Building Friendships (Part 5)

by Patrick Liew on October 18, 2011

On 17 March 1990, my Papa passed away suddenly. He had a heart attack after an enjoyable holiday with his soulmate, my Ma.

He collapsed while queuing to stamp his passport at the Singapore Customs.

At that point in time, our family was in shock and deeply saddened. It took us a long time to recover from the grief.

Looking back today, I feel it was a beautiful way to go.

No prolonged illness. No medical bills. No burden to his loved ones or anyone.

He left us with a smile on his face and an uplifted spirit from the vacation.

We placed a small advertisement in the obituary column – a routine act by almost every bereaved family. It was hard to believe the response we got at the funeral wake.

The HDB void deck was literally packed.

Many rushed to the funeral to see Papa for the last time. Many came with a message from their hearts for our family.

There was a man with a swarthy face, probably in the 60s, who came very close to me. He held my hands and with glistening eyes, he shared these moving words with me.

“I’m a retired policeman. I’ve met your dad for only a short period of time.

“Somehow, he made a strong impression on me. He brightened up my life.

“When I saw his photo in the newspaper, I told myself I have to come and see him off.”

There were many others who shared with me how they treasured Papa’s friendship and valued the time they spent together. They came from many corners of the country and different walks of life.

My Papa’s funeral awakened me to an important value.

One good way to measure success is the number of friends who will show up at my funeral – people who will be thankful for my life and will miss me when I am gone.

I do not want to go through what Thomas Hardy called the ‘second death’ in his poem, ‘The To-Be-Forgotten.’

‘They bide as quite forgot;

They are as men who have existed not;

Theirs is a loss past loss of fitful breath;

It is the second death.’

I thought to myself, ‘It is tragic if I die, no one will remember me or worst, want to remember me.’

I can take nothing away with me at the end of my life.

However I can leave behind something of value – the highest of which will be my contribution to the people around me and for the environment they lived in. If I live for this noble aspiration, I will live a good life.

I am committed to invest in these real relationship estates. I want to value-add on all of them throughout my lifetime.

Even at work, I realized I am not just in the property business, I am in a people business. It’s not just about real estate but relationships too. Ultimately, I want my clients to become my ‘freehold’ friends – my friends forever.

As I look back on my life, I can count on many clients who have become my close friends. In addition, I have cultivated many other friends at different stages in my life.

If there is anything I can be proud of and happy about – I have many friends. They have enriched my life and made it a meaningful, exciting and fulfilling one.

One of the reasons why I have a lot of friends is the fact that I have tried very hard to live by what My HSR called the STAR Principle.

If I want to have more friends, I have to treat them like a STAR. I believe in their potential to become a STAR and expect them to become one too.

When I do so, they will be more motivated to bring out the ‘STAR’ power in themselves and to live up to my expectation. That’s why I aim to make a STAR out of every friend I have.

How does My HSR STAR Principle Work

S – Start With Myself

Before I start to look for good friends, I need to ask myself, ‘How can I be the best of friends to attract them?’

I need to first begin by loving and being comfortable with myself. I have to then believe I can contribute positively to my friends and our friendships, and work towards doing so.

My emotional stability will help me win more friends. On the other hand, if I am emotionally unstable, it will repel them from me.

When I bring out the best from myself, I can bring out the best from others.

T – ‘Tee-Up’ Others

In My HSR, we support the Golden Rule, ‘I will do to others what I want others to do to me. I will not do to others what I don’t want others to do to me’ (My HSR Code Of Honour #1).

If I want to be loved, I will have to share my love with other. If I want to feel important and respected, I will have to make others feel important and respected too.

I endeavor to make others feel good about themselves. I aim to edify them and make them feel they want to and are able to achieve more in their lives.

In My HSR, we call this process, a ‘Tee Up’ process.

I adopted a 3P approach to ‘tee-up’ my friends.

Presence. When I am with anyone, I will offer them my full presence. I will strive to give them my complete attention – my body, mind and spirit will be there for them.

Pace. In My HSR, we say, “People like people who are like them.” In other words, we want to feel comfortable when we are with others and we want them to work within our comfort zone.

When I first meet someone, I will be more sensitive to their thoughts and feelings.

I will attempt to ‘mirror and match’ them in terms of their thoughts, language, and behavior. I will find common ground of interests and agreements and pace them until they are comfortable with me.

After I have connected with them, I can then collaborate with and even correct them.

Ultimately, I intend to build and work towards developing win-win relationships. They must win first so that I can win in life.

Praise. Every person has strengths and achievements. I will look for the good in people and help to strengthen these traits in their lives.

I will take every opportunity to shower them with my affirmation and appreciation. I will compliment and praise them – sincerely, appropriately and generously.

I will recognize their good deeds privately as well as publicly. I will do everything possible to inspire them for greater success.

A – Enhance My Value–Additions To My Friends

In My HSR, we believe, ‘The best life is a life lived for others. The more we reach out to bless other lives, the richer and better our lives will become.’ This is the foundation to build lasting friendships.

That’s why I will continue to improve on my Friendship Quotient  (FQ) – my ability to add value to my relationships. Same reason why I will invest a lot of time, energy and money to learn, improve and become a better person.

I want to be more useful to my friends.

I like to find out my friend’s goals and aspirations. I want to be their cheer leader and if possible, play a part in helping them fulfill their vision in life.

As I journey with them, I hope to keep my ears open and be sensitive to their needs. With no strings attached, I want to be a plus factor in their lives.

It can be a simple word of encouragement, an act of kindness, or a helping hand to resolve an issue and help them live a better life.

I want them to know I will stand by them – old-timers like me call it ‘Yi Qi’ in Chinese. They can count on me to be with them in both good and bad times.

The more values I add to their lives, the greater will be my sense of purpose and fulfillment in life. It will also help to secure and strengthen my friendships.

R – Reinforce With Heartfelt Experiences And Memories

When I think of all the endearing friendships I had in life, it came about mainly because of the experiences we went through together and the beautiful memories we shared.

Although many of these experiences resulted from circumstances, a lot of them were deliberately created by me.

I hope I will never be too busy to create happy memories – for my loved ones and for my friends.

To do so, I need to use my creative juices to come out with exciting experiences and even pleasant surprises. My friends and I should be able to indulge in them again and again in our future meetings and through aide de memoire such as photos and gift items.

Recently, I’m happy I organized two special events for my reservist mates and members of my unofficial slow learners club. My family and I also had an unforgettable get-away in New Zealand.

In My HSR, I am sure our team leaders will remember the crazy times we had while holidaying in Phuket, Batam and Malaysia.

We also put in a lot of effort to organize one of the best My HSR Family Congress & Gala Nites.

Our bootcamps and many other activities continue to create beautiful memories for many of us.

I want to continue to connect with my friends on a heart to heart basis. That can mean sharing each other’s secrets, crying for each other, and spending special moments together.

When my friends become STARS in the ‘movie’ of my life, they will brighten my life. I will also shine along with them too.


Papa, thank you for inspiring me to have more friends in my life.

I cannot ask for a better friend than you. I wish you were here to meet my friends.

I can see you partying with all your friends in heaven now.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please go to ‘Notes’ found below my profile picture.

Visit my Transformation blog at

Visit my Inspiration blog at

Please read them and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


Question: How can we have more friends in our life?




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