & Joanne Lim (Co-Authors of “Winning with Honour” and “The Leader, The Teacher & You“)

For more information, please visit:




TRP Series Story 2 : What Would My Loved Ones Think?


The Right Perspective Series:  Story 2



This is the story of winning with honour in a cross-country race on 2 December 2012 at Burlada.

Burlada is a municipality in Navarre Province, on the outskirts of the famous city of Pamplon, which stages the annual “Running of the Bulls” festival.

Leading the race was Abel Mutai of Kenya. Abel was a long-distance runner who specialised in the 3000 metres steeplechase – he had won the bronze medal at the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

During this cross-country race, Spanish athlete Iván Fernández was running second, some distance behind Abel.

Abel had mistakenly thought he had reached the end of the race when he was about 10 metres from the actual finish line. People were telling him to keep going, but he did not understand what they were saying as he did not know Spanish.

Iván could have taken advantage of the situation to overtake Abel and win the race…but he chose not to! Instead, Iván slowed down and guided Abel to the actual finish line.

A journalist asked Iván why he did not take the opportunity to win. He replied: “I didn’t deserve to win it. I did what I had to do. He was the rightful winner. He created a gap that I couldn’t have closed if he hadn’t made a mistake. As soon as I saw he was stopping, I knew I wasn’t going to pass him.”

Iván went on to say: “I didn’t let him win. He was going to win. What would be the merit of my victory? What would be the honour of that medal? What would my Mom think of that?”

May you choose to live a life of honour and integrity by always choosing to do the right thing and not take unfair advantage of others.

And if you have children, may you choose to teach your children the right moral values that will guide them to make upright choices – this will enable them to live a meaningful life with honour and dignity.

Perspective #2:

When you are in a moral dilemma, ask yourself: “Would I be proud to share what I am thinking of doing with the person I respect the most?” 

You could also yourself: “If what I am thinking of doing is going to the top trending news item on the internet tomorrow, would my loved ones be proud of me or will they be ashamed of me?

By: Lim Siong Guan & Joanne Lim (Co-Authors of “Winning with Honour” and “The Leader, The Teacher & You“)

For more information, please visit:


TRP Series Story 1 : Marbles and Sweets


The Right Perspective Series:  Story 1




This is a story about a boy and girl, and a lesson about honesty, trust, and happiness.

The girl had a collection of sweets, and the boy had a collection of marbles.

They each looked at what the other had, and imagined how much happier they would be if they had what the other had.

So they decided on an exchange – all of her sweets for all of his marbles.

The girl went home that evening and packed all the sweets neatly into a bag to prepare for the next morning.

The boy also started packing his marbles. As he was packing, he found one he liked and set it aside under his pillow. After a while, he found another marble he liked and put that under his pillow too.

In the end, he packed all his marbles into a bag, except for four of his favourite marbles that he decided to hide under his pillow.

The boy and the girl met the next morning for the “big exchange”!

The girl went home happily with her collection of marbles, and slept sweetly and soundly that night with her new possessions.

The boy however could not sleep. He tossed and turned as he wondered: “Did she give me all her sweets? Or did she keep a few just like I did?”

He could not trust the girl, because he had broken the trust between them himself.

Perspective #1:

A clear conscience yields a good night’s sleep. Honour trust and honesty for a happier and more relaxed life!

By: Lim Siong Guan & Joanne Lim (Co-Authors of “Winning with Honour” and “The Leader, The Teacher & You“)

For more information, please visit:


Launch of “The Right Perspective Series” of Stories

Launch of  “The Right Perspective Series” of Stories

A series of stories that we hope you will find interesting, informative, and inspiring…especially during these difficult times



We are starting off a series of stories that we hope you will find interesting, informative, and inspiring.

The reason for sharing these beneficial perspectives by way of stories is that we often personally identify much better with stories than with just ideas and principles.

We call these series of stories “The Right Perspective Series” to encourage you to keep the right perspective during these volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous times.

Our perspectives and thoughts affect our choices and actions, which then affect our destiny. We thus need to have the right perspective as to how we should think in order to make wise choices as we build our future.



We will be sharing stories that we believe you could find beneficial for your own life, and the usefulness of the stories lie in your openness to new and/or different perspectives.

We hope that these new and/or different perspectives that we share will help you think through what is the right perspective for you.

We start with our first story tomorrow. Please join us and let us have your responses to our stories as we move along, so that we know what topics and approaches appeal to you. Please also feel free to share the stories should you find them relevant and helpful.

The best is yet to be!

Best wishes,

Lim Siong Guan and Joanne Lim

Co-authors, Winning with Honour + The Leader, The Teacher & You

[Video Launch] LIVING IN A VUCA WORLD with Meme the Monkey

Virtual Video Launch

 Raising SGD 283,000 For Children-At-Risk

Virtual launch of video on how we can best respond to a

Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world filled with automation, A.I. , Big Data, and Digitalisation, and

Raising SGD 283,000 to support children-at-risk in Singapore


We are living in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous (VUCA) world.

The official launch of my children’s book, “Meme the Monkey Wins in Life”, was actually planned for today (31 March 2020), but I had to cancel the event due to the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous (VUCA) COVID-19 situation.

As you can imagine, I am deeply disappointed by the turn of events, but everyone’s health is of top priority. And as I shared in “Meme the Monkey Wins in Life”, we should always do our best and make life better for others, and our duty to our nation and our fellow men is of paramount importance.

What was originally planned for today’s event was for the Guest-of-Honour, Minister for Education, Mr Ong Ye Kung to launch “Meme the Monkey Wins in Life”, a book that I had written upon the suggestion of the former President of Singapore, the late Mr S.R. Nathan.

In addition, as I had raised SGD 283,000 from kind souls in our community to support three programmes that reach out to children-at-risk, Minister Ong would have presented a cheque to representatives of these three programmes.

Mrs Carmee Lim, former principal of Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary) and Mentor Principal of MindChamps, a leading early education provider in Singapore, would also have delivered a special message on brain development and the formation of values in pre-school children, as well as her reflections on the book. And I would have shared how the book came about, and explained how the concepts in the book are important for life and for one’s future.

Now that it is no longer possible to hold the launch today, I am writing you this message to share with you a couple of initiatives that I wanted to present during the launch.

1. A Specially Recorded Video

Meme the Monkey Wins in Life” is a story of how Meme the Monkey might not ace her exams, but she wins in life.

The purpose of the book is to urge everyone to think about what “winning in life” means. In a fast-changing world, there are no “maps”, so we need a good inner “compass” to guide us in life — this “compass” comprises the values that make us better human beings.

I started working on this video in January 2020 to share the thinking behind “Meme the Monkey Wins in Life”, but more importantly to share how we can best respond to a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous world filled with automation, A.I. (Artificial Intelligence), big data, and digitalisation.

In light of the COVID-19 situation, I think that this is a timely message, and I hope that this video will help you live a better life, especially during these difficult times.

2. Fund Raising SGD 283,000 for Children-At-Risk

To underscore the point shared in the book that our duty in life is to make life better for others, in conjunction with the book launch, I reached out to kind souls in our community to raise funds for three programmes that serve children-at-risk in Singapore, namely:

Thanks to the generosity of three corporate sponsors – Far East Organization, Razer Inc, and Ho Bee Foundation – as well as nine anonymous donors, I managed to raise SGD 283,000 for these three programmes.

Donors made donations directly to the Community Chest, which administered the donations for KidSTART and STSPMF, and/ or The RICE Company Limited (a registered charity with Institutions of Public Character status) for donations for BT BAF.

100 percent of the donations will be channelled to the charities, and donors will receive a tax deductibility benefit 2.5 times the donated amount.


3. Thank you so much for your kind support!

While it is a pity that we were not able to gather today, I hope that you will enjoy the video and that you will find it useful.

As I shared at the end of the video, we are all unique with different gifts to share – so how are you making the world a better place today?

May you choose to make the world a better place every day by always giving your best and taking to heart what Meme the Monkey said:

“Making life better starts with ME! It starts with ME!” 

Wishing you and your loved ones good health and happiness!

Best wishes,

Joanne H. Lim


P.S.  If you are interested to find out why Meme the Monkey is called Meme, please read this article.

P.P.S If you are interested to find out more about what you can do about the fear of failure, please read this article that I had written, which was published by

P.P.P.S If you are interested to purchase “Meme the Monkey Wins in Life”, the book is available in the following formats:

You can purchase the book online:

You can also purchase the book at the following bookstores in Singapore:

For more information, please visit:


Why I do not fear COVID-19

According to a door-to-door survey commissioned by The Straits Times and carried out by market research company Nexus Link, 81 percent of Singaporean residents fear being infected by COVID-19.

I belong to the 19 percent who are “concerned but not afraid”. It is not because I am stupidly arrogant or pridefully reckless. It is because I believe that while we cannot control many things that happen to us in life, we can choose how we respond rather than react to situations or simply follow the crowd.

Fear and Anxiety are natural reactions, but I believe that we can choose how we respond. Choosing how we respond is to assert control over our lives rather than to allow circumstances to control or enslave us.

I think fear and anxiety often rob us of the best in life. I am thus sharing why I do not fear, just in case it might help you live a better life.

 The Opposite of Fear is Love

As the opposite of fear is love, I believe that the only way we can conquer the fear is with love.

I have chosen to not fear by choosing to love truth. In this case, I chose to embrace the following truths:

  • There is no existing cure for Covid-19
  • I am going to die one day
  • Transcendence is our highest need as human beings

 Love Truth

We live in a VUCA world that is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. This has been keenly felt all around the world since China reported the emergence of a new virus on 31 December 2019.

In the face of uncertainty, we can never be sure that we are right. We can only make an educated guess based upon the information that we have and our assessment on the veracity of the information that we receive.

After following trusted news sources closely and listening to interviews with experts, I personally concluded that the new virus is much like the flu, and that Singapore would be less affected than China because we live in a hot and humid climate – just the type of weather the virus hates. I was also inclined to believe an expert’s opinion that the situation would naturally resolve moving into the summer months, just like it did during the SARs outbreak in 2003.

But the truth is, to this day, I do not know whether I am right.

Truth: There is no cure.

Response: Build my immunity.

We still do not know for sure how the virus is really transmitted, how it came about, and when it would end. But we know certain truths for sure:

  1. There is no cure, as of today
  2. Most of the patients basically overcome the illness with their own immunity

I thus decided that the best response would be to choose to build my immunity because that would be my main weapon to fight the virus should I be infected in the worst-case scenario.

According to this article by the Straits Times, we can build our immunity by

  • Eating fruit and leafy vegetables rich in vitamin C
  • Getting plenty of Vitamin D by exposing oneself to sunlight
  • Enriching ourselves with Vitamin
  • Taking anti-inflammatory foods such as turmeric, ginger, green tea, and mushrooms
  • Filling up on probiotics such as yogurt and kefir
  • Eating a colourful array of at least 10 different types of fruit and vegetables, as well as fresh herbs, daily
  • Avoiding acidic foods such as processed foods, red meat, and sugary foods
  • Getting enough sleep

However, as humans are made up of three parts – body, soul, spirit – it is important for us to take care of not only our physical body, but also our emotions and our thoughts and the process by which we make decisions.

As my friend who practises Traditional Chinese Medicine once told me, if you want to protect and maintain your health (保健保养), you first have to protect your heart (保心) as it is the seat of emotion and the origin of our thoughts.

And it is important to guard our thoughts as our thoughts affect our choices, which then affects our actions, which then affect our destiny.[2] What we focus on grows: if we focus on fear, fear grows; if we focus on love, love grows.  We become what we fear. It is important for us to be mindful of what we focus on.

And it is also important for us to laugh, as research has shown that laughter can help us fight off diseases by balancing all the components of our immune system. Research has also revealed that when we laugh, the number of natural killer cells that destroy tumours and viruses in our bodies increases.

So instead of worrying over whether you can get enough masks and hand sanitisers, perhaps it might be more useful to adhere to a healthy lifestyle, and laugh at a meme or watch a funny movie.

Truth: I am going to die one day, and I never know how or when

Response: Build a positive legacy

The next truth I embraced is that I am going to die one day, and I never know how or when.

While a Covid-19 infection might be one way I could potentially die, there are a multitude of ways that I am even more likely to die, such as a car accident, a heart attack, or a serious knock on my head.

Knowing that life is short and that I am going to die one day helps me to think about what I want to leave behind – do I want to be known as the person who hoarded tons of packets of instant noodles and rolls of toilet paper during the Covid-19 outbreak, or do I want to be known as the person who positively contributed to the community in some way during the crisis?

As the Chinese saying goes, “生不带来,死不带去” – we came into this world with nothing, and we will leave this world with nothing. What remains would be our legacy – how we have impacted lives, whether positively or negatively – and the memories that remain with the living, whether good or bad.

Much of life is, however, not black and white, and many areas fall within the grey zone. So, when we face dilemmas in life, may we guided by our values such that we add to life, and not subtract from it.

When you are tempted to follow the herd and cave into the of fear of losing out, pause and ask yourself the following question:

“If someone took a video of me and it were publicised in the major news and social media platforms all around the world, would I be proud of myself?”

Or if you are a parent, ask yourself:

“If this video were shown to my child’s friends, would my child be proud or embarrassed of me?

While we will invariably be the “bad person” in someone’s story and we will make mistakes along the way, we can always strive to do our best to make a positive impact in the lives of those who pass our way, even strangers.

Truth: Transcendence is my highest need as a human being.

Response: Choose to help others.

While many people think that self-actualisation is our highest need as human beings, Maslow’s extended Hierarchy of Needs reveals that our highest need as human beings is actually that of transcendence – that is helping others be the best that they can be.


And as we can see from climate change and the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we need to look beyond ourselves and our families to think about our communities, organisations, nation and the world, if we want to continue to have a HOME where we have hope and memory.

HOME = HOpe + MEmory

After all, individuals make up families, families make up communities, communities make up organisations, organisations make up a nation, and nations make up the world

If our nation and the world do not go well, we and our families cannot expect to do well over the long run.



Thus, it is in our best interest to think beyond ourselves and live a life of service to others. We need to live with passion and serve with compassion.

We need to give up our wants to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our society. It is not an act of generosity or compassion – it is our duty.

Embrace Love

As Mahatma Gandhi, widely thought to be the “Father of India” and one of the strongest symbols of non-violence in the 20th century, said: “The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear”. Mr Gandhi also said: “Fear is not a disease of the body; it is the disease of the soul.”

And the only way we can conquer the fear is with love, since the opposite of fear is love.

We are always making choices and we can choose how we respond every minute, every second, and every moment.

So how are you making this Covid-19 infected Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous world a better place today?


By Joanne H. Lim

Author of “Meme the Monkey Wins in Life”

Mr Yong’s finest achievement was not his illustrious career…it was love

Former chief justice Yong Pung How, who transformed the Singapore court system into a paragon of efficiency, passed away on 9 January 2020.

He was known to do what he thought was right for Singapore, rather than what was popular.

Mr Yong read law at Cambridge University and practised law for a while before going into merchant banking and finance. He was the chairman and chief executive officer of OCBC Bank from 1983 to 1989.

Mr Yong was seconded from OCBC to help build GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. He was GIC’s first managing director and started his first day at GIC with just a desk and an unusable telephone – he had no staff, and did not even have a chair.

Even though he achieved a lot in his lifetime, Mr Yong said in interview in 2004 that his best achievement had nothing to do with his illustrious career.

He said: “I would say it was the day I married my wife. We have been married for 50 years now, and I still consider her my best friend.

“To stay happily married with a good reputation and a close-knit family must be one of anybody’s happiest achievements in life, whatever the work you do.”

Thank you, Mr Yong for inspiring us to live a life of honour, purpose, and above all…love!

Info Source and Photo Credit: The Straits Times

Read the full articles here:…/yong-left-an-impact-on-singa…

Blessed New Year!

Holidays and celebrations are happy for some, but are also lonely, frustrating and uncertain for others.

And while we wish each other “Happy New Year”, we also know that the year will also have its not-so-happy moments and frustrations.

When you meet one of those sad, frustrating or uncertain moments, may you be comforted by this poem by Minnie Louise Haskins:

“‘And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied:

“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.

That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.

And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

So heart be still:

What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?

In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.

God knows. His will is best.’”

Out of destruction, a new creation emerges. Believe that the best is yet to be!

Have a blessed year ahead!

Best wishes