NUS School of Building and Estate Management - 1990
Group CEO - OT Group Pte Ltd
Tell us more about yourself and your background
I graduated from NUS School of Building and Estate Management in 1990 and worked in the real estate and finance industries for close to 30 years. I started my career as a valuer and soon moved on to the marketing of industrial properties and has since been in the business of dealing with industrial properties. I co-founded Cambridge Industrial Trust in 2006 and Viva Industrial Trust in 2013; both Industrial REITs were merged in 2018 and is currently known as ESR REIT. Frankly speaking, I don’t think starting a new business is in my DNA, but when I saw the opportunities, I grabbed them without a second thought even though there were risks and significant sacrifices as I do not wish to live with regrets. Fortunately, the two ventures turned out to be life-changing and rewarding for me.
When did you start your giving journey? Do you remember your first time?
During my school days, I would use part of my pocket money to donate whenever I was approached by volunteers seeking donation during the flag day. Even though the amount may be small, but I believe it would add up and contribute to a good cause. I always believe that when we plant more good seeds, the more generous harvest we will produce. So, when I started working with a more stable income, I would give regular donations to the selected charitable organisations, including NUS, under its annual giving programme. As I become more successful in my career, I decided to establish a scholarship programme that could benefit more needy students in years to come.
What led you to give to NUSBSA Bursary Fund?
I came from a big family, and I remembered our life turned super tough when my dad passed away when I was in Primary 6. However, I was fortunate to receive support from my elder siblings who had started working to support the family and my education. At that time, I knew I had to study hard to earn a Diploma or University Degree in order to transform our life and the life of our next generation.
I have achieved my goal and with the same belief, I hope to help other needy students who may not be as fortunate as me to have support from elder siblings to achieve their educational goal to transform their life. So, it resonates with me and I gladly joined my siblings to establish a bursary programme with NUS Business School under the name of our late parents when my sister, Grace who is an alumni of NUS Business School initiated setting up the fund many years ago. I together with my wife have decided to establish another programme with NUS Business School to help more needy students when I achieved my financial goal and wanted to plant more good seeds.
What advice would you give to those who not know where and how to start in Giving?
I always believe education is the key to one’s future success, and it contributes to the success of a nation as well. Therefore, you could start giving for educational causes and any other charitable causes that you resonate with. As the adage goes, it really is far better to give than to receive. I would encourage those who have financial means and not yet started giving to play their part. Always be thankful and grateful for the help you received and start paying it forward by helping the less fortunate!