"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I have heard of the following simple but yet meaningful story many many years ago. I can't even remember who actually told me the story, but it has always remained intact in my head.

"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed.

Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows that it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve.

It doesn't matter whether you're a lion or a gazelle when the sun comes up, you'd better be running."

This is obviously the law of the jungle!

Looking at the essence of the story, it's analogous to the story about "the competition does not sleep &/or does not wait for you", often told to participants in the 'Money & You' seminars. [I had attended one in Adelaide, Australia, during the early nineties.]

In fact, I recall from a Straits Times' report, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, while speaking at the convocation ceremony of the NTU in February 1995, had shared the following strategic insight with fresh university graduates at that time:

"Singaporeans must run even faster, to stay ahead of the competition coming from neighbouring countries & emerging economies. It is a marathon & we have to run fast & run without end."

Putting all the foregoing perspectives in today's global context, I like to share the following interesting survey findings, which I have come across while surfing the net:

- China produces about 5 to 6 million university graduates annually (Singapore: about 15,000 annually);

- China produces more than a million graduates suitable for employment in world-class service companies;

- More than 350,000 Chinese students are studying in overseas universities;

- China produces about 20 million English speaking students annually;

- 6,000 Indian institutions of higher learning produce 2.5 million graduates annually;

Can you now connect all the dots together?

I can really appreciate that our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has captured the criticality very well almost 15 years ago, & has also not been proven wrong in his strategic foresight. Now, I can also truly understand what actually keeps our Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew awake at night.

I can agree that speed matters, but agility, flexibility, & adaptability to change count too. Don't forget, the Chinese are fast learners, too!

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