Believe in your future and your future will believe in you
Believe in your future and your future will believe in you
Reflection on the Passing of Our Founding Father Lee Kuan Yew
I think the best tribute to show our appreciation and respect for our founding father is to follow his example, and continue to build and grow upon this foundation that he has laid for us. Here are a few key things that I can learn and do —- pursue wisdom and righteousness, be bold to do them and stick to them, willing to take advice and be corrected especially to share and listen to your wife and love your wife truly.
During this period of mourning for our nation founding father Lee Kuan Yew, every one of us, in our own, may be even little, ways wish to express our appreciation and respect for the man who has impacted our lives much. There was this artist Ong Yi Tech who painted a portrait of Lee Kuan Yew by writing his names! See Lee Kuan Yew is a ‘legend’: Man behind the viral portrait. Since my interests are in Chinese Philosophies and their applications in modern management (see Ancient Chinese Wisdom), I shall show my respect and appreciation from such a viewpoint.
While our founding father may have passed away, his legacies and his influence, will continue on through many generations after. He will always be remembered as the founding father of Singapore. He and his team will always be cited as examples for all to follow. Legacies come from sticking to one’s values and mission. Despite the difficulties, the risks, and against all odds, under his leadership, Singapore succeeded. There are many great things that he did and many people will write about that. One particular and vital key to his success was the support of his extremely wise and talented wife and their true love for each other. See The Lee Kuan Yew And Kwa Geok Choo Love Story … The post has the title “Behind every successful man there stands a woman“.
While not many will be as wise and great as Mr Lee, there are simple lessons that we can learn from him and apply to our own lives and making whatever small contributions that we can. Chinese has a proverb “勿以恶小而为之，勿以善小而不为。 –《三国志·蜀书·先主传》”
Do not do something because the harm/evil is small nor
fail to do something because the benefits is little.
There are four lessons for us:
Once, the Emperor was very angry about his officer stopping him from hunting in the spring season because it was the period for animals mating and feeding the babies, ZhangSun got her ladies to all dressed up in official ceremony dresses to congratulate the Emperor. The Emperor was surprised and asked why. She said that she heard that only the wise and good king can have his officers who dare to advise him. Now that there is an officer who did that, it showed that he was a wise king indeed. That made the Emperor very happy.
Her son complained through his nanny that he did not have enough things to enjoy. ZhangSun said,“为太子，患在德不立，名不扬，何患无器用邪！As a prince, the concern is about not having the right virtues, not being well-regarded, why care about not having enough things to enjoy?”. She rejected the request.
Her love for ShiMin was seen with her care for ShiMin and readiness to die with him. ShiMin was sick for a long period of time and she stayed with him day and night. She carried with her a bag of poison all the time. She was prepared to take the poison once ShiMin died! (上得疾，累年不愈，后侍奉，昼夜不离侧。常系毒药于衣带，曰：“若有不讳，义不独生。”)
On her death-bed, she requested the Emperor to give her a simple funeral and not to waste money on building great grave. She said she did not contribute anything in her life and should at least not harm people in her death. She reminded the Emperor to be close to the good man, distant himself from the villain, accept corrections, reject gossips, do not labor the people, stop travelling & hunting for pleasures (妾生无益于人，不可以死害人，愿勿以丘垄劳费天下，但因山为坟，器用瓦木而已。仍愿陛下亲君子，远小人，纳忠谏，屏谗慝，省作役，止游畋，妾虽没于九泉，诚无所恨！儿女辈不必令来，见其悲哀，徒乱人意。” – 资治通鉴).
The sad thing was ZhangSun did not live long. She died in the 10th year of the reign of ShiMin at the young age of 36! Li Shin Min was much blessed to find another young, brilliant and righteous lady XuHui 徐惠妃. Like ZhangSun, she was able to remind and advise ShiMin not to waste resources on fighting wars and building palaces. Her famous words to ShiMin was “故有道之君，以逸逸人.
无道之君，以乐乐身. A Good King ensures his people live in comfort but a bad king only selfishly enjoys himself (at the expense of his people)”. XuHui loved ShiMin so much that when ShiMin died, she fell ill and refused the medicines offered. She died as she wished one year later at the young age of 24! It goes without saying that we are truly touched by these loving relationships.
Strong Nation, Great Leader and Loving & Wise Wife
A Strong and prosperous nation is built by a great leader. A great leader has a wise and loving wife. He loves and appreciates his wife advice and correction if any. Let me ends with a quote from Mr Lee on marriages:
Let Do Our Part:
I think the best tribute to show our appreciation and respect for our founding father is to follow his example, and continue to build and grow upon this foundation that he has laid for us. Let every one of us contribute in whatever small way that we can towards the continued growth and well-being of Singapore and our fellow-men and women.
I shall offer an amended wording as follows:
“behind every great man is a wise woman who loves him much and who he appreciates and listen to”.
May the legacies and the contributions of our founding father Lee Kuan Yew continues through all generations.
Lim Liat (c) 23 March 2015
Sima Guang, a famous Chinese Historian and a former Primer of the Zong Dynasty, gave as two sets of three key principles, one on personal development and the other on running successful organization. This wisdom is distilled from the study of the rise and fall of nations and leaders in China from 403 BC to 959AD. It was written as a guide for the King to rule the country well.
The famous history book written by Sima Guang is The Zizhi Tongjian 资治通鉴, literally in English is, “Comprehensive Mirror in Aid of Governance“, or in my translation, “The CEO Handbook”, since it was writtent as lessons for the rulers. It is published in 1084, in the form of a chronicle. In 1065 CE, Emperor Yingzong of Song ordered Sima Guang (1019–1086) to lead with other scholars for the compilation of a universal history of China. The task took 19 years to be completed. It records Chinese history from 403 BCE to 959 CE, covering 16 dynasties and spanning across almost 1,400 years, and contains 294 volumes and about 3 million Chinese characters. Sima Guang gave his evaluation for the reasons for success or failures throughout the chronicles. Most kings through the Chinese dynasties had recommend the study of the book. Even Chairman Mao of China has recommended it as well.
Sima Guang listed 3 key qualities for being a leader and another 3 principles for ruling the country. Here is the mind-map that explains what these mean:
Character Development has 3 key qualities：
Managing the Country – The Three Principles
Governing has 3 Principles:
A mission statement must be inspiring to begin with. It should be shown and not just tell. It is best internalized and entrenched. It is shown in the products and services offered. Hence, customers can tell you what your real mission is, Apple is one that achieve the highest standard in inspiration and showing of their mission. We can also learn mucth from the Apple’s mission too,
A mission statement is about the purpose of your existence. It is your identity and the value that you provide to a particular group of people. It gives meaning. It should be inspiring. It differs from Vision statements. Mission is about why whereas Vision is about what at some future point in time. Vision explains what your mission looks like to internal and external people. Values are your key believes that shape your decisions and behaviors; those important qualities and moral standards that define who your are. Getting back to mission, a mission statement must also be inspiring.
Recently, Li Ka Shing, Asian richest man, was reported in ZaoBao of 8 Oct 2014 (Chinese Newspaper in Singapore) that he liked a particular quote in the book “Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. The quote is:
In Sun Zi’s Art of War, the first of the five factors for winning war is 道 Dao, the mission and values of the people. Sun Zi explained Dao as the one that unite the top and the bottom so that they can bravely live or die together. Unity is one of the 5 keys for winning that he emphasized again in the later chapters of his book.
Show, Don’t just tell.
If you try to look for Apple’s mission statement, you will not be able to find it even in their website or their publicatioins. However, I believe, Apple’s Mission is personalized and personified in Steve Jobs. “Making a dent in the universe” is one of his famous quote. He had over the years, created the unique Apple culture that reflected its mission. Steve Jobs believed in showing rather telling. This is in fact a great teaching of Lao Zi. In Dao De Jing chapter, we find the following statement:
But once the mission is internalized, there is no need to state it explicitly.
Internalized and Entrenched – The Culture
Mission statement must be implemented in the company policies, procedures, practices and systems. Also in the building design, office layout, retail space deco, the vehicles and everything else. It takes time and effort for the staff to internalize the mission and for the mission to be entrenched in all the practices. In the long run, it creates the unique culture that give its the competitive strengths. Technologies can be bought, practices can be copied, but culture cannot be easily copied.
Customers tell you your real mission.
The mission best shown in the products and services that the company offer to its customers. Customers are the ones to tell you accurately and truly about your mission.
What is the Apple mission statement? What words come to your mind when you think about Apple?
Simplicity, Elegance, Beauty, Wow, Eaes of Use, Fashionabe, Stylist and Classy, even Sexy. You are right. Those are the key ingredients of Apple’s mission. The true mission of a company is in its Brand. Brand is not what you claim but what customers say about you from their experience with you over a long period of time. In short
My mindmap of Apple’s Mission:
Apple’s mission can be found, indirectly, in Youtube videos on “Apple – Design by Apple – Intention” and “Apple Ad – Our Signature”. Apple called their mission statement, intention and signature. Indeed, your signature is your identity which is also your mission.
Notice that the value that customers appreciate is in how they feel about your products and services. It is all about creating a wow experience that get the customers to ask for more!
Lim Liat (c) 8 Oct 14