Sport Singapore CEO BG Lim is the grandson of war hero, MG Lim Bo Seng

Last Friday (6 Dec), Sport Singapore CEO Lim Teck Yin apologised to the public in a letter to ST Forum for the massive traffic jams built-up in the city area during the marathon race on 30 Nov (‘Sport Singapore CEO BG Lim “apologises” for massive traffic jams in last Sat’s marathon run‘). The marathon was held in the evening for the first time in Singapore creating great inconveniences to members of the public.

Vivian Kang wrote to ST Forum (‘StanChart marathon road closures could have been better handled‘) talking about the massive jams, “The impact of the road closures was hard to miss as the roads were closed during the peak hours of the day from 2pm to night time. There were massive jams over eight hours in the Telok Blangah and Lavender areas as a result of a large volume of traffic being redirected.”

And added, “While the number of race participants was said to be around 50,000, I am sure far more people were impacted by the jams.”

Goh Hui Ling described the traffic jam caused by the marathon as a “nightmarish jam that inconvenienced thousands of Singaporeans” (‘When ‘can do better’ is not good enough‘). She accused the organisers of being “lack of empathy after having disrupted the lives of others in the quest for global fame”.

Even a runner wrote in to ask the organisers to rethink their planning for future runs. Kenneth Kwok Fook Kay wrote (‘Some lessons from first StanChart evening marathon‘), “Consider holding the main marathon event on a Sunday evening instead, as Saturdays are generally busier. As a runner, I applaud the organisers for a well-organised, world-class, first evening SCSM.”

“But for the SCSM to go on and succeed as a marathon major, it needs the support of Singaporeans who must embrace it as a showcase for our city,” he added.

Lim’s grandfather is war hero Major-General Lim Bo Seng

The Sport Singapore is a statutory board which comes under Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY). CEO Lim Teck Yin himself is a retired Brigadier-General from the SAF. Lim was a SAF Scholar who holds a Master of Science in Management degree from the London Business School. He was awarded 3 public service medals by the President of Singapore.

In his letter, Lim apologised, “We apologise to those caught off guard and inconvenienced by the traffic impasse. The SCSM will, like the marathons in the six Majors cities and other events in Singapore with extensive road closures, take time for the general public to become familiar with.”

That is to say, he opined that the Singapore marathon like those held in other major cities in the world, would take time for the public to get familiar with the inconveniences it can cause. In other words, future runs organised by Sport Singapore may continue to be like the one held last month, as BG Lim deemed the public will “get used” to the massive jams it causes.

In any case, it turns out that Lim’s grandfather is none other the war hero Lim Bo Seng who died valiantly in WW2.

Lim Bo Seng was a resistance fighter who fought the Japanese during WW2. He was a prominent businessman in Singapore who had the means to escape the war altogether. However, when the war came, he chose to fight against the invading Japanese forces. In 1942, Lim left Singapore and eventually made his way to British India later. He joined the Allied and helped recruit hundreds of agents for military intelligence missions against the Japanese.

Later, Lim Bo Seng set up the Sino-British guerrilla task force, Force 136, with British Captain John Davis of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), with the aim of establishing an espionage network in Malaya and Singapore to gather intelligence about Japanese activities. This was to facilitate the Allied plan to take back Malaya and Singapore. In 1943, he and his group of agents returned back to the Malayan peninsular to carry out their intelligence and guerrilla activities.

Force 136 was eventually betrayed and Lim Bo Seng himself was captured by the Japanese in Perak in 1944. He was interrogated and tortured by the Japanese Kempeitai (Military Police). He died in the Kempeitai’s prison cell in mid-1944. He was posthumously awarded the rank of Major-General by the then Chinese government.

On a government website, the PSD wrote about how BG Lim was inspired by his grandfather and war hero Lim Bo Seng:

Mr Lim’s childhood years were coloured by stories of his grandfather, the war hero Lim Bo Seng, which he heard about and experienced through his father.

The eldest Lim had kept a diary describing the heartbreak of leaving his wife and seven children to join the anti-Japanese movement. “But he also wrote that he could not just sit back and do nothing,” says Mr Lim.

It is clear that his grandfather’s example had left an impression. Mr Lim recalls how his father, who was nine when Lim Bo Seng died, did his best to demonstrate the values shared in the diary in his actions, which in turn inspired Mr Lim. Throughout the interview, he stresses how leaders must abide by their “duty” to do the right thing, even if it is unpopular or painful.

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