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

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

 +

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 mothership.sg.

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: www.MemeTheMonkey.sg

 

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”. While I religiously wash my hands and elbow lift buttons, I have not rushed to buy masks, hand sanitizers, rice, or toilet paper, even after the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) risk assessment level in Singapore was raised from Yellow to Orange on 7 February 2020.

Why?

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 

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:

https://www.straitstimes.com/…/yong-left-an-impact-on-singa…

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/no-staff-no-chair-how-yong-pung-how-helped-build-gic

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

Joanne

Opinion Piece on the “Fear of Failure”

Joanne H. Lim, the author of “Meme the Monkey Wins in Life” and co-author of “Winning with Honour” and “The Leader, The Teacher and You”, wrote the following opinion piece on the fear of failure that was published by Mothership.sg on 21 December 2019.

Mothership.sg is a Singapore-born Internet media company that has the highest local penetration among all digital-only media platforms in Singapore (as of October 2019). It attracts more than 20 million page views a month from more than 4.5 million unique users.

WHAT’S THE POINT OF DOING WELL IN SCHOOL IF S’PORE STUDENTS ARE AFRAID OF FAILURE?

Singapore consistently ranks highly on Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which assesses the ability of 15-year-old students from the participating countries to apply knowledge and skills in three areas: Reading, Mathematics and Science.

However, 2018 PISA results announced this year also revealed that 15-year-old students in Singapore expressed a greater fear of failure compared to their peers overseas.

Referencing this finding, Joanne Lim contributed an opinion piece exploring suggestions on how to conquer this by rethinking how we define failure, success, as well as education.

Lim is the Founder and Creative Director of The Right Perspective – a consultancy specializing in writing, strategic communications, branding initiatives, and creative services for businesses, institutions, and individuals.

We have published her opinion piece here.

By Joanne Lim

The latest PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) survey by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) revealed that Singapore students are more afraid of failure than their 15-year-old international counterparts.

Young students in Singapore indicated that they are concerned about how others thought of them when they “failed”; failure also made them doubt they had enough talent, and called their plans for the future into question.

This fear of failure is of grave concern if Singaporeans believe that our country’s future success lies in a strong spirit of innovation, creativity, and enterprise. We need to understand this as a deep challenge for Singapore’s society, and not simplistically as a problem with the education system.

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

To conquer the fear of failing, we need to inculcate within ourselves and our young a love of learning (instead of a fear of results), a love of doing good for others (instead of a fear of losing out to others), and a love for humanity (instead of a focus on grades).

We also have to rethink how we define failure, success, as well as education.

The ultimate mistake is to not do anything

Young children learn so much and so fast. For them, “failure” does not exist. They discover “failure” only when parents, friends, and relatives use the words “fail”, “stupid,” and “lazy”.

The late Goh Keng Swee, Singapore’s first Deputy Prime Minister, was a master at thinking out of the box.

When he was Minister of Defence and had to quickly build up a credible Singapore Armed Forces, he steeled his people to do what had never been done before by declaring: “The only way to avoid making mistakes is to not do anything. And that will be the ultimate mistake.”

Failure lies in not thinking and not trying.

Failures are often unavoidable despite our best efforts, because we simply cannot know everything when we work on something new, and mistakes are the way to discover what we do not know.

We need to love trying and value effort over results

“Learning by doing”, a theory of education that involves learning through building up knowledge and experience on the go, rather than separating practice from theory, is the only way to learn quickly and to understand deeply.

As Confucius is reputed to have said: “If I hear, I forget; if I see, I remember; if I do, I understand.”

And success upon the first attempt is extremely rare. In fact, we often learn more from failures than from successes.

Thomas Edison, often described as America’s greatest inventor, was very well acquainted with “failure”. In his quest to invent a ground-breaking storage battery, Edison conducted more than 9,000 experiments without any breakthroughs.

When his close friend, Walter Mallory, pointed to his lack of results, Edison profoundly responded: “Results! Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work!”

We fail only when we do not try and when we do not do our best.

To conquer the fear of failing, we need to love learning and love trying.

Parents need to love their children for trying their best, teachers need to value their students on effort, and society needs to value best efforts over achievement.

Success in life is about being better human beings, and not better robots

While it is important to redefine and rethink failure, it is equally important to redefine and rethink success. As we are not robots, we should see success in terms of humanity and not productivity.

Further research into “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” has concluded that our highest need as human beings is “transcendence”.

Desiring the best for others and doing good beyond ourselves is in fact a higher need than “self-actualisation”, which is being the best we can be according to our talents and abilities. We best succeed as human beings when we help others be the best they can be.

In another study, Harvard University spent 75 years researching what human beings need to flourish in life. The most profound finding was: “Happiness is love. Full stop”.

The study showed that relationships with other people, not one’s grades in school or one’s wealth, mattered more than anything else.

The late Steve Jobs expressed this beautifully in this quote:

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful . . . that’s what matters to me.”

To conquer the fear of failing, we need to be clear what it means to succeed as a human being – that is to love and make life better for others, and not only for ourselves.

That which cannot be digitised will become increasingly valuable

Futurist Gerd Leonhard noted that in most of the futuristic industries, technology can take two paths that he calls “Hellven” – the technology can be “heaven” (where it is used to raise the well-being of people) or “hell” (where it brings about bad consequences).

While technology has progressed exponentially, humanity has only progressed linearly; while technology does not have ethics, people depend on it.

In addition, Leonhard believes that anything that cannot be digitised will become more valuable, and that in a world of automation and abundance, experience will become extremely valuable.

In an “experience economy”, people will be more willing to pay for bespoke services and will value more highly the human traits that include intuition, love, trust, and understanding.

Creativity, innovation, social intelligence, and customer focus will thus be very important for every business. Employees need to be skilled in creative problem-solving and constructive interaction if they still want good jobs.

What this means is that organisations and their staff must not only excel at skills and technology, but also at humanity.

Education should thus be focused on developing our children’s capacity as human beings and their skills, and not on perfecting their grades.

Young people in Japanese society have a warped view of work

In his book, A Compass to Fulfilment, Kyocera Corporation founder Kazuo Inamori opined that “education must foster a proper understanding of the meaning of work”.

He observed that in Japanese society, a person’s educational background determines his or her worth, and that children who excel at their studies are given preferential treatment and are separated from those who do not.

This leads to young people having a warped view of work — good grades and a job with a well-regarded organisation are idealised, while “non-academic skills such as dexterity and the ability to get along with others are neglected”.

He suggested that children need to be taught there is a “tremendous diversity of occupations and that it is the dedicated efforts of each individual in [one’s] particular job that make daily life and progress possible”.

We should be valuing contribution to humanity

Education should therefore be a means to empower children with not only the practical knowledge and skills, but more importantly, the wisdom that they need for their occupations.

It should also not matter what their occupations are, as long as they contribute to the common good of society.

This means that we need to be a society that honours the cleaner who does his best to keep the toilets in good condition as much as we honour the founder of a unicorn start-up.

To conquer the fear of failing, we need to value one’s contribution to humanity over grades.

We need to appreciate and honour everyone who is doing his or her best to contribute to society according to their varied talents and abilities, no matter how much money they might earn or how visible or invisible they might be in society.

And if we think that this is too difficult to achieve and thus we should not even try, let us recall the late Dr Goh’s words: “The only way to avoid making mistakes is to not do anything. And that will be the ultimate mistake.”

 

Article Link: https://mothership.sg/2019/12/sg-students-afraid-failure-pisa-2/

 

Conquering the Fear of Failure with Love

The latest PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) survey by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) revealed that Singapore students are more afraid of failure than their 15-year-old international counterparts. Young students in Singapore indicated that they are concerned about how others thought of them when they “failed”; failure also made them doubt whether they had enough talent, as well as their plans for the future.

This fear of failure is of grave concern if Singaporeans believe that Singapore’s future success lies in a strong spirit of innovation, creativity, and enterprise. We need to understand this as a deep challenge for Singapore’s society, and not simplistically as a problem with the education system.

As love is the opposite of fear, I believe that the only way we can conquer the fear of failure is with love. We also have to rethink how we define failure, success, as well as education.

RETHINKING FAILURE

Young children learn so much and so fast.  For them, “failure” does not exist. They discover “failure” only when parents, friends, and relatives use the words “fail”, “stupid,” and “lazy”.

Dr Goh Keng Swee, Singapore’s first Deputy Prime Minister, was a master at thinking out of the box. When he was Minister of Defence and had to quickly build up a credible Singapore Armed Forces, he steeled his people to do what had never been done before, by declaring: “The only way to avoid making mistakes is to not do anything. And that will be the ultimate mistake.”

Failure lies in not thinking and not trying. Failures are often unavoidable despite our best efforts, because we simply cannot know everything when we work on something new, and mistakes are the way to discover what we do not know.

“Learning by Doing” is the only way to learn quickly and to understand deeply, and success upon the first attempt is extremely rare. In fact, we often learn more from failures than from successes.

Thomas Edison, often described as America’s greatest inventor, was very well acquainted with “failure”. In his quest to invent a ground-breaking storage battery, Edison conducted more than 9,000 experiments without any breakthroughs. When his close friend, Walter Mallory, pointed to his lack of results, Edison profoundly responded: “Results! Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work!”

We fail only when we do not try and when we do not do our best.

To conquer the fear of failing, we need to love learning and love trying. Parents need to love their children for trying their best, teachers need to value their students on effort, and society needs to value best efforts over achievement. 

RETHINKING SUCCESS

While it is important to redefine and rethink failure, it is equally important to redefine and rethink success. As we are not robots, we should see success in terms of humanity and not productivity.

Subsequent research to “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” has concluded that our highest need as human beings is “transcendence”. Desiring the best for others and doing good beyond ourselves is in fact a higher need than “self-actualisation”, which is being the best we can be according to our talents and abilities. We best succeed as human beings when we help others be the best they can be.

 

In another study, Harvard University conducted a study over 75 years to determine what human beings need to flourish in life. The most profound finding was: “Happiness is love. Full stop”. The study showed that relationships with other people, not one’s grades in school or one’s wealth, mattered more than anything else.

Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple Computer, expressed this beautifully in this quote: “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful . . . that’s what matters to me.”

To conquer the fear of failing, we need to be clear but it means to succeed as a human being – that is to love and make life better for others, and not only for ourselves.

RETHINKING EDUCATION 

Futurist Gerd Leonhard noted that in most of the futuristic industries, technology can take two paths that he calls “Hellven” – the technology can be “heaven” (where it is used to raise the well-being of people) or “hell” (where it brings about bad consequences). While technology has progressed exponentially, humanity has only progressed linearly; and while technology does not have ethics, people depend on it.

In addition, Leonhard believes that anything that is not digitalisable will become more valuable, and that in a world of automation and abundance, experience will become extremely valuable. In an “experience economy”, people will be more willing to pay for bespoke services and will value more the human traits of intuition, love, trust, understanding, etc.

Creativity, innovation, social intelligence, and customer focus will thus be very important for every business. Employees need to be skilled in creative problem-solving and constructive interaction if they still want good jobs.

What this means is that organisations and their staff must not only excel at skills and technology, but also at humanity. Education should thus be focussed on developing our children’s capacity as human beings and their skills, and not on perfecting their grades.

In his book, “A Compass to Fulfilment”, Dr Kazuo Inamori, Founder of Kyocera Corporation, opined that “education must foster a proper understanding of the meaning of work”.

He observed that in Japanese society, a person’s educational background determines his or her worth, and that children who excel at their studies are given preferential treatment and are separated from those who do not. This leads to young people having a warped view of work where good grades and a job with a well-regarded organisation are idealized, while “non-academic skills such as dexterity and the ability to get along with others are neglected”.

He suggested that children need to be taught there is a “tremendous diversity of occupations and that it is the dedicated efforts of each individual in [one’s] particular job that make daily life and progress possible”.

Education is thus a means to empower children with the practical knowledge and the wisdom that they need for their occupation. It should also not matter what that occupation is, as long as it contributes to the common good of society. This means that we need to be a society that honours the cleaner who does his best to clean the toilets as much as we honour the founder of a unicorn start-up.

To conquer the fear of failing, we need to value contribution to humanity over grades. We need to appreciate and honour everyone who is doing his or her best to contribute to society according to their varied talents and abilities, no matter how much money they might earn or how visible or invisible they might be in society.

CONCLUSION

The opposite of fear is love. To conquer the fear of failing, we need to inculcate within ourselves and our young a love for learning (instead of a fear of results), a love for doing good to others (instead of a fear of losing out to others), and a love for humanity (instead of a focus on grades).

 

Written by Joanne H. Lim

Author of “Meme the Monkey Wins in Life” l  Winner of the Singapore Literature Book Prize (Non-Fiction)

Happy Mother’s Day!

We all have a father and a mother, and whether they have been present or absent in our lives, we are all aware that their roles and their impact on our lives have been very different.

As mentioned on page 159 of Winning with Honour, ask any child what he thinks, and he or she will tell you that their mother and father are different. As one saying goes: “The mother buys the toy; the father is the toy!”

No doubt there is a degree of stereotyping here, and sometimes the roles are reversed, but most times, the mother is the protector and comforter, while the father is the encourager and adventurer. This is because men and women are largely different by nature and react differently instinctively when placed in the same situation.

And children know these differences quite instinctively as well. Three children aged five, eight and eleven watched an award-winning short film about a puma going after a bear cub.

The puma got so close that he scratched the face of the cub with his front paw, but at the end of the film, the puma unexpectedly simply slinked away and left the cub alone. The next shot showed a huge bear behind the cub, which of course was the reason for the puma giving up his prey.

When the children were asked whether the huge bear was a mama bear or a papa bear. All three said it was a mama bear. The oldest said that in the animal world, the papa simply disappears and leaves the mama to take care of the babies. The middle child said that in the animal world, the mama is always the one fighting to protect her children. The youngest one said it was a mama bear, because she licked the blood off the wound on the face of the bear cub. The instincts of the three children were clear and immediate: The role of the mother is to protect and comfort her children.

And this role of a mother and the ability of a mother to touch and inspire her offspring is beautifully displayed in this short film, Ah Leong’s Story.

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, foster mothers, and god-mothers! May you continue to touch and inspire the children in your lives with your love and strength.

By Joanne H. Lim

Video Credit: http://honour.sg/portfolio/ah-leongs-story/

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Happy Labour Day! Be the best that you can be

On this Labour Day holiday in Singapore, be inspired by this migrant worker’s rags-to-riches story and his big-hearted ex-employer who encouraged him to strike it out on his own. You can read the full article that was published in the Straits Times here.

The son of poor rice farmers in India, Mr Mani came to Singapore as a penniless migrant worker. Through his resourcefulness and eagerness to learn, he became a boss of his own company that recorded a revenue of S$2.5 million last year.

Mr Mani alludes his success to God and his former employer, Mr Ang, who taught him and encouraged him to strike it out on his own. Mr Mani said of Mr Ang: “He said, ‘You go out and fight. If you are not successful, you can come back.’ Where to find boss like that? Even I cannot be like that. I was so happy I cried,” he says.

With Mr Ang’s blessings, Mr Mani started his own company while he was still working for Mr Ang’s company. When he eventually quit his job to focus full time on his own company, his generous ex-employer, Mr Ang, passed him contracts.

When asked why he was so generous to his ex-employee, Mr Ang said: “It’s very simple. I’m growing old. There’s also a lot of work to go around. If he can chiong, let him do it,” he says, using the Hokkien word which means to take risks. “You cannot keep everything for yourself. Anyway, if he’s successful, I’m happy for him.”

Mr Mani said: “Workers are very important. Without them, we are nothing.” He added: “I’m very lucky. All my Singaporean customers have been very good to me. They like me and give me a lot of jobs.” He also shared in the video that accompanies the article: “If you work hard in Singapore, you don’t have to worry. If you’re lazy, you have to worry.”

Happy Labour Day! Like Mr Mani and Mr Ang, may you always strive to give your best to those around you so that you can be the best that you can be.

Straits Times l Migrant Worker Goes from Painting Condos to Boss of Own Company.jpg
By Joanne H. Lim

 

Photo Credit: Straits Times

 

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Honour Resilience…know that YOUR LIFE MATTERS

Winning with Honour l Your Life Matters

In this article published in the Straits Times on 27 April 2017,  Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, shared how she helped her young children deal with their grief after their father (Sheryl’s husband, Dave) died suddenly from a cardiac arrhythmia two years ago.

Apart from getting advice from her friend who counsels grieving children, she also sought the advice of her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist and professor who studies how people find motivation and meaning, to find out how she could help her children get through this tragedy.

Sandberg learned that resilience is a muscle that we can build, and that “resilience leads to better health, greater happiness and more success”.

Sandberg commented: “As a society, we owe all our children safety, support, opportunity and help finding a way forward.” She suggested that we can all start by showing others that they matter – that other people notice them, care for them, and rely on them – and letting them know that they make a difference to others.

Sandberg also discovered that when an individual feels like he/she does not matter, they feel rejected and alone, and become more prone to

  • Self-destruction (“Hurting myself isn’t a big deal, since I don’t count anyway”)
  • Anti-social behaviour (“I might be doing something bad, but at least I’ve got your attention”)
  • Withdrawal/ Distancing
  • Depression
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Suicidal
  • Rebellion
  • Illegal and harmful behaviour

 

While Sandberg’s article is very much child-focused, what she has shared applies to every human being – we all need to know that we matter and that our lives make a difference to others. However, as mentioned on page xxxi of “Winning with Honour”, in a world powered by technology, and infiltrated by materialism and consumerism, most of us can easily find ourselves living full but unfulfilling lives, if we do not regularly take the time to self-reflect and take stock of our lives.

Know that YOUR LIFE MATTERS, especially if you are going through a hard time right now, because there will be no one else like you in the entire history of humanity – you have unique skills and talents that other do not have, and you have a calling that only you can fulfill. It is your responsibility to find out what that calling is, and to do your very best to fulfill it.

Now that you know that your life matters, pay it forward by telling others that they matter too, for as mentioned in a previous blog, if we want to live full and satisfied lives, we need to remember that life is not about ourselves, but about others.

Happy Labour Day!

 

By Joanne H. Lim

 

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