Leicester's triumph shows how we can win in life

I couldn't agree more with Mr Henry Choong Kun Lin ("Let us make football underdog fairy tale come true"; Wednesday).

Leicester City being crowned the English Premier League champions is an inspirational story, and it should get Singaporeans thinking about one of the greatest truisms of our very existence - you don't have to be gigantic or rich to succeed.

Like Leicester City, we are a small player in the global marketplace that has proven that size isn't the only thing that matters.

Unfortunately, Singaporeans, as a group, have been conditioned to think that we simply cannot survive without being big or part of something big.

Talk to enough Singaporeans and you'll find they equate living successfully with working for a multinational company or for the Government. Working for a local company or being self-employed is stigmatised.

I remember my parents telling me that I would never gain any respect because I had not worked for a multinational company taking orders from London or New York.

When I think of this sentiment, I think of how the entire Leicester City team must have been told that they would never amount to much unless they had a billionaire owner spending untold amounts of money on talent and facilities.

I'm glad Leicester City have proven this wrong, and I hope Singaporeans can do the same.

We need more self-starters - people who are willing to innovate and compete with the multinationals based in London or New York.

Ironically, I've found that it was the people from elsewhere who were willing to give small self-starters a break.

I have asked my self-employed friends who was the first client who gave them a chance when they were first self-employed. The answer was inevitably someone from somewhere else.

I have not worked for a multinational based out of London or New York. But a multinational Indian IT firm based out of Chennai gave me my first chance.

After completing the job, I was compared to a multinational agency. The belief that I was good enough to deal with big customers stood me in good stead when I was asked to work with the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Singapore.

We may be a small nation, but we have the talent. We need to let that talent believe in itself and let it loose, rather than insist on getting monopolised by huge organisations.

Tang Li

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2016, with the headline 'Leicester's triumph shows how we can win in life'. Print Edition | Subscribe