I’m so proud of my daughter

by Patrick Liew on September 15, 2019

I’m so proud of my daughter.

Since young, Elizabeth Liew has brought so much joy and happiness to the family, and taught us many invaluable lessons.

She has an amazing heart of gold.

For years, she has been a vegetarian – and I didn’t believe she’d be able to last for so long – because she loves people, animals and the environment.

As her mother would proudly say, “She wouldn’t even hurt an ant or for that matter, any living thing.”

Elizabeth has always been extremely sharp and insightful since young.

In school, she was selected to be in the Gifted Education Programme.

She is gifted in so many ways in terms of the way she think, write and speak.

And she has accomplished a lot in her short life.

After finishing her studies, she decided not to pursue the arts so that she can spend more time to help her old and helpless father.

I asked her to spend more time to help the poor, needy and disadvantaged.

And then learn how to be a good entrepreneur and investor.

In doing so, she can do more and do better to help make our world a better place.

Within a short period, she has done so much to help the least, last, lonely and lost.

Helped to restructure and contribute to our charities.

Organized “Happiness” projects and activities for our colleagues.

And ran more than two major fund raising projects under tough and challenging situations.

At the same time, she helped to design and renovate our new office.

And contributed to our business plans and operations, and improve our bottom lines.

I’m eternally grateful and thankful to our Creator for giving me two beautiful and “forever-baby” angels.

Global Financial Crisis: How Then Should You Respond?

On September 15, 2008, Lehman Brothers collapsed and it triggered a chain reaction that deepened what eventually became a global economic crisis.

In recent times, many prominent leaders in the business and investment world have predicted another financial crisis.

There are many potential minefields that are looming in the horizon, including impact of a potential trade war between the US and China, volatility of the financial markets, viability of highly-valued technology firms, breaking down of international institutions and rules, impact of globalization on pricing power of labour, and downward pressures of technology on wages.

We are living in what’s commonly known as a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous or VUCA environment.

How then should you respond to such an environment?

Typically, there are 7 different responses.

In our company, we term these responses as the 7 Fs.

They are float, flee, flip-flop, or freeze in the face of unpredictability and uncertainty.

To make matters worse, some are prone to respond as a result of fear or foolish greed.

And as we should know, fear and greed are the twin terrors in the business world.

Moving forward, it bodes well to remember that unpredictability is not an enemy.

Uncertainty is not a foe.

They are not necessarily pitfalls.

In fact, a financial roller coaster ride can become a platform to enhance our business, investment, and ROI.

Entrepreneurs and investors can thrive on complexities and complications.

Fight and take flight even in challenging times.

How do you leverage on changing times to generate stable, secure and sustainable profits, advantages and growth?

Looking back in my life, I realise some of the best times for learning, improving, and getting better results are during hard times.

Some of the best times to geberate more profits, improve my business, and achieve quantum leaps of results are also during hard times.


In a VUCA environment, there’ll be silver linings.

There will be new needs, dissatisfactions, niches, gaps, imbalances, dissatisfactions and improvisations that cannot be fulfilled or be adequately fulfilled by current businesses and industries.

If you value-add to these opportunities, you can develop more stable, secure and sustainable outcomes, results and impacts.

Even if disruptive technology affects your business, there’ll be new businesses and other opportunities that are being created as a result of the disruption.

These opportunities may even be more meaningful, rewarding and fulfilling.

Let me illustrate.

In 1986/87, Singapore had the first technical recession after it became an independent nation.

At that point, I was an employee and had only about 3 years of working experience.

During that challenging times, I became the second man in a large company.

I helped the company to capitalize on new markets, businesses and niches.

In 1996/97, the Asian Crisis hit us.

By that time, I had “sacked” my boss and became an entrepreneur.

I was forced to redesign my business model and operation.

Shortly thereafter, my company became the largest company in our industry.

In 2003, we went through the SARS Crisis.

Prior to that crisis, I was cheated by my primary school teacher and almost lost about S$40 million.

Thanks to the SARS Crisis, I was forced to transform our business model and operation.

While our competitors were languishing in fear and tightening their belts, we were literally eating them for lunch.

In 2008, we experienced the start of the Global Economic Crisis.

We were compelled to make major changes to our business.

As a result, according to Singapore 1000/SME 500 study, we became the fastest growing company in our industry and the 7th fastest growing company in Singapore.

In 2010, according to the same study, we became the most productive company as measured by returns on equity (ROE).

Shortly after, we listed our company on the Singapore Exchange.

During every economic and business downturn, there’ll be knee-jerk responses and over reactions in the business and investment markets.

There’ll be under-valued assets that will yield positive gains for mid-to long-term investors.

Looking back, it was during a soft market that I was able to acquire the best companies, properties and other assets.

Thank you once again Professors of pain, sorrow, problems and other challenges.

Sometimes I joke with my close friends that I am hoping for more economic recessions and business downturns.

In recent times, one of the biggest concerns is technological disruption.

How then should you respond to technological disruption?

Historically, every major change, challenge and conflict has put an end to long-held positions, powers, possessions, practices, and other preferences.

New models, structures, systems, technologies and processes have been developed to improve effectiveness, efficiency and efficacy.

However, improved outcomes, results and impacts have not made humans totally irrelevant, redundant or replaceable.

In fact, they have created new opportunities and possibilities.

The Industrial Age redeployed humans and animals for other purposes and pursuits.

Similarly, the Information Age created new breakthroughs that allow us to scale up and step up to a higher plane.

In the past, the advent of computers and other technologies saw many prophets of doom predicting death knell of conventional businesses and business practices.

And painted many doomsday scenarios.

While it’s true that a lot of businesses collapsed by the wayside, there were many others that were transformed to become stronger and better.

The workforce was generally repositioned, re-skilled and retooled to be deployed for new tasks, jobs, careers, industries, businesses, markets, and other opportunities.

Through it all, we have also witnessed eradication of poverty like never before and generated unprecedented prosperity.

Through the power of advanced machines and technology, we have the power to create accelerated and scalable solutions and make the world a better home.

Are you complaining about the darkness or lighting up a candle to lead others out of darkness?

Look Out For Gaps

Disruptive forces, including robots, drones, Internet of things, artificial intelligence-driven devices and other innovations may be able to take over many jobs and businesses.

However, they may not be able to fully perform all the tasks, including tasks that revolve around leadership, abstract thinking, aesthetic, emotive, personalised, and persuasion factors.

Develop and leverage on intelligences that these disruptive forces may not have, including moral intelligence, metacognitive and fluid intelligence, creative and innovative intelligence, entrepreneurial and financial literacy intelligence, intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence, and intelligence for leveraging technology.

Be mindful that for every business and operation that is being disrupted, new jobs and opportunities will be created.

For instance, while technology can generate information, there’s still a need to make sense of the volume, variety and velocity of information generated.

The new opportunities that are being created as a result of disruption may have higher value-additions and can be more lucrative and fulfilling.

Therefore, study what advanced machines cannot do, cannot do as well, or what they can do better with humans.

Find niches that you can influence, and be a net contributor to them.

Adapt to and capitalize on every new situation through ever-improving attitude, knowledge behavior.

Proactively identify gaps that cannot be fulfilled or be adequately fulfilled by disruptive forces and value-add on these gaps.

Provide outstanding customer service by integrating the best of technology and heart-warming services.

The “high tech and high touch” combination and synergy will position you to stay ahead of the crowd.

For entrepreneurs, the economic slowdown is one of the best of times to fine tune business models to improve productivity, increase market shares, and strengthen bottom lines.

This is as good a time as any to improve your operation, and prepare for an upturn.

Look out for incentives from the government to help entrepreneurs grow and globalize their businesses.

The authorities will continue to invest in developing the 23 Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) to grow our future economy.

In a challenging environment, there’ll be increasing demand for bonds and asset-backed investments.

Singapore will become more appealing as a safe haven.

Many foreign investors and high net worth individuals may hedge value of their assets and invest in selected assets for mid-to long-term gains.

There will be good buys in both the business, investment and property markets.

How then can you be a winner in the new economy?

In our company, we propose what we call the “Twelve Hats of Winners”.

You need to learn to put on one or a combination of different hats to survive and succeed in the new economy.

These disciplines, knowledge and skills are mutually reinforcing.

The greatest economic boom in history will happen in the Asia Pacific region.

Singapore and our neighbouring countries can reap some of the biggest returns.

Are you ready for the boom?


We are at an inflection point in the history of humankind.

What has work in the past will no longer work in the future.

Prepare yourself to be future-ready and be operationally-ready to capitalize on mega shifts in Economy 4.0.

The shelf life of your business model and competitive differential is shortening.

While you cannot predict and prevent changes and disruptions, that does not mean that you have to resign yourself to apathy, passiveness and complacency.

Proactively develop an effective mindset, model, culture, operation and condition.

Learn new ideas, business practices, and competencies.

Discipline ourselves to let go of the past to build a better future.

In doing so, you can pioneer, respond to, and leverage on changes to propel yourself to the next level of growth.

Throughout your business journey, you need to creatively destroy your current business model.

Reinvent and reinvigorate a new business model so as to run your business in a better, faster and cheaper way.

The focus is not to respond to every challenge but to build a resilient team and system that will rise above every situation.

Establish an adaptable organisation and an able and agile team to capitalise on winds of change.

Be forewarned: If you don’t change the changes around and within you for better, these changes may eventually change you for worse.

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

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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