(Hon Fye is the first on the left)
Inspired by the passion of volunteers and people in the Community Care sector, Lum Hon Fye joined Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities (THKMC) as its CEO in November 2019. He shares with mosAIC about living a well-balanced life, his experience organising a United Nations peacekeeping mission, and his plans for THKMC.
Tell us about your previous work experience before joining Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities (THKMC).
I first joined the Singapore Police Force 38 years ago after being awarded the President and Police Overseas Scholarship. After 17 years, I moved to Singtel where I served as CEO Telecom Equipment. After a three-year stint in Thailand, I returned as Chief Global Business for NCS (National Computer Systems), Singtel’s IT subsidiary. I subsequently joined NTUC FairPrice in 2010 after 11 years in Singtel.
There, as the GM of NTUC FairPrice Foundation, I supported the work of more than 200 social service agencies every year. I experienced first-hand the passion and dedication of many staff and volunteers. They serve the underprivileged and vulnerable members of the community with all their heart. I was very touched. They inspired me to join this sector and to do my part for the community.
What are some new plans you have for THKMC?
THKMC is a big organisation serving many segments of the community from children with disabilities to seniors in need. It has over 90 programmes and serves more than 40,000 people. With the support of the Board, my management team, and staff, I hope to grow THKMC into an even more effective social service agency that can better serve the Singapore community.
As Singapore is becoming a more inclusive society, THKMC’s role as an empowering agency is important to extend more help to those with disabilities. This would allow them to lead more fulfilling lives in the community.
Singapore is also facing an ageing population, with the number of seniors expected to double in a few short years. To prepare for this, the government has started a number of initiatives to help seniors age in place. THKMC is involved in many of these programmes. I aim to steer THKMC to be proactive and do our part to ensure that these resources are efficiently used for maximum impact to the seniors we serve.
Tell us something about yourself that not many people know about.
Back in 1989 when I was with the Police Force, I was asked to organise a United Nations peacekeeping mission to Namibia, a country in southwest Africa. As this was the first time Singapore has been invited to send a team overseas for peacekeeping, there were no precedents to follow. I didn’t know where to start and I was not even sure where Namibia was.
To put this together, I made a recce trip to Namibia to speak to the UN officials, and gathered more information from my colleagues in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. With the help of my bosses and colleagues, we developed a plan that led to a successful mission. Since then, Singapore has sent many peacekeeping missions to Kuwait, Timor Leste, and other places.
From this experience, I learnt the importance of teamwork. If I had tried to organise the mission on my own without getting help from my colleagues and other key stakeholders, the mission would likely fail. Similarly, I believe that THKMC will remain successful if different parts of the organisation operate harmoniously together, while trusting and supporting each other.
What do you do in your free time?
I believe in a well-balanced lifestyle. While we work hard, we should also find opportunities to meet friends and spend time with family and loved ones. My role model is Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who lived a long and fulfilling life.
I also like to exercise. On weekends, I play tennis with my wife and daughters. Occasionally, we have a game of mahjong. I also play golf with friends, which gives me wonderful opportunities to meet old friends and make new friends.
On week nights, I sometimes go for long walks. Just last November, my friends and I took a three-hour walk from Singapore River to the end of the river at Tanglin Road, and back. It was very pleasant as we enjoyed the scenery.