Sessions with S'pore pioneers 'an eye-opener'

ST readers look forward to seventh and final forum after previous enriching experiences

Some readers of The Straits Times have had eye-opening, enriching and enlightening experiences as Singapore pioneers shared engaging insider knowledge at a series of dialogues which started last year.

ST reader Richard Sng, 68, is now looking forward to the next one on Jan 20, which will be anchored by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Mr Sng, a vocal and verbal image consultant and trainer, has been to all six dialogues with Singapore's first- and second-generation leaders in the EDB Society's Pioneering The Future series, which it runs jointly with ST.

"The forums have been very enriching and enlightening. Much of what the speakers shared was new and refreshing... and the chosen topics, provocative and enticing," said Mr Sng, who is a regular at ST's monthly non-fiction book club The Big Read Meet.

At the seventh, and final, forum on Jan 20 at the Arts House, PM Lee will be honoured with the society's Distinguished Fellow of the EDB Society award.

As always, ST's editor-at-large Han Fook Kwang will moderate the session, which is expected to draw 350 people, including 50 ST readers.

Mr Lee's predecessor Goh Chok Tong headlined the first forum in this series on Nov 26, 2015, after which legendary civil servants J.Y. Pillay and Liu Thai Ker spoke on shaping Singapore; and labour movement pioneers Lim Chong Yah and Stephen Lee joined Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say in charting tripartism here.

Then Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh and former chief of defence force Winston Choo mused on Singapore's hard and soft power; and corporate chieftains Peter Seah and Koh Boon Hwee talked about taking more Singapore businesses global with Economic Development Board chairman Beh Swan Gin.

At the most recent forum on Dec 7 in honour of the late former president S R Nathan, four of his former colleagues discussed his legacy. They were former minister S. Dhanabalan, academic Cham Tao Soon, Ambassador-at-Large Ong Keng Yong and ST's former editor-in-chief Peter Lim. Their discussion on Mr Nathan's legacy resonated strongly with many at the forum. Among them was corporate manager N. Shobana, who said: "The detailed and rare recollections from some of his many friends were eye-openers, packed with insights on all the tough decisions he made for building our nation."

Businessman Lim Juay Khiang, 56, has been to four of the six forums to date. He said: "I would encourage more people to attend these forums because it is not every day that we have the chance to meet these people, so it is a good opportunity to learn from them - and also listen to how difficult it was for our pioneers to bring about the Singapore of today."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2017, with the headline 'Sessions with S'pore pioneers 'an eye-opener''. Print Edition | Subscribe