Friday, April 27, 2007

Mind over Matter

26 April 2007

Mind Over Matter

My husband Kum Tatt has more than 66 years of working experience. At one time his life had little or no meaning to him. He overcame that and he became a research worker, head of department and later executive chairmen of a few statutory boards and private companies.

Like all good fathers and grandfathers he wants to spare the family the hardship he has gone through. Hopefully by sharing his experiences and philosophy with us we can enjoy the good part of his life without going through life the hard way. He believes this is a matter of the mind. He has shown us that it works with him.

Engeline Lee.
26 April 2007


A Matter of The Mind

How I wish that there are more people who can guide me to do what I want to do so when I was young. Then I would not have to learn things the hard way. After I became a science graduate I like to do research, gain new knowledge and make the world a better place for all to live in. I must have something to live for. I cannot bear doing routine all the time. This is my character

During the war years I was a factory operator, charcoal seller and a farmer. I just existed and life has little or no meaning to me. I wanted to live a more meaningful life like some people do. I began to ask myself questions: “What can I do” and “How am I to do it.” Soon this became a habit. If I think hard enough and have faith and confidence in myself I will find the answers and the solutions I need. I would falter if I had doubts. This shows that the mind is a very powerful force. If I can use it rightly it can give me the answers and solutions I need.

People do not like to be asked questions even of themselves. As a pioneer I have to start many new ventures where decisions have to be made. It is very difficult to explain to others the “Whys” or to guarantee results without past experience or performance records. These are common occurrences which frustrate many others too. What was I to do to get out of my misery?

1 Give time to gain my boss’ confidence and his trust that my judgment is sound and that I can deliver.

2. Use my talent and develop the skill to convince others that I am right and I am doing it for the common good.

3. Learn to like what I have to do or change my occupation to one that suits me better.

4. Be my own boss where I only have to convince myself.

I know what it is like to be caught in some of these situations. I had opportunities and I also created some myself to do what I wanted to do. Many budding scientists and technopreneurs would like to know how I from a factory operator can become chairmen of statutory boards. I will share some of my experiences in story form with you. You can then do it your way.

Lee Kum Tatt.
26 April 2007

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tribute to our :Pioneers and Unsung Heroes

Finding Ourselves in the Deep End

Often we were given missions or created situations where we found ourselves in the deep end of the pool. This can be very frightening and stressful. The options were we swim or we drown. This is dangerous living which many like to avoid. To us we had no choice because of the environment and time we were born into. Kum Tatt cannot swim even in a swimming pool and he still has not learned how to. But he seems to have no sweat in doing what has to be done in real life. He swam and survived. He also made sure that all his children can swim and not be handicapped like him in case of emergencies.

When Kum Tatt was appointed the founder Chairman of the Singapore Science Council after Singapore’s independence he had a budget of just $10,000 to run the Council. Many would not have accepted the appointment as it was only on an honorary one with so much to be done. The chances of delivering a still-born Council were great. In 10 years many of the goals that the Council set for itself were achieved. The learning of science was encouraged and promoted in Singapore. Important scientific institutions like Science Centre, SISIR, Singapore Science Park were built. The Singapore Polytechnic and NUS were expanded and important professional courses introduced. The application of S & T to help our industries were successfully introduced and developed through the Quality, various movements and schemes. The professionals grew and flourished.

All these could not have been achieved without the active participation and contributions of the thousand of unsung heroes Kum Tatt mentioned in the article that follows. Many of those involved do not expect to be acknowledged. We felt that this is due if not overdue.

Engeline Lee


Tribute to Our Pioneers and Unsung Heroes

Many people have been involved and have contributed to the development of Singapore and made it what it is today. They volunteered and participated on an honorary basis, and some for many years. Besides a few many of these hardworking and kind souls remain unknown and Unsung Heroes.

The government, with its old guard leaders, rallied the people to build a new Singapore since it gained self government status in 1959. In 1965 we had to build a new nation or we would perish. The government itself could not do much without the support of the people. We had much to do but had little manpower and other resources to do what had to be done. The questions that were often asked were “What can we do now”? “How could we get the people’s help to participate?” The private sector uses money to attract those who need money and hope that these people are also dedicated to what they have to do. What have we in the public sector then got to offer?

When we were thrown into the deep end we discovered that there was plenty we could offer. This situation provided an opportunity and a challenge for people with nationalistic feelings, unique qualities, driving passion and creative idiosyncrasies to step forward and do their part. How could we attract these talents? We invited, mobilized, catalyzed and gave them opportunities to work together. A few thousands of these people stepped forward and volunteered to serve in various organizations which I was involved and over many years. It showed that there are people who believe in serving good causes if given the challenge and opportunities to do so.

I like to pay tribute to these people, many of whom have become my friends. These are the unsung heroes and pioneers who helped to build our S & T manpower, institutions, commerce and industries, professions and our nation. These people served happily on an honorary basis in the Boards, main committees, sub and special committees of these statutory and independent bodies. I am referring to the Singapore Science Council, Singapore Institute of Standards & Industrial Research (SISIR), Singapore Standards Council, Singapore Polytechnic Board, Singapore Science Centre, Singapore Professional Centre, Singapore Quality Institute and the many professional and other related bodies that were being formed then.

You helped built the foundation for the fellowship and networks to be established many of which are still there and have grown. You have shown that dedication to a good cause can be very satisfying and contagious. Without people like you many of the things we did would not have been done. The annual and other reports of the bodies mentioned above carry your names. You are my comrades in arms at a time when we needed you most. I treasure your participation, contributions and support!

For those who are still in the circuit keep it up. To know that people like you and the volunteers in charitable and community service exist and can be counted on is a very comforting thought for many of us. The only way we acknowledged and showed our appreciation then was just to give a tie, a scarf for the ladies, a simple meal, a visit to my house and a medal to a few. That was all we could afford then. We are very proud that many of you have risen to the occasions, to be leaders and made valuable contributions in your own ways. We are happy to be able to provide you with the opportunity to do so. You have left something behind that benefit your fellow men.

I will try to walk you down memory lane with some of the projects we did together. We will try to recall why and how we started some of these projects, overcome the difficulties encountered and the joy we had when we succeeded. Hopefully others may find it fun to try to do what we did. History like this should not be forgotten especially when so many have benefited and are still benefiting from your contributions. It is not possible to name every one of you but I hope you can identify the role you played, and the satisfaction and pride you had in some of the episodes that follow. If you have some experiences with us that you think can inspire the younger generation please let me know. I will try to include them in some of my articles where suitable.

Lee Kum Tatt
18 April 2007

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Ask the great questions

When we are sick we consult a doctor or a specialist. Whom do we consult for free when we are in doubt?

A person who has gone through what you are going through. My husband has gone through a lot in his life. Many seek his views on what to do or what can happen under certain circumstances. He gives direct answers to direct questions whenever he can. His articles with anecdotes and stories are for those who wish to compare notes with their own experiences.

We are fortunate to be part of his family so we can consult him whenever we find ourselves in a limbo. His experiences and philosophy helped many who found themselves in dilemmas.

My husband has read widely, collected many interesting quotations and has formed some of his own which he found useful. I encouraged him to share some of this with others who may need them.

One of his favourite quotations is “When in doubt, be positive”. This makes sense and requires guts. Nobody will believe you if you do not believe in yourself and you will remain in square one.

Mrs. Engeline Lee
14 April 2007


Ask the Great Questions
For the Great Answers

When I was in school I used to envy my happy-go-lucky friends who did not seem to have a care in the world. Their wealthy parents would prepare everything for them. They were going to become medical doctors, lawyers, accountants or take over their parents’ legacies when they grow up. Here was I struggling to stay in school and aiming only to get a Senior Cambridge certificate and to get a job after that. But my parents had high hopes for me that I would somehow, someday would become “somebody” as a Tibetan monk told them that I would. This was just their hope and dream. On my part I liked to be able to fulfill their dream without knowing how to do it.

The S.E.A. war came in 1941. We lost everything we had. My father lost his job. We the children lost our education. I lost 6 good years of my life. There was nothing in front of me except the hope, kept alive by my Mother, could the Tibetan monk’s prophesy be right? This was the only light at the end of my dark tunnel. I could not see what was beyond that. I was very miserable during the war and immediately thereafter. Besides doing everything possible just to survive we had to pawn the few precious pieces of jewelry my Mother had. This experience hurt me to this day. I vowed that I must never allow this to happen to my family any more. I worked real hard to avoid this.

Today, some sixty years after the war, there are many people who are like me in my earlier years, still grouping in the dark and hoping for something to happen. I am writing this story with the hope that it can give these people some encouragement if not inspiration that life is not that bad. Have faith and trust in whatever you believe in, work towards it, then all will be well.

Even though my parents were in a bad financial shape in 1946 they decided to send me back to school to get my Senior Cambridge certificate. They were strong believers that education must been given the highest priority more than anything else. I am the eldest in the family. This action was a big sacrifice for my parents who could have made me get a job to help out. I compensated for this by giving private tuition in my Senior Cambridge year to help out in a small way besides doing a few small things here and there. I did well in the Senior Cambridge examination. I was fortunate to be awarded a Raffles College scholarship to study science. I managed to improve my life through this one decision of my parents. I did my part and my guardian angel must have been kind and helpful too. I value education for myself and others more than any thing else since. I was supposed to get only a Raffles College diploma in science, if I am lucky, after three years. I got a Ph. D. instead after 6 years. This made me love Education, Science, R & D and their application to better our lives. This was the debt I am happy to repay for what was given to me. Indeed I spent a great part of my life for this noble cause.

After this I started working in a job which was supposed to allow me to do what I always wanted - a continual education through R & D and the application of science to better things for every body. I got part of this but the environment was not conducive for me to do more. Often I have to like what I have to do instead of doing what I like. Many will agree that this can be very frustrating. Some may be persuaded or even forced to accept the situations but not me and those with my type of character. I cannot be expected to give of my best when I have to accept to do what I do not agree is correct or good. It would not be fair to the system or to those I am working with. What should I do now? I decided that I will find a way or I will make one. This is a risky operation. Fortunately I have my wife, family and many friends support and encouragement. I started asking searching questions of myself which I would dislike answering from others. Then I discovered a poem written by the Nobel Laureate for literature of 1907 Rudyard Kipling. Kipling wrote the following:

“I have six honest serving men
They taught me all I knew
Their names were What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

Since then I made use of these six honest serving men. They changed my life. The Whys, Hows and Whats helped me in my study and practice of the exact sciences; mathematics, physics and chemistry, the laboratories and in my early working years. I soon found that knowing how to handle the exact sciences alone is not enough. I discovered that sometimes whom you know is just as important if not more important than what you know. Proper networking of people becomes important. I learned how to attract the talents, get the chemistry right and catalyze them to react and produce the results needed. I also learned how to develop trust and faith in the people I worked with. This can save a lot of questions which we have to answer in a bureaucracy, using up a lot of unnecessary energy and time which can be put to better use.

I felt like a new born chick which was just hatched out from the egg especially when I have to start something new. Why am I here? What do I do now and How can I get to where I want to go. How long will that take and Where am I to get the resources or people to do what has to be done? Asking questions like these and answering them correctly has been my life. Many people have told me that they often face the same problems. The question is can I share my experience with them? This is an attempt to do that.

The six honest serving men have served me well. If you come to know them well they will probably serve you better. In the articles that follow I will give some examples of how and what made some people, including myself, do what we did, often unknowingly or subconsciously, just by asking and answering some great questions of ourselves. Simple idiosyncrasies can produce successful giant projects. We hope we have succeeded more than we failed. We trust you will too.

Lee Kum Tatt
14 April 2007

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Be Confident & Optimistic

When Singapore became an independent nation, many people thought we could not make it. But we did. This is due to the spirit of many Singaporeans who contributed to make Singapore what it is. We refused to accept what others thought was inevitable without trying.

Here is a story from Dr. Lee Kum Tatt and her granddaughter.

Tan Kin Lian


Be Confident & Optimistic

When Singapore became self governing in 1959 and an independent nation in 1965 many thought that we would have a hard time to keep ourselves afloat. Singapore, a small country, with its human beings as its only resource, could do only so much and no more.

This was a very pessimistic view. It can develop into an inferiority complex which would hinder our progress and will not encourage us to try.

On the other hand we could not afford to act big and be seen as being boastful. We would be branded as “ugly” Singaporeans if we do. We were aware of the uncomfortable position we were in.

Many of us tried our best in our own ways to find the right balance so that we would not allow an inferiority complex hinder our willingness and ability to do our best to progress. We also must not be seen to be cocky to our friends. We cannot afford to stick out like a sore thumb in the region.

Singapore’s history is full of examples of what Singaporeans did under these circumstances. So far it appears we have managed to have a good balance which must be constantly monitored and maintained.

When I told my grand children of this dilemma of ours and what some of us did to help, my eldest grand daughter told me this story. This is not an original story from her but one that is very apt for the youngsters and for us to know. Here is the story.

In a certain country where the value of their girls is measured by the number of cows their parents receive from the groom when their daughter marries. The scale ranges from 0 to five cows per girl. The value is fixed arbitrary by the people in their community.

One of the girls was considered not to be worth even one single cow. Poor girl and parents! Why should they be made to suffer such a fate?

One day, someone came, met the girl and offered 7 cows for her hand in marriage. The girl got married and the couple went away. The husband must have found her to be worth 7 cows as a girl and wife.

When she returned one day, well dressed and cultured nobody recognized her until she told them who she was. Everybody was pleasantly surprised. They realized how wrong they had been with their previous judgment.

The girl never allowed herself to be bogged down by what others think. She knew her true worth and refused to be belittled.

The moral of the story is for us to be able to show our true worth. The world will respect us for what we are. Our people must continue to have faith and confidence in themselves. We must be able to think big but not act big. Ultimately it is our true worth and performance that counts.

Lee Kum Tatt
10th April 2007

Monday, April 9, 2007

Inspiration – Human Nuclear Energy

My wife played around with nuclear energy during her working life. As a hospital physicist she tried to save lives. As a university teacher she taught our students the peaceful use of atomic energy. As an honorary consultant to SISIR she used radio isotopes to improve the quality of the processes, services and products of our industries. She discovered a relation between nuclear energy and inspiration, faith and trust and how to use it for our good. I thought some may find this interesting.

Lee Kum Tatt


Inspiration - Human Nuclear Energy

Many has asked me, especially after my last article on this blog, what made me do what I did and where did I get the extra energy from. I think I now have part of the answer which I will share with you. I got the extra energy to do what I did through “Inspiration” - a source of energy which we all possess. We can do so much more if only we know how to tap it.

Nobel Laureate Madam Marie Curie discovered radium and its radio activity in 1898 from an innocent looking piece of ore. This laid the foundation for much of the later research in nuclear physics and chemistry. She won the Nobel prizes twice, once in 1903 with her husband and then 1911 by herself. Nuclear energy is something I worked on in my professional life. Besides the atomic bomb which is destructive, science has discovered many other peaceful uses for nuclear energy. Humans too have their own type of nuclear energy of the mind - “Inspiration” - which we can use to our advantage.

I define “Inspiration” as something that will give extra energy to do “wonders”. Wonders are events that we never expected to happen under normal circumstances. Inspiration is the correct use of the human mind’s energy to do good. It is a combination of Love, Faith and Trust to do good and build up Hope often under trying conditions. The opposite is “Frustration” - a mixture of Hatred, Doubt and Mistrust leading to a state of “Fear and Hopelessness”. Inspiration is constructive and Frustration is destructive. The same source of energy from the mind is being used. It is up to us how to use this energy. Inspiration is not something that cant be easily grasped because it is an abstract matter. Many would ridicule us and argue that there is little one can do with faith, trust or inspiration. My suggestion is try to do without these in your life, then you will appreciate what they can do for you.

I have a great husband and family who inspire me to do things that I would otherwise not have done by myself. I always try to be a source of inspiration to the ones I love and care. These are my Blue Roses, the people I live for. I want them to have fond memories of me long after I am gone.

When I was young I was rather timid and found decision making rather difficult. My crisis years were very tough years for me. Anything could have happened. I could have lost my profession and career. My husband faced many crises in his life. As a survivor he overcame crises without appearing too upset about them. He pioneered quite a number of projects when there was no real need for him to do these projects. He initiated many schemes and built a number of institutions. He was decorated several times by the Singapore Government. The Science Council awarded the prestigious Gold Medal for Applied Research. Many of the professional bodies honoured him by conferring on him their Honorary Fellowships. The local University in its centenary celebrations made him a Distinguished Science Alumni I am most proud when he told me that I was the inspiration behind his work and creations. He faced considerable difficulties in doing some of these projects. Had it not been for an input of inspiration, faith and trust at the right time many of these projects might not have seen the light of day.

Looking back I sometimes marveled at some of the things I did. I helped my husband in building some of the centres of excellence in SISIR. These include the establishment of the Non Destructive Testing (NDT) services and the peaceful application of nuclear energy to industry.

Like nuclear energy the energy that can be derived from inspiration and trust can be very powerful. Someday someone will be able to develop a process where we can harness this energy for the good of mankind and not its destruction through fear and sense of insecurity. In the meanwhile you can tap and use the energy of your own nucleus when you are inspired. You will be surprised what wonders this can do. Who knows another Madam Curie may appear in our midst one day to make the world a better place for all of us to live in. Like to try?

Engeline Lee

9 April 2007

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Spirit of Adventure

Kum Tatt and I have been married for more than 50 years. Like many others I found some of his ideas were quite queer in the beginning.

As time went on more and more people thought that he is quite a creative person after all. He has achieved a lot in his own way during his time. They want to know how he did many of the things he did. His spirit of adventure is very infectious.

Many of our friends and colleagues including me often worked with him with blind faith and absolute trust in doing what had to be done. This saved a lot of time and energy debating on issues which often turn out to be of little consequence. He can fantasize and frequently think outside the box. He has his own dreams and missions. He can also analyze and organize what have to be done.

He has written articles on how to be creative and make creativity work for his family members. I think he should also share this knowledge and skill with those who are interested. His experiences and knowledge can help illustrate how he made his mind and brain to do creative work.

Mr. Tan Kin Lian encouraged Kum Tatt to start this blog which Mr. Tan himself is managing. I support this arrangement and hope that others will find Kum Tatt’s postings useful. We do not claim that he is a Guru of creativity. We just want to share something which we hope others will find it useful too as we have found it to be ourselves.

Engeline Lee
2 April 2007

Gift from Singapore

Singapore’s Very Own
The Creation Of A Gift From Singapore

Up to Singapore becoming an independent nation in August 1965, there was hardly anything that Singapore can really claim to be its own. We imported everything - our goods, our industries and even our water. There were no Singaporeans as we know today. The people were made up of migrant stock mainly from China, Malaysia and Indonesia and India.

The colonial masters had never considered themselves as local residents. They had “home” leaves and many residents returned to their “motherland” on retirement or visit them on vocation. These peoples’ hearts were not with Singapore.

After Singapore became an independent nation many of the residents like me had to build and make Singapore our home and country. We had to create new identities for ourselves and Singapore. This was an exciting but also very trying period where we could not afford to fail.

Besides building industries tourism was identified as a good growth area for Singapore. Hotels, restaurants, shopping centers , tourists attractions like Jurong Bird Park , Singapore zoo, and theme parks were built. Then it was discovered that Singapore did not have a gift or souvenir that it can call its own. Many tried their hand on extending the range of their existing products but none got the winner we needed – a true gift from Singapore.

After the numerous unsuccessful attempts to create a truly Singapore souvenir by so many parties some began to cast doubts whether such a product could be produced by us. I have no experience whatsoever in the souvenir or gift industry.

A review of the souvenirs from the various countries showed a common characteristic among many of the products studied. The souvenirs from many countries used locally produced material, local skills or technology coupled with culture which takes years to evolve.

For example pearls and silk from Japan and China in the form of Chinese Cheong Sams or Japanese Kimonos ; wood carvings from Bali and the Philippines; costume jewelry made from Paua shells from New Zealand, Pewter products from Malaysia and Batik dresses and sarong kebayas from Indonesia and Malaysia and Barong Tagalong from Philippines.

It appeared that Singapore does not have any materials or culture it can call its own. Here we are trying to create an instant Singapore souvenir in the same way as we plant our instant trees or make the instant coffees. It certainly did not look promising.

I decided we will work on the orchid first. In my own mind this may be the last opportunity I have to encase an natural orchid in gold as my wife Engeline wanted. Even if I failed I have given my best to fulfil my wife’s wish. Because of this I was very determined that everything possible would be done to come out with the gold orchid. After all we were so near to getting it now.

Besides a few of my Board members, not many of my staff in SISIR shared my passion or enthusiasm for the project in the beginning. This was to be expected from staff and people not involved in the creation of the concept initially. I was used to this type of attitude and this did not bother me.

What was important was that the gold orchid must satisfy the basic criteria which made the other souvenirs a success. I have to justify and rationalize why the orchid was chosen. This was easy. Singapore is known for its orchids especially their hybridization to produce new orchids. We export quite a bit of orchids every year. We present live orchids to ladies both at home and abroad as gifts which were well appreciated by the recipients.

I could imagine how a lady would feel to be given an orchid preserved in gold. Many would probably swoon if not become mesmerized like the ones I saw during my trip to the Eastern European countries in 1967. If my hunch is correct, marketing this product should present no big problems. I have to have a good promotion to launch the product. This I did.

We have a strong Singapore Orchid Society with many orchid enthusiasts. Singapore is known to be the leader in orchid hybridization, a past time hobby which many indulge in. The Presidency of the S.E. Asia Orchid Society has always been a Singaporean for many years. I could count on the Orchid Society and its members for their support. My SISIR Board members, especially those from the private sector were very supportive which I am very grateful.

The gold orchid has all the good attributes of a true souvenir. It uses local material (orchid) and local technology or skill ( hybridization and metal forming) and time honoured gold. The question of what product we should do was temporarily settled. The next question was How did we do it? We have to get the knowledge, develop the technology, produce the prototype, test the market, build the manufacturing facilities, expand the market, diversify and maintain the growth of the company. Doing the above was tough. What kept the project going?

It appears that we succeeded in producing an “instant” Singapore souvenir which took others, with their rich culture and tradition, decades and centuries to do. What are the important factors that made this possible? One factor is the Singapore spirit then for some people to leap frog and take the risk for a common good. Many worked with me on a honorary basis for many years probably because the “Never say die” spirit can be infectious. We had a good team whose members had contributed much to make RISIS what it is. I like to say a big Thank You to them all.

Lee Kum Tatt

How to be Creative

Lately I gave a talk to the staff and students of the Department of Chemistry at NUS on the “Reflections of a Bare Foot Technopreneur”. It was a lively session.

I like to share some of my thoughts with those who are interested in this subject of technopreneurship and creativity.

Before we learn how to be creative we must have our own definitions of what creativity is and work within these definitions. To me creativity is:

* the ability to see what others cannot see.
* to think what others think is incredible.
* to produce results which others consider extraordinary.

How to be Creative?

The Nobel Laureate of 1981 Roger Sperry propounded his theory that the human brain is divided into two separate hemispheres. They work differently.

The left side deals with objective matters such as analytical, mathematical, logical and even philosophical. Our five senses which are active when we are awake give support to these functions.

The right side of the brain houses non linear thoughts and intuitions. It is characterized by subjectivity, child like wonders, inspiration and creativity. It produces the gut feel, sixth sense, hunch, dreams or intuition which few can share with others. It has been claimed that the right sight of the brain possesses psychic ability.

In our modern society most people, especially employees, use the left side of the brain more than the right side. They are told to be “objective”. All their actions and proposals must be supported by data which can be verified and their reasoning must be logical. This is accepted as normal adult behavior.

Subjectivity is seldom allowed amongst the bulk of society. Those who want to be Few in established bureaucratic administrations are given the opportunity to be subjective in their decisions.

Those who want to be different will have to do it at their own risk. Those who succeed are singled out as having shown initiative, being innovative and even creative. Some are rewarded or even honoured. Others are still struggling trying to break out of their boring routine.

If you are still interested in your job try trouble shooting and innovation first before trying to be creative. In the meanwhile the creative ones must accept the common saying that “ A prophet is not without honour except in his own country”.

How to be creative?

To be creative one has to:

1. learn to activate the right side of the brain more often, to fantasize. Use your psychic power (gut feel) to convert your fantasy or wishful thinking into dreams which you can visualize.

2. prevent your left brain from interfering with this process at this stage by sleeping, meditating or focus on something positive to prevent the left brain from exercising its destructive nature of creative ideas.

3. after that allow your left brain to analyze logically the feasibility and timing of your dream and the ways to achieve it.

4. Pursue your dreams with strengthen passion and commitment supported by courage

5. Monitor closely the progress to see the project through.

Routine work alone does not bring out the creative side or greatness of a person. It can show that a person is above average. He has initiative. He can trouble shoot and innovate to produce modified solutions to the problems at hand.

The greatness in a person can only emerge when he has shown his ability to create, passion to pursue, courage to commit, and capability to achieve. To be creative one needs to have a dream and a mission to start with, to have something to live for all the time. Routine work cannot sustain the challenge of a creative mind.

I have studied the lives of some great people and this is what I found. They may do things by chance, by choice or by force of circumstances like we all do. It is their ability to create that made them stand out among the rest. I read a very inspiring poem by the famous American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882). It has inspired me and touched my life. I like to share it with you.

“Lives of great men all remind us,
We can make our own sublime.
And departing leave behind us,
Foot prints in the sands of time.”

I am sure many would like to be able to leave some foot prints behind as part of their legacies. I am still trying.

Lee Kum Tatt
2 April 2007