Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Remember the clear light, the pure clear white light from which everything in the universe comes, to which everything in the universe returns; the original nature of your own mind. The natural state of the universe unmanifest. Let go into the clear light, trust it, merge with it. It is your own true nature, it is home.
No matter where or how far you wander, the light is only a split second, a half-breath away, it is never too late to recognize the clear light.
The Tibetan Book of the Dead
Namasté is the first in a series of trance events in Hong Kong which seeks to promote trance music to international standards. Namasté or Namaskar (?????? in Hindi, from Sanskrit namah te ) is a South Asian greeting originating in India, which is used when both hello and goodbye would be used in English. This also recognizes the equality of all, and pays honor to the sacredness and interconnection of all, as well as to the source of that interconnection.
Born in Singapore in 1976, Nicolas Tang discovered trance music in the UK in 1997. Upon his return to Singapore in 2000, he discovered it did not have much of a trance scene. His interest in trance led him to set up Trance Republic ( http://www.trancerepublic.sg) with fellow DJs Jas K and Brandon Wong. Since then, he has played at various Singapore clubs including Phuture, Milkbar, Fuse, Liquid Room and Velvet Underground and is known by his fans for spinning uplifting and vocal trance anthems.
Through the organisation of trance events and by working closely with superclubs towards promoting trance, Trance Republic gradually elevated the trance scene in Singapore to what it is today. This summer, Trance Republic released REPUBLIKA II, its second compilation featuring music from Armin van Buuren, Gabriel & Dresden, Andy Moor, Above & Beyond and more.
Nicolas emigrated to Hong Kong in 2006 and plans to contribute to the scene here with the launch of regular trance events. “After checking out clubs in Hong Kong, I realised that there is still room for trance music,” says Nicolas. “I would like to see Hong Kong’s trance scene improve and I believe that this city has great potential”.
Bliss admission on 2 September for non-members (incl 2 drinks): HK$100
A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him.
He is not an interruption of our work. He is the purpose of it.
He is not an outsider to our business. He is part of it.
We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to do so.
Everyone knows about Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew or MM as Singaporeans fondly call him. An icon of Singapore, there is a lot of literature about MM’s life, ?his magnificent achievements and his views. Frankly, there is little about MM that we do not know or which can still be written about. This interview focuses on MM – the lawyer, his values and principles, his frank views about the legal profession, leadership, and communication. Of course, no story about MM is complete without mention of his two favourite topics – Singapore and China.
‘I do what is right and I do it to the best of my capability. If that is inadequate, that’s all I can do,’ says MM of his guiding principle. What is right, to him, is based on integrity and realism.
In the 1950s, MM had been unsure of Singapore’s future. ‘I did not know how the world economy will perform or the dominance of technology then. My colleagues and I did the best we could under the circumstances then.’
When asked whether he liked the state of Singapore today, he replied that ‘like’ was a difficult and inadequate word to describe modern Singapore. ‘We have become a valuable red dot. We are highly organised, at our optimum and well connected. Our forte came from adopting the English language.’
A keen spectator of international developments, MM gave insights on the new super power in Asia – China. When he visited Shanghai in 1976, it was dark, overcrowded and full of pre-world and dilapidated buildings. MM predicts that Shanghai, with a growing population of about 1,300 million, will take over Hong Kong and become ‘the major centre of the Far East’ in the future. Before that, they need to go through the transition of mastering the English language and developing the rule of law, he says.
MM has always been very interested in the growth and workings of China. A friend of China, it is not surprising that the world leader who has left the greatest impact on him is the late Chinese communist party chairman, Deng Xiaopeng. ‘He is an outstanding leader. He has a decisive quality and a sense of realism. He goes to the heart of the matter. When we meet, he would speak in Szechuan Mandarin and I would communicate in English. He is the man who saved China. His visit to third world countries Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore must have made him realise that China was on the wrong track. In December 1978, he opened up China.’
According to MM, Singapore will serve as the platform for Shanghainese businesses to operate and go regional. He acknowledges that the Singaporean Chinese are very different from the mainland Chinese. ‘Although we may speak the same language, we are very different from the mainland Chinese. Our beliefs and value systems are different. Our culture is different and will continue to be. Nothing is static.’
Singaporeans have to brace themselves for change, he cautioned. ‘We must never forget that we are living in a fast changing world. We have to continuously keep changing. That’s the only way to remain relevant. The strategy for Singapore’s continuous successful future is to move ahead and pre-position ourselves. Think beyond tomorrow,’ he reiterated.
Emphasising the importance of intellectual quotient (‘IQ’), MM acknowledges that the current method of selecting Singaporeans, be it into the Public Service Commission or into the NUS law faculty, is not perfect. ‘Certificates, character references, psychometric tests and National Service records are useful aids but insufficient to pick the best man or woman.’
Do leaders need emotional intelligence? ‘A person with high IQ but no EQ is at a great disadvantage. EQ is essential.’ He illustrates this by referring to the Japanese. ‘Their body language and physical movements help them to communicate beyond words with the other person. Our judges in the courts, for example, may not be able to make good judgments if they do not feel for the people who appear before them.’
Good communication and connecting with people are qualities important to MM. To him, a good leader is a person who is able to connect with others. ‘When this happens, the people believe, have confidence in him and follow. He must lead by example and not by force.’
With many lawyers who are Members of Parliament (‘MP’s), can one naturally conclude that they make better politicians? MM disagrees. ‘It is true that lawyers, the litigation ones, communicate effectively in English. However, this does not make them better politicians.’ He explains that after the General Elections held in 2001, five new MPs, of which three were doctors, became Ministers. It was the doctor who was the better communicator, pointed out MM. A good politician has to speak the people’s language, connect with them and then communicate it in Parliament.
He traces the beginnings of politicians being lawyers to the old English political system. British MPs were poorly paid and needed a profession to supplement their incomes. They turned to law.
About 47 years have passed since MM practised law. His mother told him that he must have a profession, unlike his father who was a rich man’s son and a storekeeper. MM had three choices then – law, medicine or dentistry. All three would have helped him to be self-employed and not work for the British. He ?chose law.
In 1946, he boarded the Britannic for England. He spent the first year of his legal education in the London School of Economics. Not liking the life in hectic London, he moved to the Cambridge town and finished his legal education in its renowned university. In law school, he preferred the practical subjects of contract and property to Roman law or English legal system. His Cambridge education was not just about learning the law. It shaped his life as a future politician.
Back in Singapore, he practised litigation in the areas of contract, criminal and arbitration in Laycock & Ong. He was called to the Malayan bar and practised law in the then Malayan states as well. He did not enjoy his nine years of law practice. ‘I was selling my skills for a living. Whether my client was in the right or wrong did not matter. I did not think highly of the adversarial system.’
‘If I had remained a lawyer, it would have been a meaningless existence. I have been a participant and as Prime Minister, ?I studied the system. I found it an unfulfilling profession,’ he stated vehemently.
One of the stakeholders of the early legal system was the jury. During the Select Committee hearing for the abolition of the jury, MM questioned famous criminal lawyer David Marshall on how many of his clients in more than 100 of his murder cases were convicted. ‘He said only one. I then asked him whether any of his clients were guilty. He said that this had never occurred to him and that it was not for him to decide.’
MM, who was then Singapore’s Prime Minister, felt that his role was to ensure that the legal system brought justice, which should not be circumvented by skilful advocacy. Jury trial was abolished in Singapore in 1970.
When asked about his views on the legal profession as it stands today, he replied that the legal profession has come a long way since the 1960s. The NUS law faculty has developed to the extent that the top three to five per cent of its graduates are equal to their international counterparts.
MM appreciates the reasons why it is difficult for the Singapore legal profession to retain its lawyers. ‘Young lawyers often do not realise the competitive nature of the profession they are entering. This is not a problem peculiar to Singapore.’ On litigation lawyers, he commented that ‘litigation lawyers are a special group of lawyers. They are prepared to work very hard, do the getting up and articulate their points well in court. If you do not enjoy this, find it tiresome, then don’t do litigation. Be a solicitor or a company secretary,’ he advised.
‘Small law firms will always be there.’ Why? ‘There will always be those who do not prefer to work in larger firms.’ He felt that clients’ monies must always be safeguarded. ‘The Law Society has to implement the safeguards such as having two signatories, another person or the client.’
In his political career, MM acknowledges that his legal education helped him to understand the constitutional process and the legislative system. MM, his wife, and Eddie Barker were responsible for drafting the Singapore Constitution.
MM Lee’s foray into politics and his highly impressive political career are evidenced by the status enjoyed by Singapore in its short history of 41 years. The son that the legal profession lost was the gain for Singapore politics. His secondary school teacher’s prediction – ‘He is likely to attain a high position in life’ – has come true indeed.
Rajan Chettiar & Co
9 August 2006
(c) 2006 Singapore Press Holdings Limited
THE idea of selling his skills, and doing a job where it did not matter if a client was in the right or wrong, did not appeal to Mr Lee Kuan Yew as a young lawyer here. Recalling those times in the 1950s in an interview with the Singapore Law Gazette, Minister Mentor Lee also said he did not think highly of the adversarial system. But as the Law Society’s monthly publication noted in its latest edition: ‘The son that the legal profession lost was the gain for Singapore politics.’ Mr Lee said if he had remained a lawyer, ‘it would have been a meaningless existence. I have been a participant and as prime minister, I studied the system. I found it an unfulfilling profession’. He felt that his role when he was prime minister, was to ensure the legal system brought justice and that it should not be circumvented by skilful advocacy. One aspect of Singapore’s early legal system, trial by jury, was abolished in 1970 after Parliamentary Select Committee hearings. Mr Lee went into practice after returning from London and became, among other things, a legal adviser to several trade unions. He helped found the People’s Action Party in 1954, becoming its secretary-general and Singapore’s first prime minister in May 1959. In the interview at the Istana recently, Mr Lee was asked about the legal profession today. He said it has come a long way since the 1960s. The National University of Singapore’s law faculty has developed to an extent where its top 3 to 5 per cent of graduates are equal to their international counterparts. Mr Lee could also understand why it is difficult for the profession to retain lawyers, saying young lawyers do not realise its competitive nature. Without reference to any case, he also said clients’ monies must always be safeguarded. The Law Society has to implement safeguards ‘such as having two signatories, another person or the client’. But Mr Lee disagreed when asked if lawyers made better politicians. Although ‘it is true that lawyers, the litigation ones, communicate effectively in English’, this does not make them better politicians. He noted that after the 2001 General Election, five new MPs, of whom three were doctors, became ministers. Mr Lee did not name them, but the three doctors were Dr Ng Eng Hen, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and Dr Balaji Sadasivan. It was the doctor who was the better communicator, he said, again without citing anyone in particular. Good communication and connecting with people are important qualities, and for him, a good leader is someone able to connect with others: ‘When this happens, the people believe, have confidence in him and follow. He must lead by example and not by force.’ Emotional intelligence is also as essential as intellectual quotient. ‘A person with a high IQ but no EQ is at a disadvantage,’ he said, citing the example of the Japanese. ‘Their body language and physical movements help them to communicate beyond words with the other person. ‘Our judges in the courts, for example, may not be able to make good judgments if they do not feel for the people who appear before them.’ As for whether he likes the state that Singapore is in today, he said modern Singapore had become a ‘valuable red dot’. ‘The strategy for Singapore’s continuous successful future is to move ahead and pre-position ourselves,’ he said. ‘Think beyond tomorrow.’
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Like the little stream
Making its way
Through the mossy crevices
I, too, quietly
Turn clear and transparent.
The birds have vanished into the sky,
and now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.
I need to put up with two or three caterpillars
if I want to get to know the butterflies.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
If you let go of a little you have a little peace. If you let go of a lot you have a lot of peace. And if you let go completely, then you have complete peace.