P10 – Chasing the Rainbow – Travis Teo

This is the script of P10 Speech – Inspre your Audience. – By Toastmaster Travis, delivered on 29 Apr 2015.

“For the young, let me tell you the sky has turned brighter. There’s a glorious rainbow that beckons those with the spirit of adventure. And there are rich findings at the end of the rainbow. To the young and to the not-so-old, I say, look at that horizon, follow that rainbow, go ride it.”

The line about rainbows was delivered by Lee in a speech at the Singapore Press Club in 1996
Ladies and gentlemen fellow toastmasters, I was born in a middle income family in the midst of economy miracle in the 70s. My father is a businessman and my mum is a home maker. I’m also the generation benefited from the Bilingual system that give the chance to learn English and Chinese languages, although I hate English when I was young that’s why I need to join toastmaster now.

Growing up, Lee Kuan Yew has always been the mystic, no nonsense father figure to me. And in primary school, when my teacher asked us who in this world I admire the most, there are always 2 standard answers: Lee Kuan Yew and my mother. But even then, I will never imagine his passing has such an emotion impact on me.

On Mar 23 around 5am when I receive the notification of the passing of Lee Kuan Yew, tears just flowed. It’s seems to me someone important to my life has just left me. Since that eventful morning, I can’t remember the number of tears I have shed during the one week of mourning, from tears of sadness during the 1st few days, to tears of gratitude when I watched the so programme and speeches of his on TV and to tears of patriotic during the state of funeral, when I saw Singaporean, from all works of life pay their last respects, under the pouring rain.

And it was that week and that very moment, made me realise who am I as a Singaporean, our common struggle in the early days, fighting against the Japanese, against the communist, gaining independence from Malaysia, building of society regardless of language, race or religion, and a quest to building a global city we are all truely proud of. And it made me realise all around us does not happen by default. It’s happened because of our founding fathers have planted the tree 50 years ago and our generation benefited from their labour.

Yes, Singapore is the world’s most expensive city for the second year running, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

And yes, Singapore may ranks as Least Emotional Country in the World

And we may have to squeeze with 6.9MM fellow citizens, expats, foreign workers, PR in this small island.

And we may be the under-happy bunch of employees.

All these pale into insignificant compared to to the suffering around the world: We see the suffering in war-torn Syria, Rohinya stateless people in Myanmar or refugee in Libya, and the recent tragic earthquake disaster in Nepal.

Immediate after the Lee Kuan Yew Funeral, I flew to Nepal for a week vacation. When I was there, I saw the life of sherpa, that if you born as a man in Sherpa family, you are almost destiny to be a porter for life, earning 15 dollar a day carry heavy load up into the mountain, till your weak shoulder and knees no longer able to carry the backpacks of travellers..When I was in Guizhou China, one of poorest state in China, all their lives are in farming. It will take their later generation to improve their lives through education.

Our forefathers have shed their sweats and blood to build this city and our best gratitude to them by building our own Singaporean dreams. So starting from today, find out what you passionate about and do something about it.There is no one path of success in life. What define as success for you maybe different from others. Do something that can make a difference around us, and even make a difference to the world.   By the time you grow old and look back, you will not find your life live wasteful wondering what you have been, but life of experiences, and passions.


I would like to quote a passage from Anthony Robbins book “Awaken The Giant Within”

“I believe that life is like a river, and that most people jump on the river of life without ever really deciding where they want to end up. So, in a short period of time, they get caught up in the current: current events, current fears, current challenges. When they come to junction in the river, they don’t consciously decide where or which direction they want to go. They merely “go with the flow.” They become a part of the mass of people who are directed by the environment instead of by their own values. As a result, they feel out of control. They remain in this unconscious state until one day the sound of the raging water awakens them, and they discover that they’re five feet from Niagara Falls in a boat with no oars. At this point, they say, “Oh, shoot!” But by then it’s too late. They’re going to take a fall. Sometimes it’s an emotional fall. Sometimes it’s a physical fall. Sometimes it’s a financial fall. It’s likely that whatever challenges you have in your life currently could have been avoided by some better decisions up stream.
The point of course is to make conscious decisions regarding your life and your destiny before it’s too late!

But you might be asking: I’m already late 30s, I have already missed my prime life. But let me tell you this:
1. Harrison Ford was a carpenter before he became an actor at age of 30
2. Ang Lee was Jobless husband until age of 31
4. Ray Kroc start Mac Donald at 52
5 Keith Wright start travelling around the world at the age of 85

So its nevertheless too late to pursue your dreams and the action is now.

I would like to end this speech with this quote:

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. – Old Proverb

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