Sunday, August 31, 2008
I was half hoping Mr. Michael Quah our Form 3 Art teacher would show up at our Reflections Gathering. He was the one who set me on a quest for originality in Art. I've been searching for the answer for the last 40 years, still unsure if I've found it. Perhaps I need to recognize it first. It remains an indelible question in my mind. During a lesson we handed in our individual pieces of our paintings to him for comment. He singled out mine and shook his head at me. He said it was all too familiar and uninteresting and wished I could do better.
Then he took up another piece which showed some images that looked like wooden fences and cakes in random places all over the paper. It actually looked nice and refreshing, but I didn't know why. He said, Now, this is originality. This is what you should aim for. It was done by a student who was more interested in science and mathematic subjects. I was confused further by the explanations he tried to give me. Perhaps they were beyond my comprehension then.
As I set out on the road of life, I found out I would have to live a life full of expectations of everyone else. It wasn't just mine. I can’t just do what I like and to hell with everyone else. The commercial art line had its frustrations. I had to comply with what other people wanted. Everyone had an opinion as to what's good and right. I decided I couldn't live with that. It was a fork in the road and I took the one well travelled. I left the art world behind. I discovered there were different roads at different junctions leading to different destinations. And as was expected of me, I raised a family along the way.
Now that my obligations are almost fulfilled, I look forward to the day I could do things as I pleased. I aim to claim back my life. But having lived a life of endless obligations has set me in a solid cast. It looks like a formidable obstacle and I’m not sure if I can break through it. Perhaps the reason why I left the commercial art world was I feared casting my art into a fixed solid mould that conforms to what everybody else decides to be correct and proper. I would then not be able to explore and experiment. Breaking away from it prevented me from killing my dream. I don’t regret having that road still open.
I am now at another junction waiting for the light to turn green looking for a sign that says ORIGINALITY. I hope this road takes me back to my dreams again. And I hope to find the answer waiting for me.
Teachers, be careful what you tell your students. It can influence the way they live their lives.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
The fork in the road. Will you take the familiar one with known disappointments or the one less travelled to unknown, untested and undiscovered frontiers?
The nation's future is in your hands. Today you create history. The choice is yours.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
The factory bus dropped her off. It was almost midnight after the second shift. She had to walk on a narrow path through the village to get to her home about two hundred meters away from the main road. The familiar path posed no problem for her as she had trudged though it all her twenty-five years living in this house with her family which included her mother-in-law.
But that night felt a little different. She couldn't say why but she was uneasy. There was a chill in the air but she felt a thin layer of sweat on her skin. A sudden gust of cold wind rushed by and she felt goose pimples all over. At the same moment she heard a lonely, mournful voice of a woman crying piteously. It was the cry of an inconsolable soul in unfathomable suffering. Her feeling of compassion for this pitiful being seemed greater than her fear and she stopped in her tracks and called out, "Whoever you are, what is it under the heavens that is causing you so much suffering? Tell me so I may help you. Otherwise, please don't scare me half to death!"
She had no idea what made her speak in such terms. Those words simply came out of her mouth before she realized what she was saying. But as soon as she uttered those words, her fear left her and the cold air became warm again.
She lingered a moment and listened but couldn't hear or feel anything out of the ordinary. She became aware again of the sounds of the night - the chirping of crickets, and croaking of frogs. There were the familiar shadows of trees and bushes and dark shapes of the houses of her neighbors in the dim light of the moonlit night.
She wiped a tear out of her eye, turned around and walked on home.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Speech by Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Lim Kok Wing at Graduation ceremony held on
May I begin by thanking each and everyone for coming to share with us this occasion, especially parents and guardians of our graduands, the many friends and partners who have given us support over the years, their excellencies, the Ambassadors and High Commissioners, our industry partners, colleagues from our Global Consortium.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
By your presence, you have made this occasion an even more significant celebration. I thank you on behalf of all our graduands.
I would now like to extend my heartiest congratulations to all who have graduated today. Class of 2008, I know you have worked hard for this day. You ought to be proud of your achievement. And I know how eager your parents must have been to see you graduate today.
You now join the many Limkokwing graduates who are making important contributions in this and many other countries around the world. We are proud of every one of you.
I must also extend my warmest congratulations to all parents. You really are the true heroes of this occasion. If not for you, we will not have this occasion to celebrate.
Parents will recall the first days when your small children left on their own to start schooling. Remember how you had to prepare their uniform and put their shoes on for them. That was many years ago.
It may now seem like just yesterday. But it has been a long journey.
I want to thank you for allowing us to share in that journey. I thank everyone, in particular our foreign students who have come from far away places to be with us, hundreds of miles away from home. The number of countries represented on this campus has reached 140.
Class of 2008, it has been a privilege to have you with us.
The boundless energy that you have brought to this campus; the multi-cultural vibrancy that has characterised this university; your amazing sense of style for which you are known throughout this country. Your much talked about talent, the music that you create, the energy that you have brought to this place …. all that will be missed with your departure.
For some of us, this may be the last time that we are gathered together in this hall.
So before you move on, let me take a few moments now to share with you some thoughts I have about the future.
As we know it, the future refers to the period of time that will come after the present, and the things that will happen during that time.
Imagine the future as a huge empty space of time that you now have ownership of. What you get out of it will be the direct result of what you now put into it.
That simply means what you will be tomorrow depends on what you do today. That is simple logic.
As we know, the future has always been and will always be defined by people with the passion and the drive to push beyond borders and beyond boundaries; by people who will move mountains if the mountains are getting in the way. These are people who will simply not take things as they are, and who will never take the easy way out. In not doing ordinary things, they achieve extra-ordinary success. In doing what they do, they transform societies and influence the way of life of thousands and millions across the world.
The future has always been and will always be driven by the power of creativity and human ingenuity.
With advancing technology and rapid globalisation, what used to take years can now be done in a matter of hours.
When the first commercial computer was introduced some 50 years ago, it was so heavy and bulky; it would take up the entire floor space of this hall. Today, we have it in the form of a laptop, a notebook - so light you can lift it with two fingers, so small you can drop it into your handbag. Soon it will be so tiny you can fold it into your wallet, and so powerful, it will be hundreds of times faster and with memories a thousand times larger.
The worldwide web has created a virtual reality that has made time, space and distance irrelevant. The internet will soon be home to a completely new virtual business world, one that is completely borderless.
The tiny mobile phone that has become an integral part of our lives will soon be a complete computer. It will be all you need to run a business no matter where you find yourself in the world.
Thanks to space technology, those adventurous enough will soon be able to travel to the moon for their vacation. And with nanotechnology, doctors will soon be able to extend human life to as long as you want by replacing or curing body cells that are not working too well.
The future will always be about pushing back boundaries and breaking down barriers; it will always be about making possible what seems impossible today.
The future is now in your hands. Use it well and you will soon be doing things that seem simply impossible today.
Class of 2008, as you move on, you will look back and remember the many who have along the way given you support people who were always there to build you up whenever you were feeling down, to push you forward whenever you were falling behind - these are your instructors, your classmates, your close friends; your brothers and sisters. It might not have crossed your mind that they have wanted success for you more than you have even thought about it yourself. To them you will always show kindness and gratitude.
Most of all, you will never forget the unwavering support, never-ending patience and generosity of your parents. You know what enormous sacrifices they must have made just so you may have the secured opportunity to plan and build your own future. You may never know enough how much they care for you.
You will forever embrace them with love and affection.
Class of 2008, as graduates of this university, you are expected to stand out and above the rest. You have a reputation to live up to and that I know you will. You must uphold at all times the good name of this university. You will be exemplary citizens and you will contribute selflessly to society and the well being of humanity.
On that note and on behalf of all of us, I bid you farewell.
May this journey that you have started with us take you to the top of your world, may your future be one of many success stories.
You go with our very best wishes. Wherever you may be, we will be right here watching and applauding.
It does not matter how far away you will be from us, this will always be your home. We will always be with you. You will always be a part of us.