By Bernard Tang
Dear Dr Tahir (Director of Mayapada Group),
I read about your article today on Wake up Singaporeans. I also read about philanthropy. I believe we share similar values in that we should be grateful because all sentient beings are inter-dependent. Our parents have nourished us when we were babies. Our first love, teachers, partners and comrades who battle it out with us when we start our first business. Our first customers. Everyone contributed to our success today.
There are many great people in Singapore. Dr Goh Keng Swee for example was instrumental in the founding of MAS, turning Jurong into a modern industrial estate, and more but not many Singaporean knew about him.
Each and every sentient beings including our first customers contribute to our success today. The Singapore of today is the hard work of many people including the unnamed and forgotten. As business owners, the most important thing is to listen to our stakeholders (customers, employees, partners) and empathize with them without first giving judgement. This is because a business exist to create value for society. As entrepreneurs we create changes and take responsibility for all our actions. Can we blame our customers for running over to the store next door and blame them for not being grateful? No. We ask ourselves, have we become complacent? Is there something that we have not done as well? Are we taking more than we give? Are we too high up that we have forgotten how it felt to be in pain at the bottom?
As business owners, we know all employees are paid to deliver value. Can underpaid employees deliver less? No, they have to deliver because this is about ethics. If the customers run away, as business leader we have to take full responsibility.
Would you blame your spouse or parent for being ungrateful when they complain about you? No because the day your spouse or parent stop complaining is also the day they give up on you. In fact we change for them because we love and respect them more than our ego.
We both empathize for society and want to contribute because we know we will leave this world one day empty handed. That is why we want to make this fragile life as meaningful as possible. True meaning can be found through relationship. Can one of us truly be happy if another person is suffering? Imagine your love one.
Can a teacher be considered successful if only 10% of his class pass? A society is measured by how it treats its weakest members just as the greatness of a nation and moral progress are judged by the way its animals are treated. Income inequality is going to upset the world because we each has only one mouth. We are all interdependent. During the Great Depression income inequality is at its highest. The rest are history and history often repeats itself.
Lastly, back in 1965, when we made that decision, what was it based on? Trust, faith and hope for a better life for our love ones. When you first propose to your girlfriend, what was it based on? Do our love one need to prove any thing? Have we? Are they ungrateful at that moment of choosing change if we disappoint them? Change and impermanent is part and parcel of life. Everything that has a beginning has an end.
Thus the day, Singaporean stop complaining is also the day, we have become selfish or have given up on trying to make Singapore a better place. Do we want robots without free will? You might ask am I doing something for the community like you. Yes, with my best, within my limited resource and I TRUST everyone of us are doing our best.
I wish you health, bliss and happiness.