Sunday, August 05, 2007

An Interview with Lee Kuan Yew

"The world decides our fate, we don't have much of a choice... The first thing that the Singaporeans learned was that if Singapore didn't' change, it would be dealt a brutal blow... Taiwan must change too. If Taiwan doesn't change and face Chinese competition, it will lose this race. "

"If I were a Taiwanese, I would like to invest in China, but not only in China... Taiwan cannot be passive. You have to accept the rise of China... They are quick learners. They are smart. But we are not stupid, because we recognize it. If we do not recognize it, we are stupid... We understand ourselves and our counterparts, then we progress ".

Learn Lifelong, Learn Two Languages

Second, you have to accept the fact that everything you learn will be outdated in 5 to 10 years. You have to keep on learning. As you move into a specific area, you have to develop your skill in that area. But remember, technology may suddenly change, and you may have to change your course. And again, you must re-learn.

In today's world, you must know at least two languages. For Singaporeans, I will advise them to learn English and Chinese. For Taiwanese, I will say learning Chinese and English. I advise Singaporean to cut out the dialect, because otherwise they will confuse themselves. The human brain is made for one language. Very few societies speak two languages. When people speak more than one language, they never speak them well.

I had been to Luxemburg where people speak French, German, Luxembourgian and English -- 4 languages. I read the newspapers there, which were all very poor. I went to Mauritius, which once was governed by the French and then governed by British, so they taught French and English. After it became independent, they taught Chinese to learn Chinese, India to learn Hindi, and they also have a local dialect at the same time. It is so confusing.

My advice: one language, you must do well. The second language, you must try to be competent. And then you can connect to the world.

Character is a must. If you do not have a sense of right and wrong, if you have no sense of honor, you are not trustworthy and you will never achieve anything no matter how good you are. You must be a trustworthy person, then people can work with you.

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Source: Mispricing

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