If you had the chance to travel the world would you do it? I think most of us would answer yes. What if I added that you would do this on your own often with just a backpack hitching rides across Sub-Saharan Africa? I think many of us would begin to rethink our answer. Would you risk your life to help someone who’s been in a terrible accident? Would you go choose to spend many days and nights in the equatorial jungle with a tank crew? I think at this point most of us would say no.
Yix is not like most of us. His willingness to explore the world and himself is inspirational. He embodies character traits that make him a leader whether it’s in banking or the military or with his family. His words should undermine some of the fixed opinions about what an examined life really is. Part of it is exploring the world, but a lot of it is exploring the landscape within our minds and hearts.
First off can you tell us a bit about you and your family?
I’m a fourth generation born and bred Singaporean. Both sides of my family migrated from Fujian province in China to Singapore. From the stories I’ve heard, both my grandfathers were successful businessmen who developed opium habits and gambled away their fortunes. My grandmothers were more sensible. They raised their families and ran the family business the best they could. Both my parents graduated from university, which was very rare in their day. In 1960s Singapore, only ~2% of the population had the equivalent of a high school diploma. It was even rarer for women to attend university.
Before I was born, my family lived in London and Hong Kong for several years before moving back to Singapore. As the youngest of 3 siblings, I was the only child to be born and bred in Singapore. I lived in Singapore till I finished my compulsory military service at 21 years old, and subsequently left to study in the US. I spent almost a decade abroad till recently returning home.
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