Monday, March 5, 2007

Important Motivating Factors

Lee Kum Tatt has often been asked what made him do many of the things he did in life when it was not his duty nor career requirement and there was no remuneration or material reward. His standard answer has been that if we have gone through what he has been through we would probably not have done differently.

I encouraged Dr. Lee to share with us some of his personal experiences which made him what he is.

Tan Kin Lian


Important Motivating Factors

I came from an underprivileged background. I was born a British subject, went through the Japanese occupation of S.E.A. and the events that followed after the war in the region. I lost 6 good years of my life. At one time I saw no future for myself. I was a charcoal seller, a farmer planting rice and other crops, a dealer in the “black” market and an odd job man. In the beginning I felt miserable and often cried till I had no more tears. My mother, whom I love very much, told me not to feel sorry for myself. She left me with the following advice:

“The world does not care for what you lack. It is only interested only in what you have to offer.”

My mother’s advice woke me up. I began to see the good in the things that I had to do. There is plenty for me to learn in what I have to do even as a farmer or charcoal seller. So long as what I do benefits and does no harm to others, my mother would be proud of me. This is what I always wanted for one who has sacrificed so much for me.

I adopted and promoted this philosophy in my personal, professional life and career. My academic, professional and personal achievements speak for themselves. I hope that this quotation when practiced properly will also motivate others, as it did for me.

Lee Kum Tatt

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