Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Quality of a Good Leader in Science

My husband Lee Kum Tatt (LKT) just celebrated his 81st birthday. He spent a great part of his life in the development of S & T for Singapore’s economic, national, manpower and social development and for the benefit of his fellowmen.

During his time he did not have advisors or groups of advisors to help him do what has to be done. To build what has to be built he depended on his own gut feel and those of his many friends and colleagues. He depended on his values and philosophies to guide him most of the time.

Besides his published scientific and other works ( speeches, keynote addresses, policy papers on a wide range of subjects and issues) he also has scribbled many of his thoughts, philosophies and quotes on paper. Attached is one of his favourite scribbles. We think some of these are interesting and like to share them with you in his blog.

They will provide answers to some of the FAQ (frequently asked questions). What made LKT do what he did? What kind of character is he? How did he survive when he was often considered as an unorthodox person or even a “cracked pot” when the main stream people did not share his views.

After having spent more than 50 years as a family together we know what it is like for those who want to be different like him, are going through. These qualities may not produce Nobel Prize winners or wealthy billionaires but they can give us a comfortable, noble and respectable life.

If this can serve as an encouragement, if not an inspiration to others, to dare to pursue their ideals and dreams LKT’s blog will have served its purpose.

Engeline Lee Eng Nio


Tan Kin Lian said...

Happy, 81st birthday, Kum Tatt. Another 81 years to go!

joenazir said...

Happy Birthday, Dr. Lee. I was in Pre-U 2 Queesntown Sec Tech School when you were guest-of-honour on our speech day in 1969. I still have the school magazine with a photo of you, also of your wife giving away the prizes.

Coincidentally, my gather-in-law, the late Mr. Pwee Sye Cheow worked for you as a lab asssitant. His name was mentioned in one of your blogs, but with his middle name wrongly spelt 'Sai'.

I got to know his youngerst daughter,Lee Kim in 1973 when they were living in Yong Siak Street. I heard your name mentioned when he talked about his previous job. I believe he retired in 1971.

joenazir said...

I believe the last place he worked was at SISIR , 179 River Valley Road.

Lee said...

Dear joenazir
My apologies for spelling your late father-in-law's name wrongly.
The late Mr. Pwee was highly respected for his work. I brought him over to SISIR after his retirement. He has trained many young chemists, including me, in his days.
I remember the pleasant day me and my wife had at the Queenstown Se. Tech. School function in 1969.
How are you related to the nephrologist son of the late Mr. Pwee?

joenazir said...

I have to check the dictionary to find out the meaning of the word nephrologist! Something to do with the kidney.... You must be refering to Dr. Pwee Hock Swee (or Ah Swee) as we fondly call him!

My late father-in-law had 2 wives. Ah Swee's mother was the first wife, while my wife Lee Kim was from the second. So Ah Swee is my half-brother-in-law?

Ah Swee has a clinic at Mt. Elizabeth... Pwee Renal and Dialysis.... something like that.

Very busy man. We only meet during ocassions like weddings, funerals and CNY!

leekumtattblogspot said...

I am aware of your f-i-l family background. My eldest daughter Dr. Grace Lee is also a nephrologist who has worked very closely with Dr. Pwee Hock Swee years ago when they were in SGH. It is a small world we live in. I have pleasant memories of your f-i-l.