Thursday, May 27, 2010

Turning Water into Wealth: Olivia Lum's Hyflux

Hyflux ( a company) founder, Olivia Lum, comes from humble beginnings. She was raised in a small kampung, Penang,Malaysia, by an elderly woman who adopted her at birth. At one point, she even had to live in a shack with no running water, after "Grandma" sold off the house to pay some gambling debts. Fear for poverty has driven and motivated Olivia in her survival against all odds.She had to sell her brand new birthday gifts to save monies to survive , then.

Despite the challenging environment in which she grew up in, her tenancity eventually saw her through her studies at the National University of Singapore, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Honours degree.

Olivia Lum then went on to start Hyflux, a company dealing in a wide range of water-related ventures in Asia. It was an uphill task initially as she had to ride her motorbike from Jurong(in Singapore) to Batu Pahat (in Johore,Malaysia), knocking on factory doors to try and sell her water filters and softeners.

Her perseverance eventually paid off, and today she is the head of one of the fastest growing water-treatment companies, worth some $270 million.

Stop and Reflect

Whether Republic of Singapore or every citizen survives or collapses will depend not so much on the fact that it may face difficulties as on whether we have the courage and determination to overcome them ..

Searching for alternative water sources
Another key area where we have turned vulnerability into strength is water. We will continue to need to import water from Malaysia for many more years under our current Water Agreements. But our search for alternatives to reduce our dependency has resulted in pioneering water technologies, such as NEWater. As a result, Republic of Singapore is fast emerging as a centre for water technology. Singapore companies such as Hyflux are exporting their expertise in integrated water management and water reclamation to countries like China and Dubai, among many others. We would probably not have become a pioneer in this area of technology if we had not been driven to search for alternatives to reduce our dependency. (About Hyflux, click )

We must survive decently with dignity intact.

We are constantly wringing our hands and asking, "who are we, what are we, what do we want to be? " and not satisfied with merely the blithe answer in our national song - We are Singapore, Singaporeans.

But this struggle with what we are is part of being Singaporeans. Looking for a common identity.

We took a decision in year 1967 after separation from Malaysia, to introduce National Service for all healthy male-citizens so that we would have a credible military..This is the bedrock of Republic of Singapore's and her citizens security, for healthy military deters potential aggressors and allows us as humane citizens to maintain an even keel through the ups and downs of regional developments and our relations with other countries. Our National SeviceMen Military Force gives us the political space to pursue policies that are in our best interests as one healthy wealth nation; securing our national interests.

Since then, over the past 43 years, we the citizens of Republic of Singapore have built a secure and vibrant nation which offers many various opportunities for young and old people such as yourselves. Our only asset is our people. WE must love every single one among ourselves. It is the ingenuity and conscious effort of all Singaporeans, regardless of social status and political inclinations, which enable us to maximise our advantages and minimise our disadvantages.

WE must harness our assets: the citizens.
Why? To survive.

1 comment:

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