Interviewer's Note: Got to know Tong Yee through a friend who was his student. I must say it was a really inspiring experience for me to meet up and chat with him. I admire and respect what he is doing and hope that The Thought Collective continues to get better at what they do. :)
Tong Yee / 38 / Singapore / Director at The Thought Collective / www.school-of-thought.com
What do you live for?
I live for God and to serve his people.
I prefer to focus my energy to build something that can be permanent, or at least leave a sustainable legacy, as opposed to pursuing fleeting things like, say, an expensive car. Luxury will expire after a few years. The pleasure we receive from luxury almost always depreciates. Why would I want to invest my time and energy to pursue something that will expire someday? That said, I have nothing against people who go after these things in their lives.
What is some of the best advice that you have been given/want to give our readers?
There is so much great wisdom that I have learnt and can share with you, but unfortunately the value really depends on the context to which you wish to receive it.
There was a memorable one that I was given when I was much younger. It seemed insignificant back then, but as I grew older I began to realise how important it is.
"If you can be trusted for the small things, you can be trusted with the big things as well."
There are many simple little things about us that speak volumes about how we deal with bigger things. Remember how our parents would nag at us to switch the lights off when we leave a room? It may not seem like a big deal, but if you can be trusted to perform small tasks like that, then you will have less problem dealing with bigger issues when the time comes. Essentially we are all creatures of habit. And our habits tell us a lot about the kind of people we are.
Something random you'd like to say?
There is a fine line between being open as a person and simply being careless as a person.