13 Jan 0
KYY’s 84th Birthday Speech
On 12th January 2017, MBAM President, Mr Foo Chek Lee, MBAM Deputy President, Tan Sri A K Nathan, MBAM Immediate Past President, Datuk Matthew Tee, MBAM Honorary Advisor, Datuk Kwan Foh Kwai, MBAM Secretary-General, Mr Dennis Tan and MBAM Executive Director, Ms Loh Mei Ling visited and have a meeting with MBAM Past Secretary-General, Mr Koon Yew Yin at Ipoh. Due to that Mr Koon Yew Yin expressed his gratitude with MBAM by sharing his birthday speech with us that will benefit all of MBAM members.
“I must thank you for bringing all the top officials of the Master Builders Association Malaysia to visit me yesterday. I am so honoured.
I think my 84th birthday speech as attached will benefit all your members.”, Mr Koon Yew Yin.
Koon Yew Yin, 6th Jan 2017
After having lived through 84 years, I think I have learned quite a lot of things which I would like to share with you tonight:
- Our ultimate aim in life must be happiness. Even if you are poor, you can be happy if you can develop your sense of contentment, always feel satisfied with whatever you have.
- Everyone is born to do some work. Most people work for a living. Even if you born from a rich family, you need to do something to while away your time, otherwise life can be boring. Always do the work which you like even for less money. Working for fun is like a hobby.
- As you go along, you can always learn new things. You are born with 2 ears and 1 mouth. You must always listen more than you talk. You can also learn some something new from opposing opinion.
- Life is not fair, but it is still good. Never give up if you want to achieve your goal in making money to give your children a good education.
- Satisfying your taste bud has always been a great pleasure ever since you were born. But do not over eat or drink. To be healthy, you eat to live and not live to eat. Of course you can over indulge occasionally to be happy.
- No one can win an argument. You can always find reasons to justify your argument. To avoid unhappiness, you don’t have to win every argument. If you continue to argue, you will lose a friend.
- Besides the holy bible, the best book to read is ‘How to win friends and influence people’ by Dale Carnegie. After reading it, you will know how to win friends and influence people to corporate with you to achieve your goal much easier. When in doubt, just take a small step forward.
- Make peace with your past so it won’t mess up the present.
- Don’t compare your life to others because you don’t know what they have gone through.
- Get rid of anything that is not useful so that you are free to move forward.
- At every moment, you are making some decision. As soon as you get up in the morning, you have to decide what dress to wear or what to do next. If you want to be happy you can always find reasons to be happy.
- When you are in great difficulty and you cannot find a solution, remember that time will cure everything. Nothing is permanent, time will change everything.
- You cannot be always right. Be humble to admit your mistake.
- Forgiveness is the key to happiness.
- You must ignore other people’s opinion of you to avoid unhappiness.
- Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what your friends have.
- It is better not to expect anything from your children to avoid disappointment.
- Always believe the best is yet to come. Believe in miracles
- Always be honest and sincere. Treat people with kindness and help them in whatever way you can. If you can help people to gain happiness, you will also gain happiness.
- How I can prolong my life?
I had a hereditary familial hypercholesterolaemia. 3 out of my 8 siblings have the same blood disease. My elder brother died before he reached the age of 50. My younger sister who went with me to London to have the same bypass operation in 1983, died about 10 years after the operation.
Why I am still alive? Here are my secrets:
My wife’s loving care and affection are most important. Physical and mental exercises are important. I walk about 30 minute every evening. I spend about 8 hours on the computer every day exercising my brain to keep me mentally alert.
When I wake up in the morning, I drink 2 glasses of water. I drink more water than I really required. I always eat fruits on an empty stomach and I do not eat anything before lunch. I have an hour nap after lunch. To reduce stress, I always try to be happy by ignoring other people’s opinion.
- How I create more and more charity workers?
I will feel happy if I can make someone happy. I have given more than 300 scholarships to help needy students to complete their tertiary education. All my scholarship recipients are not required to work for me or return the money I spent on them. But they must remember that when they were poor I helped them and when they have more money than they require, they must help other poor people. By this way, there will be more and more charity workers.
- Always remember that you cannot take with you any of your collections, antiques, houses, money when you die. You are just spending your children’s inheritance. I have written in my will that my executers will use all my remaining wealth to help poor students.
A famous British Philosopher, Lord Breton Russell, Nobel Prize winner for literature wrote the book “The Conquest of Happiness” in which he described what makes a man unhappy and what makes a man happy. The following is a brief summary of his secrets of happiness:
Bertrand Russell’s 14 steps
First you must know how to conquer unhappiness.
- Don’t be taken in by melancholy
Melancholy is only a passing mood; don’t mistake it for wisdom. Prolonged sadness can lead to mental depression, a sickness associated with suicidal tendency. You must believe that you can change your mood simply by doing something different – play a game or talk to a good friend for diversion.
- Don’t get caught in the competitive treadmill
Life is always a struggle. You compete in school, in university and at work … always wanting to do better and making more money. You really do not need so much to be happy. You must know when to stop chasing material possessions and learn to be contented. You cannot be happy if you are still greedy for more and more.
Feeling happy is the only true success. Don’t work so hard until you forget how to be happy.
- Develop the right attitude to boredom and excitement
Everyone has a natural fear of boredom. That is why one always has the urge to find things to do. Very few people can just sit down, do nothing and simply enjoy peace and tranquility (but give it a try!). Do not fear a little boredom for a certain amount of boredom in life is to be expected.
The opposite of boredom is excitement but be careful in seeking it. Incidentally, there is a recent news report from Australia that the easy availability of Viagra and other stimulants has raised the level of sexual activity amongst senior citizens (that is, those over 75) to exceptional levels of excitement. Just imagine that. Excitement is best sought in small doses and in the right places.
- Make your worries concrete, don’t suppress them
Get a sense of perspective. Ask yourself “what is the worst thing that can possibly happen?” For example if your doctor tells you that your disease is incurable, you must realise that worry will not make you better. The best you can do is to find enjoyment every day for whatever life you have left.
On the other hand though, when you have a difficult problem, do not suppress it because it will not go away by itself. Face it, grapple with it and try to find a way to resolve it. Do what you can and believe that it will be alright when the time comes. Remember! Prolonged worrying can cause mental depression.
- Don’t envy, admire!
Since I have already touched on envy and jealousy at the start of my talk, I only wish to add this: Enjoy what you have for its own sake. Don’t compare yourself with others who are more successful than you.
When you are sad, compare yourself with people who are in a worse situation.
- Fight back against guilt and shame
When you are young, you are easily influenced by your religious teachers and your parents. As a result, your conscience is formed. Many things you like to do but are considered sinful will make you unhappy as your conscience pricks you. Unless you are able to change your mindset, you will be unhappy.
According to Bertrand Russell, consensual sex between two adults can be very thrilling and the partners should not be made to feel ashamed or guilty. Russell expounded this concept almost a century ago. Today a majority of the people – at least in this auditorium – are prepared to accept the idea. A minority though would think that Russell was encouraging divorce as he was an atheist.
Statistics show that more than 50% of people in Europe and the US are divorced. Frequently many marriages that are unhappy do not end in divorce only because of the constraining factors of religion, children, guilt and shame. So to be happy, you need to understand and appreciate Russell’s philosophy on this issue.
- Don’t suffer from an exaggerated sense of injustice
We must be concerned about politics because it affects all of us in so many ways and impacts on the future of our children. But you must bear in mind that you alone cannot change the situation or the flow of current affairs. After you have done what you can, leave it to fate and don’t be unhappy.
- Don’t care too much what others think
“Respect public opinion only to avoid starvation and jail.”
Normally you will not feel happy to do something without your spouse’s approval, or that of friends and family. But you must not be afraid to exercise your own judgment in certain important matters, e.g. when to buy and when to sell shares. Your wife may not be giving the best advice on these matters.
Everyone has his own opinion but who is right and who is wrong is a constant puzzle. For example, the Catholics forbid divorce but it is allowed by the Muslim and the civil courts.
The secrets of happiness
Now you must know how to conquer happiness. The next six measures make up Steps 9 to 14 of the Bertrand Russell philosophy to happiness.
- Cultivate zest
Get into the habit of taking a lively and friendly interest in everything. The more things a man is interested in, the more opportunities he has to make himself happy. An introvert cannot be happy. Outside working hours, you must have a lot of free time to make yourself happy. Make new friends, have more hobbies, play games, surf the Internet, watch football and movies, etc.
- Be affectionate
Do not be afraid to show kindness and affection to people e.g. tipping waiters and the jaga kereta. You cannot be happy if you do not have the feeling that you are doing something good and people love you. You will feel happy if you can make someone happy.
You can create happiness by offering scholarships to help needy students without expecting anything in return. I have done so and found happiness in this. All the recipients have to promise me is that when they are financially solvent they will help other needy students. In this way, they will continue to do charity and create happiness after I die.
Avoid an argument because no one wins in any argument. Remember how you felt the last time you had an argument with someone. When you receive affection or admiration, you would feel secure and this enables you to perform better. By the same token, you should do the same unto others.
Here I would like to quote from Russell’s book again. “The best type of affection is reciprocally life-giving: each receives affection with joy and gives it without effort, and each finds the whole world more interesting in consequence of the existence of this reciprocal happiness. There is, however, another kind, by no means uncommon, in which one person sucks the vitality of the other, one receives what the other gives, but gives almost nothing in return. Some very vital people belong to this bloodsucking type. They extract the vitality from one victim after another, but while they prosper and grow interesting, those upon whom they live grow pale and dim and dull.”
- Be a good parent
Give your child time and not too much money.
The bond between parents and children is often one of the greatest source of happiness. But in many cases, it is also a source of unhappiness to both parties. In fact, studies show that in most cases, at least one of both parties is unhappy in the relationship. The reasons for this phenomenon are too many and varied and would be outside the scope of this talk.
- Do interesting, varied and constructive work
Living in a competitive world, one is born to do work. Everyone needs to work. Work prevents boredom. Even uninteresting work will make holidays more enjoyable. Work offers the opportunity for you to achieve your ambition. Try to find interesting work so that you can enjoy doing it.
- Cultivate plenty of relaxing minor interests
Enjoy as many hobbies and pursuits as you can; make sure these provide a difference from your day job. For example: Keep a dog, read, surf the Net, play games, watch TV or contact your friends more frequently. You must realise most of your enjoyment is generated from the people closest to you – your friends, children and your spouse.
- Find the right balance between effort and resignation
A man occupies almost all his time in worrying about his wife, children, his work and his financial position. All these burdens are bound to depress and tire him.
Very few people, except singles, have never quarreled with their spouses. Very few parents have not endured grave anxiety when their children are ill. Very few businessmen have never met financial difficulties and few professional men have not faced periods of failure. It is at such times that the wide variety of cultivated interests provides an outlet for amusement and happiness.
*credit to MBAM Past Secretary-General, Mr Koon Yew Yin.