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Showing posts from 2015

Acts of Kindness Observed or Received –At Home and Abroad

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I am personally delighted that many more acts of kindness are observed and reported in Singapore. Several friends noted that in recent months there are many more notations in the Bouquet Section of the Forum Page in the Straits Times.

Recently, the owners of the cafe, Strangers’ Reunion, were met with an overwhelming response from the public when they put out a call for help to raise funds for their cancer-stricken head chef. I was asked for my opinion by the New Paper to which I replied to the effect that there is innate kindness in every one of us. We naturally reach out with a desire to help for we know that the challenges of human frailties and vulnerabilities are common to all of us.

These days, I have observed and experienced an increase in the number of people offering seats to senior people on buses and trains. At 10:00 pm one evening, I boarded a crowded train at Dhoby Ghaut station. A middle-age lady immediately offered her seat to me. Just yesterday, my wife and I board…

Two Weeks in the Life of a General Secretary

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Every now and then, I meet someone who could not hide his surprise upon receiving my business card.  “Is there that much to do in the business of kindness?” is one of the questions politely posed to me.  When I mention that there is so much to do that we need 20 fulltime staff to do it, the mild surprise turns into utter amazement.
So what do I do as General Secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM)? To begin with, I lead.  A movement by its very nature requires someone to lead it.  Since taking on this assignment at SKM, I have been featured in two books on leadership.  Changing Lanes, Changing Lives by Richard Hartung highlights a number of private sector senior executives who left their profit-oriented businesses to lead not-for-profit organizations.  All of us have a common passion, namely to “do good well”, to quote Willie Cheng who wrote a whole book about it, aptly titled Doing Good Well. I am convinced that leadership is even more important in not-for-profit organizati…

The Charisma of Singa, the Kindness Lion

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Many of you must have received a Singa figurine in your National Day Parade (NDP) funpack.  1.6 million from the new series of 15 figurines were distributed nation-wide in celebration of SG50.  Soon after National Day (9th, August), 1,000 serially numbered limited edition sets as well as individual figurines of 14 designs were made available to collectors and others.  This is the second series of Singa figurines.  The first series was created in 2010.  As the Straits Times reported on 12th August 2015 the new series proved to be very popular. 


Singa,​ ​the Lion, ​ ​was introduced to the public in 1982 as the official mascot for Singapore’s National Courtesy Campaign (NCC). He was a mascot used for various public education campaigns ​ ​to message the need for courtesy.   In 2001, Singa became the mascot of the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM) after the NCC was subsumed into the movement.​

​In his role as mascot, Singa has appeared in numerous publicity materials, souvenirs and events …

My Day In Court

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I was called to the bar in 1973, and in the same year, I had the opportunity to appear before the late Chief Justice Wee Chong Jin in the High Court on a contentious matter involving four members of a family. It was a rather unfortunate case because I was representing the mother and sister against two other siblings who were disputing over a settlement of the family estate upon the death of the patriarch of the family. The case was heard in the Old Supreme Court Building which is now the National Gallery.   As a rookie lawyer, still wet behind my ears, I was awed by the very ornate court room and chamber of the Chief Justice. 

Many famous cases were heard in this magnificent building, and perhaps the most historic of all is the war crime trials of members of the Japanese military in 1946.In my view the most professionally meaningful symbol in the building is the tympanum sculptures on the pediment visible below the cupola. They are the work by Florentine sculptor Augusto Martelli, a Mi…

Make Every Day Forgiveness Day

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On Being A Father

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Yesterday was Father’s Day. Many of us, no doubt, seize the occasion to reflect on the challenges and joy of fatherhood. I posted on my Facebook that I am a proud and happy father and I thank God for all my three children. On my Instagram I posted a picture with my three children, Li-Ann (42), Li-Lynn (39) and my son (35) with these words, “Only yesterday, we were huddled on one couch…”


Li-Ann posted on her Facebook a set of my pictures with the following remarks, “Happy Father’s Day to a real Renaissance man, though you will always be “Dad” to me. xoxo”.


Li-Lynn posted on hers:


My son and I talked on our facetime.

42 years have passed since I became a dad for the first time. How did I manage as a father? I guess, their messages answered my questions in part. Strange that none of us went to school to learn how to be a father, but somehow we managed.

I grew up with an absentee father for the most part. He was, from my recollection, a friendly sort of chap, but I…

Kindness on the Roads

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There is no doubt that our roads and highways are getting more congested even though ERP gantries are more ubiquitous than ever before. There appears to be more vehicles sharing limited space which makes kindness on the roads even more relevant.

By kindness on the roads I am thinking about being careful not to inconvenience or harm fellow road­users. Being considerate is an important value of kindness, and very often being kind and considerate is often spoken in the same breath as in “She is unfailingly kind and considerate.” Not to inconvenience or harm others is to be unfailingly kind and considerate. Applying this attitude to driving, it implies attentiveness and thoughtfulness, co­operation and patience. In sum, it implies a degree of civility in our relationship to others.

Abdulla M. Abdulhalim, a PhD candidate and a President’s Fellow at the University of Maryland told the Huffington Post, "We like simple definitions. Civility really is a more broad term compared…