Friday, May 13, 2011

Quotes from Mr. Peter Seah

Fullerton-SJI Leadership Lectures presents Mr. Peter Seah (Chairman of DBS Bank) The Straits Room, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.

On my second coffee of the evening, I sat at the front dressed in a black formal shirt and skirt, with my DSLR and Moleskine out ready and a very dry mouth. Initially taking photos of the young and nervous Glee Club Wannabes, then taking notes and scribbling and sketching Mr. Seah - thinking my drawing teacher Dahlia would laugh and be quick to point out that my drawing was skewed. I re-adjusted my sketchbook. Mr. Seah gave a very quick short and general introduction on his life, which left me rather empty and disappointed - desiring something of a more personal touch or more personal story (perhaps something of a cultural difference, or perhaps it was lacking in an emotional connecting point?), but the ensuing Q&A session became more impersonal and vaguely interesting. Here were a few of the interesting albeit axiomatic points he made, and what I have been striving to do myself this past year at LASALLE:

BALANCE in life is important:
1) Family (quality time spent with loved ones, Phi, Milo & Maggie)
2) Community (my classmates, my university and my neigbours)
3) Work (learning, change, growth, skills etc.)

TIME MANAGEMENT is ALWAYS important. EDUCATION has to be wholesome and balanced... (i.e. creative, mental, physical, faith)

"A visionary without ability to execute may be just a dreamer, pursue it to be able to realise a vision." (re: Dahlia Osman's quote on what constitutes a philosopher vs. an artist)

The next few quotes are the ones I agreed with. At some point I was wondering why I was sitting there and how I learn something from this as the whole experience thus so far was everything was already a little too elementary for me, then it occurred to me that perhaps it was not so obvious to some of the secondary school students...

ON CHANGE & FAILURE

"A cultural mindset change cannot be done overnight, you have to motivate people to change. It took me 10 years... Be prepared for setback and failure important for character building. You'll never mature or learn otherwise... Be prepared for a rough road, but don't give up."

ON DISAGREEMENTS & TEAMWORK

"One person cannot monopolise creative ideas. You should give people the right to disagree... Build a pool of key people who will help implement a vision."

After scouring the buffet table, forcing my classmates to be less shy and to mingle, then offering my photos to the Glee Kids who, much to my own amusement and confusion, turned a cold shoulder when I offered to send them my photos of their performance. A thought to speak to Mr. Seah crossed my mind as there was an opening, but I decided against it because unavoidably the questions would come and I wouldn't be able to give the easy answers. I guess I'll never be a cool kid, and that's fine with me! Everyone left for the MRT, and I meditated, bent over the Koi pond awkwardly taking photos of fish.

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