29 December 2009
For Professionals

Double feast at Business China 2nd anniversary dinner with sharing from the patron Minister Mentor Lee

Business China 2nd Anniversary dinner was not just about wines and dines; there was also a feast of knowledge by its patron, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew sharing its insights about China. The dinner was held on 29 December 2009 with a dialogue session with Minister Mentor Lee as the highlight.

At the Tuesday evening, more than 100 guests had the privilege to get first-hand account from the Guest-of-Honour about the developments of China-Singapore relationship and advice on how to work successfully in China.

The session started with MM Lee having an in-conversation with the moderator Mr Robin Hu, before a Q & A with the audiences. Mr Robin Hu, Senior Executive Vice-President of Chinese Newspapers and Newspaper Service for SPH, is also a member of Business China.

When commenting on some of the bumpiness between the two countries over the years, Mr Lee stressed even as a “little red dot”, Singapore is determined not to become a satellite of any nation.

“We are connected to the world, we play a special role, and we are not going to be in anybody’s pocket.”

During the Q & A, a student member, Ms Lin Weiqi asked in Mandarin, what else besides bilingualism and biculturalism does the young need in order to gain a footing in China.

Before switching to reply in Mandarin, Minister Mentor Lee said lightheartedly to ask the audience to bear with him, “If my command of English was an A, my command of Chinese would score a C or D.”

Mr Lee then told the audiences, Singaporeans must offer more in order to work in China, bringing skills the Chinese do not have, such as the knowledge of and intimate links with South-east Asia, the global network and the strong command of English.

“You must value add, if you are the same as them, why would they want you.”

Many guests have gained much from MM Lee’s insights and words of wisdom through the 50 minute dialogue session, a highlight of the anniversary dinner.

The dinner held at The Pyramid was also graced by Business China advisors, Minister Lim Swee Say and Minister Khaw Boon Wan, directors of Business China directors including Minister Gan Kim Yong and Parliamentary Secretary Mr Sam Tan.

Other distinguished guests included China's ambassador to Singapore Zhang Xiaokang and donors, members and friends of Business China.

At the welcome address, Chairman of Business China Mr Chua Thian Poh highlighted the four-fold increase in membership since Nov 2008.

Mr Chua said, “Moving forward, Business China will put more focus on recruiting more tertiary students, young executives and professionals.” He also announced various new programmes for 2010, under the three key initiatives of Business China: Apex, FutureChina and Go East.

One of them is the C-Quotient Campus Series, which is under the Go East initiative. C-Quotient, which essentially means “China-Quotient”, refers to the knowledge of China one possesses. It aims to impart practical knowledge of contemporary China to tertiary students and also to motivate them to keep pace with the developing relationship between China and the world.

Another programme that he highlighted was the Young Leaders Programme, which comes under the FutureChina initiative. In collaboration with IE Singapore, this programme offers attachment opportunities at the China operations of Singapore-based companies. This programme aims to grow a crop of young enthusiastic Singaporeans who are well-prepared for challenging careers in the dynamic China market. Through the Young Leaders Programme, they gain valuable work, live and play experience in China.