International Day Of Peace

Peace starts with the heart. The heart of any problem is very often a problem of the heart.

Your heart will shape and determine outcomes of a conflict. Desires of your heart will also influence strength of your relationships.

If your heart is not in the right place in bridging and bonding with others, there will never be an amicable relationship and peaceful resolution.

To have peace, there must be a desire for peace and being a peace-maker. Without such a commitment, there will be lesser peace in and around your life.

The challenge for most people is managing their ego. The ego is in essence an over-consciousness of your being and an unhealthy attachment to it.

It has a tendency to make you think and feel that you are bigger and better than who you really are and better than the others around you.

The ego needs to be fed but it will never be satisfied. In fact, if it is not effectively managed, it will become hungrier and will grow until it becomes bigger than you.

Gradually, an uncontrolled ego may devour you.

That’s why, it’s so important to have a proper perspective of people and the world around you.

If you hold on to an ethnocentric perspective and insist that you are always right, you can never resolve any challenge and build a closer relationship with others.

When you are willing to give up your need to be approved, to criticize, to control, and to insist that others must go your way, you can find peace within yourself and with others.

Breakthroughs in conflict resolution very often happen when you dare to say you have been wrong before and you can be wrong again. There are always better ways to achieve better results and you must be open to adopt them.

The better ways are sometimes brought up and directed by others.

Therefore, do not just expect others to understand us. Seek to understand them first. Stretch out your hands and build better bridges and stronger bondings with them.

As you look after their needs, they will also be more willing to look after your needs.

When you learn to be others-centric and not me-centric, you can build better friendships and communities.

The opposite is also true – when you seek to serve only your selfish interests, the other party will also ring-fence themselves and pursue their own interests. There will be more unhappiness, disappointment, and resentment.

In whatever situation you are in, don’t lose your cool. It will affect your reasoning and mindset.

Focus on principle not not on personality, the subject matter and not subject each other to any form of negativity.

As fellow members of the human race, don’t attack or seek to harm one other. Avoid taking things personally and calling each other names.

Attack the sin but not the sinner, after all none of us are perfect. Our views are evolving and can be changed instantly.

Therefore, be gracious to allow others to change and improve themselves and their position.

Do not partake in lies, half-truths, and misinformation. Seek to achieve outcomes that are positive, rational, and beneficial.

Start and continue every discussion and debate on the right path.

Be mindful about saying words or taking actions that will cause you to regret at a later stage. Remember, you may not even be able to correct them and set things right for the rest of your life.

During a conflict, if you throw mud at one another, both of you will become muddy.

Worst, if you spew poison in response to the other party’s poison, in the end, both of you will die of poison. Even if the other party stays neutral, you may eventually die emotionally from your own poison.

In the final analysis, even if you cannot prevent every conflict, you can have a more loving heart and a more magnanimous spirit.

At the same time, you can continue to learn, improve and become more effective in resolving conflicts and challenges.

Life is already too short for enjoying love, joy and peace. Why waste more time on unhealthy conflicts?

Why not pursue peace and help bring about a more peaceful world?

Let us do our part to unite people and bring forth more happiness and harmony to the people around us.

Together, let us step up – not shut down; love – not hate; forgive – not begrudge; heal – not harm; unite – not divide; progress – not regress; and be constructive – not destructive.

Let’s leave the world a better place than when we first step into it. If necessary, we can compromise short term personal gains for long term benefits for ourselves and for others too.

Peace is priceless. It begins with each and every one of us.

Let’s promote peace and be peace makers.


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

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Effective Leadership

All great organisations depend on great leaders and teamwork.

Leadership is about the following 7 E’s:

1. Envisioning – Developing a worthwhile vision to make the world a better home;

2. Exemplifying – Showing the way with the right behaviour;

3. Enrolling: Building a team of talents to fulfil the worthwhile vision;

4. Entrenching: Strengthening organisational culture, including models, structures, systems, and processes to achieve success;

5. Empowering: Developing the team to develop more and better talents;

6. Encouraging: Showing love, care and concern for the team;

7. Excelling: Stretching to learn, improve and achieve better results throughout the leadership journey.


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

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What drives champions?


Passion is the essence of life.

Passion is the starting point to living a life of purpose, significance and fulfilment.

It is the generator that powers us with energy, vitality and dynamism on the journey of life.

Passion can turn the impossible into possible. It can move us to achieve our highest calling.

It can lead us to not only magical times of life, it can also help us stretch every moment and savour it, moment by moment.

The reason is because passion, joy and happiness are close cousins. They usually travel through the thick and thin of life together.

Passion is the fire in our soul. It can help us burn a trail and leave a track record of blazing glory.

That’s why if we cannot find passion in what we do, there is no reason why our body should be in it. It will eventually suck every bit of life from us.

Hence, we need to ensure that we sleep and jump out of bed with passion.

Without it, we are dead but not buried. We live but we’re not living life.

We don’t need to search for passion out there in the world. Our Creator has already placed passion in our heart and being.

While growing up, the world might have cruelly tried to extinguish the fire but still, a spark would remain. We need to reignite it.

People might try to crush it but they couldn’t because it’s the essence of life. We need to fire it up.

We need to add to it the fuel of dreams, values and perseverance. And fan it with imagination, learning and discipline.

Passion is the genesis of living a life that is truly worth the living.


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

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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A Falling Leaf Returns To Its Roots (落叶归根)

As a result of societal unrest and prolonged famine, Mr Liew Fei Ru (刘辉如, 广东省, 梅州人), my grandfather left his beloved family and home in Gongzhou (公州) village in Dapu (大埔), Meizhou (梅州), Guangdong (广東) in 1903.

He took a long drive to the port in Guangdong and set sail to seek for a better life in Malaysia.

In his heart of heart, he wanted to find the “pot of gold” that the human traffickers promised him.

“Someday,” he promised his family, “I’ll be back to give all of you a better life.”

After that day, my grandfather never made it back to his village. He never saw his family and other loved ones again.

My grandfather died a tragic death.

As a physician, he was once called upon to provide medical treatment to guerillas in the tropical jungle of Malaysia. These soldiers were fighting the Japanese who were occupying Southeast Asia at that point.

My grandfather was betrayed by one of his men and he died in an ambush. His dream was buried with him.

About 89 years later, my family and I decided to go on an expedition to visit my ancestral home and village.

I wanted to find out more about my grandfather and discover his home and his past life. I hoped to have a better understanding of our ethnic group.

The Chinese has a saying that a falling leaf will return to its roots (落叶归根).

In essence, it means that we have attachments in our life, especially to our home and our family.

After being away for a long time, we long for our family and want to return back to them.

That’s how I felt when I went to see my grandfather’s house and visit our ancestral village.

My grandfather’s old house was still standing but it was abandoned and left to derelict and ruin.

As I walked from room to room, I could feel the presence of my grandfather. I could feel what he had to go through to bid farewell to his loved ones.

I felt like I was eavesdropping on different conversations that happened more than eighty years ago.

Tears were flowing down my grandfather’s cheek as he assured his wife and his family that he would be back. “Wait for me.”

There was a room with two candles and a table facing a window. I stood at the doorway staring at the scene for a long time.

In my mind, I could see my learned grandfather writing farewell letters to his former classmates and friends.

“We would meet again and share many more stories and laughters.


The window looked out to a hill that my cousin told me belonged to my grandfather’s family.

Our ancestors were buried in that hill, some of which tombstones oversaw the house and the village. It was like my ancestors had never left and were watching over their home and descendants.

For the next two days, my family and I walked around the hill and the village.

Although we do not believe in ancestral worship, we paid our respect to those who came before us.

Without our ancestors’ sacrifices and contribution, where would we be? Could we have what we are enjoying today?

My family and I visited the school, the town, the sights around the village.

We tasted Hakka food and spoke with the people who lived and worked in the village.

As I reflected on the trip, I can’t help being inspired by my grandfather and various experiences.

I was reminded that what matters in life may not be made of matters. What counts may be not be counted.

This is a paradox of life.

As you travel on the journey of life, you seek all manners of wealth and riches. In the final hours, they matter little to you.

You pursue personal achievement and success but you cannot carry them beyond your grave. Who you are and what you have accomplished cannot extend another minute of your life.

What you strive and fight for will not matter. Vengeance, hatred, and resentment will become meaningless in the grand scheme of life.

Failure and success will not be important anymore. I’m All your dreams and aspirations will disappear.

Everything that you have acquired will be passed on to some other people. Whatever you carry with you will be buried or cremated together with your body.

The things which you hold dear will eventually be buried by the sands of time.

What really counts in your life is not just your capability but also your character. It’s not just about your tenacity but also about your integrity. .

It’s not just about the image you portray but also about what others perceive of you. It’s not just about recognition you seek but the respect you earn from others.

It’s not just about what you have done but also what became of you and the others after you have done it. It’s not about the quantity of your possession but the quality of your contribution.

It’s not just about the position you hold but also your compassion for people. It’s not about having more power but whether you care for the people around you.

It’s not just about what you have but also what you gave. It’s not what you have achieved but what others have received from you

It’s not about prestige but the privilege to serve a wider community. It’s not about the pleasure of life but the treasure that will outlast a lifetime.

It’s not about what you will miss in life but whether people will miss you when you are gone. It’s not about just about making a living but about living a life that makes a positive difference.

It’s not about the kind of world you are living in but whether you will leave the world a better place than when you first came to it.

It’s not about what you know but how you use what you know to turn the world around you into a better home.

That’s the kind of roots you want the leaves to return to for generations to come.

This leaf is returning back to its roots…


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

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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I Finally “Found” My Grandfather.

On 12 September 2016, I had a good chat with my older cousins.

Through the conversations, I was able to piece together the life story of Mr Liew Fei Ru (刘辉如, 广东省, 梅州人), my grandfather who passed away years before I was born.

My grandfather was born in Gongzhou (公州) village in Dapu (大埔), Meizhou (梅州), Guangdong (广東) in 1883.

He grew up towards the end of the Qing Dynasty. There were political and civil unrests throughout the country.

The southern parts of China were hit by crisis after crisis and famine fell upon the land. Lives and livelihoods were at stake.

My grandfather was a learned and cultured man. He was tutored to study the Chinese classics.

He pursued studies on his own to be a physician, a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine.

As a result of hard times, my grandfather set sail for “Nanyang” in 1903. He needed to make enough money to survive and feed his family.

“Nanyang” or “南洋” is loosely
translated as South of the ocean and refers to Southeast Asia.

He travelled with many others in a Chinese junk. There were barely enough food and space for all of them.

Day after day, night after night, they battled threatening waves and torturing weather.

They lived with despair and struggled with no inkling about what was going to happen to their future.

Many of my grandfather’s friends, including new ones suffered bouts of seasickness and bad health.

Sadly, some of them never made it to the promised land.

Like most people from his village, he paid a tidy sum of his hard-earned money to “headhunters.” These human traffickers made all the arrangements so that he could embark on a new life.

Without realizing it, he became a commodity for the “piglet” (賣豬仔) trade.

They were promised good wages and living conditions but it was not to be so.

They soon realized they were hired as cheap Chinese labourers.

They were traded as coolies and were made to carry out hard labour. Many of them had to undergo harsh treatments.

The foreign workers during my grandfather’s times were known as “new guests” (新客). It was understood that they had no plan to stay permanently.

Their desire was to eventually return back to their villages in China. However, by the time they realized how tough it was to make a living, it was too late to turn back.

They did not want to lose face and
go home empty handed. Many of them borrowed a lot of money to pay for their trip.

It was not an easy life for my grandfather. As a physician, he was not used to doing manual labour.

While trying to eke out a living, he found out that his wife was sick.

There was no way at that point to make a trip back to see his lover. You could imagine the sorrow that he carried in his heart.

All he could do was wait for updates from his family. He suffered in anguish as he waited in hope for good news.

At that time and age, communication was not well established. It might take weeks for any correspondence to reach the other party.

One cruel day, a letter arrived from his village. That was the day my grandfather’s world collapsed.

He received news that his wife had passed away. She was alone and had no one to comfort her or stand by her.

The tragic news must have spun him into depths of sorrow. How he must have wished he could spent the last few moments with his wife.

She had not only loved him, she had also promised to go through pits of life to wait for him.

As a doctor, he would live with the regrets that he could have done something for her. He could have possibly healed her.

The feelings of regret and remorse must have compounded his pain and tore his heart apart.

That was not the end of the story.

After some time, my grandfather finally overcame his grief. By then, he had saved enough money to start a small Chinese medical practice.

Through wisdom and hard work, my grandfather became a well respected physician and entrepreneur.

Besides his thriving practice and traditional Chinese medical shop, he also owned tracks of agricultural land.

My grandfather was one of the founders of the local trade association. It was said that he would show up for major projects despite any odds to play his part for the business community.

My grandfather had a heart of gold. He was known to go out of the way to help others, especially to the Chinese who came after him.

He would help them find an accommodation, provide them food and help them find a job. His philanthropic and charitable spirit won widespread admiration and respect.

My grandfather deeply believed in education. He knew that education is a key to breaking the poverty cycle and achieving the next level of growth.

Together with friends, he established SJK (C) Chien Chi School and the school still stands until today.

While doing my research, I was so happy that my grandfather’s name was listed on the school’s website as one of the founders.

Meanwhile, my grandfather had fallen in love with another lady, Ms He Dao Niang (何桃娘), my grandmother.

He was much older than my grandmother, a feisty lady who was endowed with good looks and relational skills.

My grandfather and grandmother had all the plans in place to settle down to live a happy and fulfilled life together.

Life dealt them a bad hand.

Shortly after my father was born, my grandfather passed away in March, 1929.


As a physician, he has to heal the sick and comfort those who are suffering.

At one point, he was called into the jungle to treat resistance fighters. These soldiers were battling the Japanese during their occupation of Malaysia.

My grandfather was betrayed by one of his men. He was ambushed by Japanese soldiers and never got back home.

It was a shock to many people around him. He was only 46 years of age.

After his demise, my grandmother struggled to keep the businesses afloat. My father was too young to be of any help.

Eventually, they lost everything.

They took whatever they had and moved to Singapore to rebuild their lives.

Unfortunately, fortune did not smile on them.

They had to live through great poverty for the rest of their lives.

I was born in that family and raised in poverty. I have experienced how hard life can be, not only to my family but also to many others in my generation.

When life got better, my wife and I started to run two drop-in centres for migrant workers at Little India.

We provide befriending services, and free food and wifi, legal assistance, health and medical check-ups, and personal development classes.

When I looked at every foreign worker, I could feel for them.

As I searched deep in my heart, I could feel that I’ve “met” the person before.

That person was very much like my grandfather. He could also very well be me.

If I were overseas and in a difficult situation, I would hope for help from somebody.

In the same way, I wanted to do my part for our migrant workers.

Like my grandfather, I’ve always felt that our position, power, and possession are but gifts. They were given to us so that we can share them with others.

When we use them to bless others, we can live a happier and better life.

There should be no difference whether we are helping somebody from our country or overseas.

The foreign workers in our midst are generally hardworking, law-abiding, and peaceful people.

Like our forefathers, they are in Singapore to make a living and to earn enough money to help feed their families in their home countries.

They helped to build our homes and infrastructure, the benefits of which are being enjoyed by Singaporeans on a daily basis.

They have done their part to contribute to the economy and society.

We should be grateful and thankful to them for their efforts and contributions.

The greatness of our people is a reflection of the way we look after the people who are not from our land, including those who are working here and contributing to our economy and society.

In doing so, we are also demonstrating our first world spirit. We are open to working with both locals and foreigners to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation.

As we look after migrant workers, we pay it back to our forefathers and pay it forward for our children and children’s children.

We also fulfill the dream and hope that our forefathers had when they struggled to our shores to eke out a living in the hope of building a brighter future for us.

The baton has been passed to our generation.

“Thank you grandfather for your sacrifices and your struggles for me and for so many of your descendants.

“Your life and spirit has inspired us to look towards the future with hope and optimism.”


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

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please ‘Like’ me on

Visit my Inspiration blog at

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

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Let’s connect on
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Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!

A Trip To the Past (寻根記)

My family and I went on a discovery trip from 12 to 13 September 2016.

Besides my family, there were five other related families that went on the trip.

We wanted to visit the old house of Mr Liew FeiRu (刘斐如) who is my late grandfather.

The old house is still standing and is located at Gongzhou (公州), a village in Dapu (大埔).

Dapu (大埔) is a county in the prefecture-level city of Meizhou (梅州) and Meizhou (梅州) is part of the province of Guangdong (广東).

The description of my final destination may give you a better idea about the large geographical size of the People’s Republic of China.

The people on that trip represent four generations of Mr Liew’s descendants and they range between the age of three years old to 87 years old.

The ancestral house was initially occupied by a family of friends. They did not have to pay any rent but they have to look after the house.

Unfortunately, they were drawn over time to move to the big cities and our old house had to be abandoned.

For years now, the old house that once stood proudly as a shelter for many of our ancestors was being left to derelict and ruin.

Although our old family friends made it a point to clean up the place before our arrival, I could see that the paints were chipping away.

Some of the doors and windows were no longer usable. The roof was leaking and the pillars were rotting away.

As I walked from room to room, I could feel a wave of sadness coming over me.

I could hear voices from the past – voices harkening to better moments spent in that house.

Moments that became part of memories, some of which were turned into lessons for life.

These lessons shaped lives and the generations that came after them.

If you reflect on your past life, you’ll realise that places that were close to your heart played a major influence on your life.

The experiences that you went through in these places; including some of your homes and workplaces, and your responses to these experiences shaped your personality and behaviour.

Those of us who are privileged to inherit such places or memories of such places will have to seriously consider how we want to preserve these places.

More importantly, we need to preserve and recount the stories that were connected to these places and the lessons from them.

We may have to share these stories again and again so that those who come after us can be inspired to rise up to pursue greatness and claim their places in life.

When you move on from this world to a better world, you will leave behind your story.

That matters more than many things you’ll leave behind.

I pray that your story and the places in the story will be worth telling,

Your story will inspire others to craft their stories to have beautiful endings.


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

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please ‘Like’ me on

Visit my Inspiration blog at

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

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Let’s connect on
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Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!

Farewell My Old Friend!

I’m sad to hear that Bellum Tan, an old friend has passed away.

Bellum was a fellow sojourner on the learning journey.

I can’t tell you how many seminars we have attended together both locally and overseas.

We both share the same joy of learning and of stretching ourselves.

Over time we have also become teachers for different subject matters and in our different ways.

However, I have always suspected that, like me, Bellum was happier sitting through another seminar and learning from another guru than standing in front of the participants.

It was his spirit of humility and pursuit of progress that made him ask for permission to sit through one of my seminars recently.

During the class, I had asked him to share his expertise with my students at a later date. He acceded to my request without hesitating for a moment.

Such was his heart for teaching and helping others go farther and faster in life.

Even though he was a successful entrepreneur and investor, there was no air about him.

Bellum was a friendly and approachable person.

He had a warm smile for those who knew him and a high touch in the way he related to others.

To many of his friends, Bellum was a fatherly figure, always ready to give a pat on the back, a friendly advice, and a helping hand.

His spirit of learning, doing well and doing good lives on in the lives of people he has touched over the years.

My heart, thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones.

It’s a sad day for me to lose a friend and a brother.

Rest in peace, old friend.

We’ll meet again in a classroom somewhere beyond the clouds. And we can brainstorm new ideas again with even greater fun, joy and fulfillment.


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

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please ‘Like’ me on

Visit my Inspiration blog at

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

Please visit my website,

Let’s connect on
– via @patrickliewsg

https: //
– via @patrickliew77

My LinkedIn

Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!