Join former civil servant Lim Siong Guan at The Straits Times' Big Read Meet on March 28

Senior writer Cheong Suk-Wai (right, in black) moderating The Straits Times’ second Big Read Meet at the National Library Board headquarters on Nov 27, 2013. The StraitsTimes' first non-fiction book club, The Big Read Meet, will be back with a
Senior writer Cheong Suk-Wai (right, in black) moderating The Straits Times’ second Big Read Meet at the National Library Board headquarters on Nov 27, 2013. The StraitsTimes' first non-fiction book club, The Big Read Meet, will be back with a difference on March 28 at the Central Public Library in Victoria Street. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

THE STRAITS TIMES' first non-fiction book club, The Big Read Meet, will be back with a difference on March 28 at the Central Public Library in Victoria Street.

The meet, which the newspaper launched in July 2013 with the support of the National Library Board, is pegged to senior writer Cheong Suk-Wai's fortnightly reviews of books on ideas titled The Big Read.

Next Friday will be the first time that the club hosts its first author, Mr Lim Siong Guan, the group president of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation.

Mr Lim will give a talk on his first book, The Leader, The Teacher & You: Leadership Through A Third Generation, which he launched here on January 9. In it, he imparts the principles, values and challenges of Singapore's pioneering leaders, as they shaped the city-state into one of the world's most admired countries.

But might that success last a third generation? That is the gauntlet that Mr Lim is throwing down to Generation Y with this book. "Change in good times so that you change in good time," stresses this illustrious son of a taxi driver and housewife.

Mr Lim, 66, was also Singapore's Civil Service Chief between 1999 and 2006, and he has drawn on his experience in that time to write his book on uncommon leadership, as well as his total of 37 years as a civil servant, including as the first principal private secretary to Singapore's first post-Independence prime minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, from 1978 to 1981.

His daughter and co-author Joanne Lim, who manages her own public relations consultancy, The Right Perspective, will join him right after his talk to chat with the audience on what it was like to write and design the book for today's impatient readers.

Ms Cheong, the club's main moderator, will moderate the chat.

To date, about 100 readers have taken part in The Big Read Meet, enjoying fun, lively and enlightening discussions on the books Lean In by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, and David & Goliath, in which popular author Malcolm Gladwell focuses on why underdogs are so often successful.

The participants include teachers, civil servants, professionals in MNCs as well as retirees. Among them is Ms Thanh Tu Nguyen, a Singapore permanent resident from Vietnam who is a human resources officer in an MNC here. She says of the club: "I really enjoy listening to the different viewpoints and sharings of those at The Big Read Meet. These lively discussions is another bonus besides the big bonus of The Big Read book column."

A new fan of the club is entrepreneur Regan Rahardja, who is also a student at Claremont McKenna College in the United States. He says: "I'm taking away so many ideas from the discussions, and have learnt a lot from the experiences shared by fellow participants. Count me in for all Big Read Meets from now on."

By popular demand, from April, the club will meet once a month, compared to its quarterly sessions in the past.

suk@sph.com.sg

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