More ‘Kung Fu’ Lessons For Life

by Patrick Liew on September 9, 2013

Taiwan holds a special place in my heart.

It was the country where I completed the grand finale of my officers cadet course. It was up in the mountains that I spent some of the most gruelling moments of my life.

As a result of going through life in the wild and some of the toughest challenges that nature and humans could offer, I realised the vast potential within me. I proved that infinite possibilities could be achieved when I developed a close partnership with our Creator.

A key to opening the door to sustainable success is perseverance.

Perseverance is the discipline of pressing on with passion and excellence over a protracted period of time and to finish the race despite facing obstacles and challenges.

Years after my military stint, I almost relocated to work in Taiwan. I was offered a global marketing manager’s job after being recommended by a headhunter and going through a series of job interviews and an onsite visit.

The offer on the table was very tempting to a young man – a chance to see the world and at the same time, be paid a princely sum of money.

In the end, I listened to a loving and gentle voice in my heart and knew it was not our Creator’s calling for me. I decided to choose Him and not materialism, purpose and not money.

I chose to stay back in Singapore to make something good out of my career and future.

I had never thought about how my life would turn out if I had taken a different path. It would have been an exercise in futility because life should be lived forward and not be a burden of the past.

Deep within me, I held on to the belief that our Creator would watch over me just as He did when I went through many crises and near-death experiences. I knew all problems would come to pass and something wonderful would come out of it.

After joining the dots, I can testify that He has woven my experiences, including broken dreams into a beautiful tapestry of design, colour and texture. A life that is truly worth more than living.

After marriage, my newly-minted wife and I decided to go to a few countries for our honeymoon. Taiwan was chosen as our first stop.

During our holiday inTaiwan, we also took time off to visit a few real estate companies. We wanted to study their operations and establish a business relationship with them.

Many people, including good friends would irk at the prospect of spending a vacation doing ‘work.’ My explanation was simple.

I could not phrase it in a better way than to repeat the saying purportedly by Confucius:

‘Enjoy your work and you don’t have to work a single day for the rest of your life.’

Throughout my life, I have never dichotomised work and other areas of my life.

Work is not everything about my life but it is an important extension of my being. It is a vital part of the learning process to live a meaningful, exciting and fulfilling life.

Through unconditional love and grace, Our Creator has appointed me to be His ambassador at the workplace. I know that I don’t deserve it and may not be in the best position to represent Him.

Work is an honour given by Him to manage His handiwork. It is a privilege to help Him establish the best values, environment and lifestyle for humankind.

With His help, I believe I can do and achieve far more than I can ever dream or imagine. It is a high calling to be a part of His team to turn the world into a better home.

How then can I not enjoy my work and give it my best shot? How can I grumble and grouse about it?

In 1990, after stepping up to be an entrepreneur, one of the first few markets that I tried to open up was Taiwan. In fact, I stayed there for more than a month to immerse myself in the culture and develop my business.

It was during that trip that I really appreciated the value of Singapore’s bilingual educational system. Most of the time there, I had to converse and even train in Mandarin.

Learning to communicate in Mandarin has also opened the gateway for me to do business in other countries. It has helped me to appreciate and learn from the Chinese culture which has a history of more than 5000 years.

While I am deeply rooted in the Singapore way and am proud of our values, aspirations and achievements, that Taiwanese trip was the first few steps that I took to become a global citizen. I believe the only way forward in the new economy is to learn how to operate as a global leader, entrepreneur and executive.

I have only one regret when I visited Taiwan. For years, I wanted to take its relatively slow train, sit by the window, and reflect about life.

That’s what I told a taxi driver when I arrived in Taichung on Wednesday, 4 September 2013. He replied, “I’m afraid you are late by more than 6 years. We are using a High Speed Rail now.”

I’m reminded that today could be the last day of my life. Therefore, I want to fully experience everything in my life and to cherish them.

I want to learn how to live life at its best – moment by moment. Every moment should be the best moment.

I want to live every moment as if it is the first and last moment. I aim to be mindful of every moment and do everything I can to live it out as the best moment.

If the experience of time as Albert Einstein might put it is relative. Then, I want to see how can I stretch time by maximizing its enjoyment and fulfillment.

I want to live every moment to not only the fullest but to also enjoy it while it lasts. If I am not enjoying it, it is a wasted moment.

I want to inject life into living. I do not want to exist or go through the motion of a ‘typical’ day.

Even if there are challenges, I want to go and grow through them.

I want to prolong the pleasure of every moment and savour it with the strongest passion and the greatest intensity.

I endeavour to accentuate and sustain the learning experience by anchoring them in my memory and recording them in my journal.

It is sad that in the past I have allowed many of these valuable moments to pass me by.

I have not lived through every moment very often because I have consciously or unconsciously lived in the yesterdays or tomorrows of my life. I have been too preoccupied with the baggages of the past and burdens of the future.

To borrow the words of a famous Chinese song, I wish that ‘明天会更好’ – tomorrow will be better. Unfortunately, I let today go to waste.

Over the years, I have discovered that when I learn to value and enjoy every moment of my life, I will deepen my love for our Creator and for myself at the same time.

I will become more aware of the positive emotions, including love, joy and peace that He has planted in my heart. In addition, I will carry less negative emotions, including many of the destructive emotions that can depress my spirit and crush my being.

Being mindful that my life can end at any point in time, I will manage my life, and not just my time.

I am more inclined to do well and do good at the same time, all the time.

As long as I live for another day, I will endeavour to craft a ‘fairy-tale’ ending for my life.

I will constantly remind myself, WhateverI need to do, I will do it NOW.

I will always remember you Taiwan. Thank you.


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

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Visit my Inspiration blog at

For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at

Please visit my website,

Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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