Reflections About Learn-A-Thon 2011 (Part 4)

by Patrick Liew on December 8, 2011

Have you ever thought of doing something but you cannot quite see the end-point?

Yet, you took the first few steps.

Suddenly, you felt divine help paving the way and lighting the path.

The jigsaw puzzle started coming together.

That’s how I felt when I initiated Learn-A-Thon 2011.

It was a simple idea – invite top wealth-creation experts. Ensure we value-add to participants’ lives. Move their hearts to help victims of the flood.

In the process, trigger a spark to blaze a trail of love.

As I started the journey, I realized there’s so much more that needed to be done. A thousand things could go wrong.

Then, the help came. People volunteered to help – with no financial rewards – to share in a dream.

Each and every person played a vital part. Together, a masterpiece began to take shape.

I felt like a simple piece of wood, used as a backing for this painting.

In my previous note, I mentioned about how various foreign talents volunteered to help us.

Let me share some other examples of how the locals responded to make this project a success.

I knew this mission-critical project with such a tight timeline has to be technology-driven.

The techies showed up – together with Andrew Chow, a social media expert. They made the bits and bytes work – and meanwhile, I, the techno-dinosaur just look intelligent.

Corporate governance was at the top of my mind. I will not do anything that is even remotely grayish, let alone wrong.

Yan Fu Cai – humble and assuming – told me he has a degree in social work and has worked in the office of the Commissioner of Charities. He was God-sent for me.

A top legal firm also offered to be our honorary advisor.

I needed a good person to run the Ops Centre, Lina Yong stretched out her hand. Looking at her – quiet and gentle – I feared for the worst.

Over time, she became like a teabag. To rephrase the off-quoted saying, I never knew how strong she was until she was placed in hot water.

Lina is pregnant! She was stroking her tummy every now and then – and it melted my heart to think how much she had sacrificed for all of us. I’m sure her baby will be born with a heart of gold.

My business competitor Vivien Theseira was amongst the first to ‘kee chiu’ (put up the hands) to offer her help. She will be looking after our guests and along the way, she ‘tortured’ herself by adding more work to her heavy work load. Unbelievable!

Jim Khoo was told by me, “It will be an easy job.” He said, “Yes” without any hesitation, and got into trouble. Big trouble.

I loaded him almost every day with new assignments. He told me, “I’m not running any of my leadership courses so that I can focus on Learn-A-Thon 2011.” As a part-time volunteer, Jim was working almost full-time – for free!

Ashley Ella came alongside with Jim to look after our main ‘products’ – the 14 wealth-creation speakers. She has a great team to help the speakers deliver the highest possible value to you.

Jen Tong is one of the top team leaders in my company. She was busy enough running her business but she ‘volunteered’ (‘was arrowed’ ha!) to look after the reception and ushers.

Norman Yeo was another dedicated volunteer. After sinking his teeth – and, if I may add, his body, soul and spirit – into Learn-A-Thon 2011, he told me, “I am currently sitting for my examinations.” Can you beat that for a sacrifice?

Then, there were volunteers who had to work hard in their day jobs like Kyne Qiu, Melissa Koh, and Francis Teo. They put in more than their fair share of contributions.

When a need arose, there were always volunteers who appeared.

We needed help to communicate in Mandarin, Roger Koh showed up. I call him a modern-day Confucius because of his wisdom and command of both the ancient and present-day Chinese language.

We had a creative idea to help participants send their ‘hearts’ of love to victims of the floods. Eunice Tan volunteered to help with her able team of hosts.

Patrick Lee provided oversight for video and photography services. He was helping us to have good memories of Learn-A-Thon 2011 for a long long time to come.

At the eleventh hour, we needed a cultured and sophisticated lady to look after some guests who would grace the occasion. I could not think of a better person than Donna Lim and her team.

Not even our colleagues and friends were spared. People like Millanie Tibay, Ruby Nguyen, Stephanie Tay, Lisa Lum, and Selene Ong worked very hard behind the scene to make Learn-A-Thon 2011 a success.

Even our kids got involved. Deborah Torres Patel’s daughter, Keysha Gem, gave us many good suggestions. She, too, rolled up her sleeve to work.

It was quite well known now that I ‘exploited’ Isabella, my daughter to help me – call it my returns on investment.  🙂

I am indebted to Richard Tan, our Advisor, who helped us in logistics, operations and publicity. He donated generously of his time and resources to make many critical solutions possible. He rose to the occasion every time I hit a roadblock.

I wished I have many more friends like him to ‘abuse.’ 🙂

There were literally hundreds others that have helped in so many ways.

All said, they came to serve – to have fun and to create a memorable experience.

Learn-A-Thon 2011 taught me that all great organizations depend on great leadership and teamwork. Great teamwork is about having great talents that work together effectively as a team.


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 Inspiration blog at

Visit my Transformation blog at

Please read them and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!



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