'Heart to heart with Asian leaders' book launched

Book authors, Alvin Foo (third from left) and John Ng (3rd from right) and some of the book contributors (from left) Lim Hua Min, Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee, Jocelyn Chng, Edward Ong and James Chia at the book launch of Heart to Heart with Asian
Book authors, Alvin Foo (third from left) and John Ng (3rd from right) and some of the book contributors (from left) Lim Hua Min, Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee, Jocelyn Chng, Edward Ong and James Chia at the book launch of Heart to Heart with Asian Leaders at The National Library on Aug 21, 2015. ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

Ms Jocelyn Chng took over her family's soya sauce business at the tender age of just 21, after her father died.

A university student at the time, and a woman, her entry into the business world was challenging, to say the least.

But her darkest period came around 2004, when both her grandmother and her husband died in the same year.

"Some people go into depression after a loved one dies," said the eldest of six children.

"But I believe in turning crisis into positive energy - this isn't the end, and is, in fact, a turning point to make me a better person."

Ms Chng, now 48, is the CEO of international food company JR Group, and has won awards, such as the 2003 Montblanc Businesswoman of the year.

Her inspiring story is recounted, alongside 27 others, in the book "Heart to Heart with Asian Leaders", launched yesterday at the National Library Board.

Printed by World Scientific Publishing, the book reveals the life lessons of Asian leaders across business, finance, politics and academia, as they recover from, and overcome, various crises.

Mr John Ng, its co-author, admitted that this was one of the most difficult books he had written, not least because he had to approach a whole range of leaders.

"Many of them were very reluctant to be interviewed," he added.

"When I wrote to all of them, the first thing they said was, 'Why me?' They were so humble."

The book took four years to write and includes famous names, such as Mr Stephen Riady, president of the Lippo Group and executive chairman of OUE, and former Senior Minister of State (Law and Home Affairs), Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Ho, 61, said he was glad that this volume contributed to the "evergreen topic" of leadership.

He said: "Whatever point you're at on the path of leadership, I hope reading this book will make you become a better leader. Because there is nothing more powerful than personal testimony."

The book will be sold at all major bookstores island-wide, and will cost $28 for the paperback, and $68 for the hardcover versions.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2015, with the headline ''Heart to heart with Asian leaders' book launched'. Print Edition | Subscribe