Invaluable lessons from a visionary

Invaluable lessons from a visionary
Mr Tang I-Fang was a veteran public servant and businessman.

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's remarks about the late veteran public servant and businessman Tang I-Fang are truly fitting ("Tang I-Fang a man ahead of his time: PM"; last Saturday).

Long before anyone could imagine that Jurong would become the buzzing commercial centre that it is today, Mr Tang already had plans to build a regional centre there.

As it turned out, Singapore was hit by a severe recession and the plans were shelved.

Besides being a visionary, Mr Tang was a boss who never lost his temper despite the challenges he faced. He was the ultimate gentleman.

As a fresh graduate and junior civil servant, I was once summoned to Mr Tang's office over a business report I wrote.

I was terrified because I was new to the workforce and lacked experience in writing detailed reports.

When I arrived at Mr Tang's office, I was astounded by the warmth of his greeting. He looked me in the eye, shook my hands, smiled warmly at me and poured a cup of his favourite brew - hot jasmine tea - for me. Then he gave me a short and impactful lesson on effective business writing.

This happened some 30 years ago but his words have stayed with me, and I have repeated them many times as I trained my staff and, later, students on how to write good business reports.

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