Published on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 00:00
Pamela Lim was a well-known entrepreneur in Asia 10 years ago. Her passion and drive as an entrepreneur helped her excel in the fast-paced, dog-eat-dog world of business where so few succeed. She has won numerous entrepreneur awards in Singapore and the rest of Asia, including Top 10 Woman entrepreneur in 1999, The Most Promising Woman Entrepreneur in 2000 and Netrepreneur of the Year in 2001.
Pamela started a company with just three employees which grew into one that has business and operations in 7 countries. The company managed to get approved for dual-listing in NASDAQ and SGX, a commendable feat as it’s the first ever Singapore company to achieve a first level listing approval.
She selflessly gave up the entrepreneurial and business world in 2004 with the passing of her father-in-law to raise her 5 young children. She started teaching and took to it with zealous dedication. Today, she is a lecturer for undergraduate and graduate innovation, business, entrepreneur and strategic management. She has dedicated the next few years to research into education.
As a mother and an educator, she is constantly searching for answers and alternatives to Education and is curious about the most important aspect in societies. Pamela is currently writing the first community book in the world, co-writing her book with her blog readers at her new blog; student-tailored-education.com
. The blog and book is peppered with many interesting and informative perspectives of her findings and struggles.
FreshGrads.Sg was given the honour and the privilege to peek into the mind of this inspiring woman.
1. What gives you the inspiration to write your book?
Pamela: I have been blogging and maintaining my Facebook fanpage for a year or two now. I am quite surprised there are so many people who are interested to know what I did for my children's education and how I helped them. There were also many inquiries and mails to ask for help, resources and advice. There were also many readers who gave me great ideas. I therefore decided to put them down in a book.
2. Why did you decide to delve into the topic of Education?
Pamela: Every interested and involved parent will become some sort of an expert in Education, especially if they spend time researching and understanding topics relevant to them. I have five children who are very different, and therefore I had to do a lot more research than most, so I became knowledgeable. Secondly, I have been a lecturer for decade, and having dealt with thousands of students, I know about teaching. Thirdly, when I am not teaching, I spent time taking postgraduate courses on teaching. Because I am very interested in my children's growth and because I want to teach well, I decided to spend a lot of time on it.
3. What do you think about Singapore’s education system?
Pamela: I think the Singapore's education system is excellent but with flaws at the same time. I am concerned that people: students, educators and parents are expected to conform to the system rather than the system changing and improving to reflect the times. The best thing about the system is its ability to make the parents and children fight hard to be on the top. Something most systems in the world fail to do. Parents will spend time, money and energy to ensure their offspring succeed academically. This is something so amazing, I think most western country still cannot grasp. I only hope that is sustainable.
4. If you could reconstruct the entire education system in Singapore, how would you have it done?
Pamela: I will never try and reconstruct the education system because I have no interest to. But if I can, I will recruit only the best to be teachers, and I refer to at least postgraduates and people with substantial work experience, with some maturity. Teachers must have training in presentation skills and knowledge in dealing with different types of students. I think the quality of our teachers need urgent attention.
Secondly, instead of biggering buildings and sports facilities, I will increase teachers' pay, improve teaching materials and students, make student-teacher ratio smaller, and change the role of teachers from teaching the syllabus to teaching people.
Thirdly, use more technology in classes, and telecommuting, especially since transportation is expensive and being stressed in Singapore. Increasing the use of technology to teach the syllabus can release the teacher to observe and teach know the student better, and hence teachers should 教人 (teach the students) and let the technology 教书 (teach the syllabus).
5. What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Pamela: How long do you want this advice to be? It can be 30 weeks long because I teach two courses on this! Generally, to be successful, you need to find something you have passion in, don't be afraid to dream an impossible dream, aim high, and work ten times harder than the hardest working person you ever know, leave some money on the table, treat everybody like gold, love people and use things.
Everyone should have a thing or two to learn from this incredibly insightful educational and maternal figure. Check out the links below for more of Pamela's intellectual musings.