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Francis Yeoh on Faith

   
It is my great privilege and pleasure to welcome you all here to Malaysia, to Pangkor Laut, and to the Asian Global Leadership Forum. Gathered here today are the brightest lights of the world’s leadership, from the political realm, the world of finance, and the arts. We have among us policy-makers and commentators, as well as those whose calling in life is to interpret and communicate the events of the day to the millions of individuals who make up our global village.

This is an exciting moment for us in Malaysia that we have worked towards and looked forward to for these many months. It is all the more heartening to see so many of you here responding to our call.

A year ago the bell tolled for all of us with the unspeakable tragedy of September 11th. It brought us to the brink of disaster. In Alvin Tofler’s words, to “an abrupt collision with our future”. It was a crime against humanity.

In the words of John Donne, “no man is an island entire to itself: every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never seek to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee”, therefore as mankind, we are all involved.

A year later on, we are convening at Pangkor Laut, a perfect setting for a Retreat and for reflection. But in another way it is peculiarly apt. This island has been described as a “Paradise” which finds an echo in another poet, John Milton, who wrote of “Paradise Lost” a grim reminder that a year ago we came near to fulfilling that prophecy – the loss of civilization as we know it. But Milton also wrote “Paradise Regained”. We are here, in search of renewal and a Peace initiative to make the world a better and safer place. To regain our Paradise on earth.

Therefore, I welcome you to the Pangkor Retreat. For a “Retreat” it is, in both the physical and the spiritual sense. We chose this island not just for its scenic beauty that we invite you to enjoy, but for its tranquility. We wanted an ideal get away, far removed from all the cares and daily toil of our every day lives, that like the cloisters of a monastery or a college would be conducive to reflection. We have some serious soul searching to do over the next two days.

We seek solutions not just the path to peace but the natural corollary of Peace, a return to global prosperity for the benefit of all men. We have called this the Peace Dividend. The Pangkor Retreat is meant for a reaffirmation of our belief in mankind – and in the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. When we invited the great artist Luciano Pavarotti, himself an Ambassador of Peace, to sing for us it was intended as a celebration of life. This Dialogue is predicted on our confidence that a Coalition of Minds will achieve more than fire power, and that ultimately faith, hope and love will prevail.

First my heart felt thanks go to our Organiser, ASLI, in association with Forbes International and CNBC, and our sponsors, Citigroup, Wessex Water, Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (DKW), Siemens and Barclays, for their civic consciousness that made this event possible.

Tonight I restrict myself to just a few words that are intended to set the keynote to this whole event. Our Global Leadership Forum is predicated on FAITH – faith in the essential goodness of man and above all faith in God. The essence of this FAITH is that despite Sept 11, God is still in charge – and that good will triumph over evil.

But we must play our part. Here tonight we represent many different faiths and systems of belief. We come together on a common moral ground to share our thoughts on how to cleanse and rehabilitate our world. Out of this synthesis, with God’s help, we hope to throw light on our troubled society and to find a way forward.

The prevailing ethos of our Forum will be a belief in the restorative powers of faith, hope and love. At the start when we begin our journey of self-examination it is the first – faith, that propels us forward. We have to have faith in our ability to make a difference. All the great wonders of science were a product of man’s intellect and imagination combined. But in order to take that leap of the imagination into unknown, the scientist had to have faith.

We too must keep faith with our common humanity and in the invisible hand of God to guide us. I am reminded of President Roosevelt’s views on effort for peace, I quote “Do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious effort; the man who never wrongs his neighbour; who is prompt to help a friend; but who has those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life. It is hard to fail; but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” End quote.

Your coming here has brought forth fresh ripples of hope. May God bless us for our deliberation.

Speech by Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, MD of YTL Corporation,
at the Welcome Dinner,
Asian Global Leadership Forum at Pangkor Laut, Malaysia
on 6 September 2002




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SPEECHES

INTERVIEWS

THE OSLO BUSINESS FOR PEACE AWARD

TRANSPARENT COHERENT REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

PERSONAL AND SUSTAINABILITY AWARDS

TAN SRI FRANCIS YEOH'S BIODATA

 
 

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