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Personal Effectiveness

Are You Hungry Enough?

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reflected at one National Day Rally Speech that “Singaporeans are not as hungry as the Vietnamese”. He is probably right that our people today are less hungry, less disciplined, less hardworking as their predecessors i.e. immigrants who came to S’pore 50 to 60 years ago & turned S’pore from a 3rd World to a 1st World Country in a short span of 50 years through sheer grit, discipline & hard work.


Those who have interacted with the Chinese from mainland China will tell you the same story. E.g. there’re plenty of stories of China students coming to Singapore schools at secondary 3, not knowing English at all, & then beating all our local students (who have received a headstart of 8 to 10 years of education in English, not counting pre-school education) & scoring A1 for GCE ‘O’ Level English. Interviews with these China students showed that they’re extremely hungry for success & that they literally studied grammar & memorised the whole dictionary to improve their vocabulary.


When I hosted dinner for 2PS of Ministry of Sports & Tourism, Thailand 2yrs ago at Singapore Recreation Club (S’pore), he commented while looking at our padang, that Singapore has very
good facilities such as soccer fields, badminton courts all over the island, including our schools. I told him & I think he knows this, that “Facilities don’t make champions — It is the Hunger, Determination, Discipline, Hard Work, Blood, Sweat & Toil that builds Champions”.


Many schools in Thailand including their Sports Schools cannot compare to Singapore schools in terms of modern sporting facilities but Thailand has time and again demonstrated that they could be a power house for sports in South East Asia and Commonwealth, even without the best of facilities.


Some important questions to ask ourselves to guide us in our desire to achieve “success”:

i) How Hungry am I?

ii) What’s my Hunger Index?


In short, the stronger one’s desire for success is & the hungrier one is for success, the more likely one will achieve success?


I would like to end this article on “Are You Hungry Enough?” with the following story:


“Once a young man approached Socrates and asked him how one could achieve success. Socrates took the young man to the middle of the sea and when the water level was up to the level of the man’s shoulder, Socrates grabbed the man’s head and pushed it into the water. The man struggled to be free but failed because Socrates was a stronger man. After a while, the man’s face turned pale/ Socrates then lightened his hold on the man’s head and the man came out of the water, gasping for air. Socrates said to the young man, “When you wanted something desperately as you wanted air a moment ago, you would naturally achieve success”.

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