speech by Guest-of-Honour

Mr Lim Yian Poh (林仰波先生)

Director of companies

Good evening everyone,

I am very honoured to be invited here tonight by Pin Lay to attend this very meaningful event. Tonight, we celebrate diversity, and it is fitting that we do so on the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence, as our country is comprised of people from very varied backgrounds. I myself was not born in Singapore, but in China, and came to Singapore when I was 9 years old and was naturalized as a citizen in 1958.

I first knew Pin Lay when she was working at Nanyang Girls’ High School through my education company. She was hired as a specialist for the various IT systems that schools were implementing, and I collaborated with her to arrange for her students to have a tour of Silicon Valley. Now why would a banker go into education? The same reason that an IT person goes into art: Passion. When Pin Lay first told me that she was learning art and calligraphy, it seemed more like her picking up a hobby, something to pass the time. But over the years, I have seen her works grow from something that a person does in their spare time to something that has become her driving force, that has become a major part of her life. Today, her art is the medium by which she reaches out to people, not just to those who share her love of art, painting and calligraphy, but to those less fortunate people who need assistance. Through her art, and the financial aid that she has raised through her works, she has touched the lives of so many people around the world, and I know that she feels their gratitude every day.

I myself am an avid fan of Chinese paintings, and have collected a number of works from various artists over the years. Pin Lay’s works are closing in on the various masters’ achievements, but where she has equalled, and perhaps even surpassed them, is in her compassion. Aside from the various members of our community on whose hard work, blood, sweat and tears that our country is built upon, it has also been built upon people like Pin Lay, who have helped to lift those who have fallen. It is said that when a person looks at a painting, they are not just seeing swirls of colors and shapes and patterns, but the emotions that the artist was feeling during the painting process. I hope that the next generation of Singaporeans who gaze upon her works will get a glimpse of her soul and understand what she is trying to achieve, and will help to further her mission of helping others. If I had one wish on Singapore’s 50th birthday, it is that we will continue to grow as a nation of community-minded people, who while working towards the greater prosperity of Singapore, do not forget our place as citizens of the world as well.

Now Pin Lay has gone one step further to have friends who share the same interest to come together for this evening’s event. I hope that everyone present tonight will buy the paintings which would go a long way in helping the Nepalese disaster victims.

Thank you.