Ooi Boon Hoe - Director & CEO, Jurong Port Pte ltd

Ep 59: Ooi Boon Hoe (CEO & Director, Jurong Port)

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Welcome to Episode 59!

Our guest for STIMY Episode 59 is Ooi Boon Hoe.

Ooi Boon Hoe is the current Director and Chief Executive Officer of Jurong Port Pte Ltd, which is one of Singapore’s two main commercial terminal operators.

In this episode, we explore how Boon Hoe went from working in the military, where he obtained a 1st Class Pass from Britannia Royal Naval College, was a recipient of the Singapore Armed Forces Overseas Training Award, and a Singapore Armed Forces Merit Scholarship.

Boon Hoe later worked in corporate finance in DBS Bank before moving into the port and shipping industry first with Portek International in 2002 (where he discovered his faith!), then Jurong Port Pte Ltd in 2014. 

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    So This Is My Why podcast

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    Who is Ooi Boon Hoe?

    Boon Hoe grew up with Singapore with strong links to Malaysia and he shares what his childhood was like and his experiences in the military.

    • 3:30 Growing up in Singapore in 1960s
    • 4:28 Having a flourishing military career
    • 7:27 Working in corporate finance at DBS Bank
    I used to have all these questions for him, like your God, why some people can make it? Why other people can't? Why so unfair? That kind of stuff. And he would just say to me, look, God is God ah. You can argue all you want just because you don't believe, doesn't mean it's not true.
    Ooi Boon Hoe - Director & CEO, Jurong Port Pte ltd
    Ooi Boon Hoe
    CEO & Director, Jurong Port

    Entering the Port & Shipping Business

    • 9:21 Becoming COO of Portek International
    • 10:46 Why Boon Hoe transitioned into the port & shipping business
    • 12:04 Discovering God
    • 14:46 Reading the Gospels
    • 18:29 Making Portek’s maiden investment in Algeria
    Ooi Boon Hoe - Director & CEO, Jurong Port Pte ltd

    Being CEO of Jurong Port

    Boon Hoe shares some insight into what it’s like being the CEO of Jurong Port.

    • 26:30 Creating the world’s largest port based facility
    • 27:33 Creating an ecosystem centered around LNG
    • 31:31 Maintaining safety during the global pandemic

    If you’re looking for more inspirational stories from creatives, check out:

    • Nick Bernstein (Part 1, Part 2): Senior Vice President of Late Night Programming, West Coast & executive in charge of the Late Late Show with James Corden
    • Malek Ali: Founder of BFM 89.9 – Malaysia’s premier business radio channel
    • Karl Mak: Founder of Hepmil Media Group (SGAG, MGAG & PGAG) – one of the region’s premier meme media business

    If you enjoyed this episode with Boon Hoe, you can: 

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    External Links

    Some of the things we talked about in this STIMY Episode can be found below:

    • Jurong Port: Website 
    • Subscribe to the STIMY Podcast for alerts on future episodes at Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher & RadioPublic  
    • Leave a review on what you thought of this episode HERE or the comment section of this post below
    • Want to be a part of our exclusive private Facebook group & chat with our previous STIMY episode guests? CLICK HERE.
    Ooi Boon Hoe - Director & CEO, Jurong Port Pte ltd

    STIMY Ep 59: Ooi Boon Hoe [CEO & Director, Jurong Port Pte Ltd]

    Ooi Boon Hoe: I used to have all these questions for him, like your God, why some people can make it? Why other people can't? Why so unfair, that kind of stuff. And he would just say to me, look, God is gardener. You can argue all you want just because you don't believe, doesn't mean it's not true.

    And then of course, he had always been there more importantly, he always showed him to be such a good big brother, such a good son. So then I look and said hey, there 's something to it now because the God that he's honoring and following must be getting him to do some of the things that he does act the way he does.

    So this can't be bad, right? I mean, he was the start of a good ambassador as far as I could see. Didn't judge me. Tried to tell me right from wrong and prayed for me. Ministered to me. Bothered to keep in touch. He had been in America for some time because he was posted there.

    So. when my daughter fell sick, he spoke to his church and this is the first time I thought that the feel the love of God when he got, he's friends when he was in New York, he was at any church. They meet friends there. He got his friends in New York to pray for me and my family.

    He got his church in Singapore to pray for me and my family. And then I started to realise - what's this about the Christians that they bother to even pray for you? Have thoughts about you? And they don't even know you. This is the most amazing thing about our God, right? He gets any inspires people to love others in ways which cannot be normally explained by worldly secular terms.

    It's just not possible because I know I was never like that. I would never bother. Why would I bother nothing to do with me? That's the first glimpse of the love of God.

    Ling Yah: Hey everyone.

    Welcome to episode 59 of the So This Is My Why podcast. I'm your host and producer, Ling Yah, and today's guest is Ooi Boon Hoe. Boon Hoe is the CEO and director at Jurong Port private limited, which is one of Singapore's two main commercial terminal operators.

    Boon Hoe's story is very much a faith story. As we explore what it was like having a military career with the Republic of Singapore Navy and the ministry of defense in Singapore, Paris and Dartmouth, how he transitioned into the banking world before eventually entering the port and shipping industry first as the executive director NCO of porta International, which became the first Singaporean company to invest in Algeria. And now, the CEO of Jurong Port.

    Are you ready?

    Let's go.

    Ooi Boon Hoe: My maternal and paternal grandparents were born and lived in Penang I think they could trace back to my. Great, great grandfather who immigrated from China. And that's how the family came to be established in Penang. And he was my mom and my dad, both of whom were teachers that found a way to Singapore and that's where I was born, but a lot of connection with Malaysia.

    For me growing up, was a lot of school holidays. Back then there was no North South highway.

    So there was my dad driving a beetle, my mom, my brother, four of us. And we would just go for road trips lah because the road trips were first to Melaka, stopover relatives place then to KL relative's place then to Taiping, relative's place, then to Penang. And then the way back again, , it was so much fun lah.

    It was the beach and lots of food and huge extended family. Those were the times lah, back then.

    Ling Yah: And what was it like growing up in Singapore, back in the 1960s, seventies, what were you like as a child? You have a vision of what you were going to do with your life?

    Ooi Boon Hoe: No. I got to say that now I know now that God has a way of getting you to notice him if he wants you to be one of those who will notice him. So I'm grateful for that.

    It was a very impressionable time for all of us.

    My parents were teachers. So academics, very, very clearly important. Placed at the highest priorities.

    I picked a path, which is actually something my brother kind of guided me to. My brother was a bit older than I. But joining the Navy, the Singapore Navy, helped me many ways to just I guess, stabilize myself, my thinking. Things were decided lah.

    So then it was also the opportunity for me to go overseas and get exposure in England, and I, all these memories are still very vivid and very fun to talk today.

    And then of course the Navy continued with another experience overseas in Paris. So all those, are very formative times.

    Ling Yah: So you were in Paris, you were also at Dartmouth and you got a first-class pass.

    So it sounds like you've flourished.

    Ooi Boon Hoe: Oh no. Okay. I, again god blesses us with what we have.

    And if we are about using some of the blessings, then it pays off like, yeah, of course. I didn't know it then lah, right. But all of these just meant that I did well in training and what they wanted to see very quickly, kind of figured out, you've got to assert yourself as the leader, organizing things, take initiative.

    Be heard, be heard but be heard meaningfully. Which I guess is the same in every other part of life, especially as a Christian too, because the one thing you don't want to be is be heard in an unmeaningful way.

    Whether you're talking or acting, this whole idea of being an ambassador is it's really important now.

    Back then, Dartmouth is a college for Naval officer training. Basically a university in the United States.

    I should have named him obviously from, Dartmouth Brittania Naval college because it is at the mouth of the river dot. That's why they call it Dartmouth.

    so that was one year of training andit was a military public school lah, call it that. And then you get to meet all sorts of people and very interesting time.

    You have all sorts of other countries were sending their offices. The Saudis were there, the Kuwaitis, were there. Then you get all the, officers that came for training from the former British colonies in the West Indies, the Bahamians, the Jamaicans. Then you had the Bruneians, you have Malaysians, you have ourselves.

    Although Singapore had its own training academy already.

    Every year, they would pick a couple. Two or three or even four, and you go lah and have your one year there. And so that was what that was. And that was followed by three years at university, in which case was four years in England and then came back to work. So come back. The idea about the Navy was that there was a set plan already lah. Just fulfill that.

    And then there was that time in, Paris as well, which was, if you like a military MBA, like loosely, that's what it is lah.

    Mid-career officers get sent to upgrading lah, you know. So this course helps you with strategic planning budgeting, and this was a year and a half, six months.

    First six months was to learn to speak French, to understand so that you can follow the course, which is a year long lah. And that again was so interesting because you have not just the French officers, but you have the officers hailing from many, many Francophone countries or ex French colonies. Even non Francophone countries. Asia, Chinese, all sorts, right. Pakistanis.

    So you had a very good mix of people.

    And all of us try to understand and get along with each other by speaking French. So it was 19 90, 96, 97. That's right. And all those times I wasn't yet a believer. Pretty much leading my life the way I thought would please me.

    But now look back and fully appreciate the time that the Lord has granted me learning. Being exposed to wouldn't otherwise have been there. And then developing, I guess some talent. Some understanding exposure enough for me to better, appreciate where I am now, who I am now and how it is that I can try to serve God lah.

    Ling Yah: Were you clear at that time that you wanted to have a full time Naval career? Or were you thinking, I know I'm going to be there for a couple of years and they're going to transition out into working at a bank?

    Ooi Boon Hoe: Actually, what happened was the job immediately after the Navy actually wasn't a bank. It was at Capo for three months, but I left after it to go to a bank. So first real job maybe was the bank lah effectively, but yeah I was quite clear funnily enough that maybe too much time drinking coffee in the cafes in Paris, it was kind of soul searching, but I just realized that I didn't want to continue with the Navy.

    But one thing I felt that made me kind of decide, okay. After I finished my legal obligations to the navy for having sent me and expose me, I want to try something else is because then lah, the consideration was that I only have so many years left to work.

    And the one thing, no matter how much money, and by the way, the armed forces in Singapore. Yeah, they're very forward-looking in the way they want to retain the people, understanding fully that the private sector in Singapore, which has to flourish for the Singapore economy to flourish is also going to be competing for talent.

    So they need to be competitive. They were competitive. They are competitor. I'm sure I kept in touch on the latest that we are using by way of retention, but to attract and retain, they must obviously be competitive. So I realized that no matter how competitive one employer is, you only have one chance, like you either choose to continue or you don't. And if you don't or if you do, then the number of years is there.

    and that's it, you can't, whatever else, no matter how much else anybody plays you, you can't reverse one second of time. And so that was guiding principle that I don't have all the time. You can only choose one path. And that time cannot be purchased. so I left.

    Ling Yah: So how did you go from working at DBS bank to then being operations director then CEO of Portek?

    What was that whole thought process?

    Ooi Boon Hoe: Oh, oh, oh, oh, that was also a worldly decision to some degree, but I look back now. I realize that it's all part of, his planner. DBS bank was a great place to learn. Truly. I, worked really hard, but you guys would know this. was doing corporate finance, so it's all, , , there's no limit on how is that?

    It's quite crazy. But anyway it was good. I learned tremendously useful information. And a bit, so understanding of how obviously financials apply to companies and things like fundraising. But I had just become a father right at a time and while DBS was very kind to me I felt these hours I just going to be a little bit too fierce.

    So the last company that I helped to take public protect the company that I eventually joined, now the boss of the company who later became a friend and became my godson to, he i s a very smart man, but very entrepreneurial.

    And he said, join. And I was this, no day, no night job, just became a firefighter. I don't care. Okay. So I, I left I don't know. I, think about it now. I'm glad I did.

    some of my friends I talked to say, don't lah. You've got a good thing going here. But I think about it now. I'm glad I did because I wouldn't have this opportunity at Jurong Port if not for that. Of course, there could have been other opportunities that could have presented themselves if I had stayed at DBS. All said and done, I'm glad for the choice that I made. And so that began the time at Portek and took about 12 years.

    I joined in oh two and I left in 14.

    Ling Yah: To enter into this port industry.

    I mean, it's such a very niche industry. Not many people are in it.

    Ooi Boon Hoe: Okay. This is where I'm also quite blessed. I've always had a job one way or the other except maybe the bank. To do with water. I don't know, ports, ships, right. I mean, so it was quite intuitive for me. In fact, I will tell you that one of the, IPO's I had managed at DBS was to do with a shipping company, right?

    Understanding ports and ships and all the rest of it helped tremendously in, working on the IPO as well. So I guess my point is that while you say it's niche, it's actually quite second nature.

    So again, we come back how God, finds a way to shape you and shape your career.

    It's truly amazing lah. If you sit back. Think about how some of the choices that were made, even though you didn't know, has led to abilities and opportunities now that can really I guess without sounding too lofty about it can lead to your work b eing a living sacrifice.

    Like an act of worship. I've come to realize that as much as I believe I've made a positive impact, I'm sure I've made many, many mistakes. The position that one is in. The friends the associates God gives you unique opportunity to make that difference. I'm grateful all around because the perfectness of his plan, right?

    Ling Yah: And looking back, I suppose, one of the perfect plans that God had for you was through one of the difficult periods when your daughter fell ill.

    And I wonder if you could share that pivotal moment in your life. how'd you end up reading the Bible, discovering God during that time?

    Ooi Boon Hoe: Actually I got to tell you that you see, again, part of my belief part of his perfect plan is my brother, who you know, is a church elder.

    He came to the faith on his own. He didn't have. a big epiphanous violent, you know what I mean? Dramatic type of thing, and I often times ask, if maybe it would have been better, I was wiser like him.

    So anyway, he was the one that's always been saying to me, Hey, I pray for you.

    And I used to have all these questions for him, like your God, why some people can make it? Why other people can't? Why so unfair, that kind of stuff. And he would just say to me, look, God is gardener. You can argue all you want just because you don't believe, doesn't mean it's not true.

    And then of course, he had always been there more importantly, he always showed him to be such a good big brother, such a good son. So then I look and said hey, there 's something to it now because the God that he's honoring and following must be getting him to do some of the things that he does act the way he does.

    So this can't be bad, right? I mean, he was the start of a good ambassador as far as I could see. Didn't judge me. Tried to tell me right from wrong and prayed for me. Ministered to me. Bothered to keep in touch. He had been in America for some time because he was posted there.

    So. when my daughter fell sick, he spoke to his church and this is the first time I thought that the feel the love of God when he got, he's friends when he was in New York, he was at any church. They meet friends there. He got his friends in New York to pray for me and my family.

    He got his church in Singapore to pray for me and my family. And then I started to realise - what's this about the Christians that they bother to even pray for you? Have thoughts about you? And they don't even know you. This is the most amazing thing about our God, right? He gets any inspires people to love others in ways which cannot be normally explained by worldly secular terms.

    It's just not possible because I know I was never like that. I would never bother. Why would I bother nothing to do with me? That's the first glimpse of the love of God.

    And then when you asked me the question about how I started reading the Bible I wanted to believe, so my brother, I think he bought me my first and then I started to read it.

    And then pastor came to see me.

    I saw the pastor after many years my niece's wedding, just a few weekends ago. And I went up to him and I thanked him and he said he had read this Salt & Light article. It's quite fun. Everybody is so, so strengthened by their experience. He said, again the perfection of God's plan.

    Ling Yah: And that pastor was quite significant, right? Because at the time you were reading from Genesis and going slowly from the beginning. Yes.

    Ooi Boon Hoe: Yes, yes, yes, yes.

    This part about Pastor coming to see me and then talking and saying that start reading the Bible from the gospels and I will come back, hhe said, this time next week, and God would have spoken to you.

    And then I went and looked at him like yeah right. Okay. Actually, he said two things to me. He says Boon Hoe, I sense God very near you now. And I was going, right. And then he told me about this thing about God speaking to me.

    So anyway, that's me reading the Bible and then I got John and of course throughout the entire time, there was a lot of healing and the healing comfort me tremendously.

    But John 9 was the one that really spoke to me. Basically, John 9 is about the man who was born blind. And Jesus said his disciples were there. And the disciples asked, Jesus said, whereby is this man born blind? Is it because of his sins or his parents sins and all this? And Jesus said, no, he's not born blind for anybody sins is born blind so he can here and I will heal him so God can be glorified.

    And make a believer out of one of the men who was born blind for sure. And of me too. And then it struck me. It struck me. God is telling me I am God. And it is my pleasure for someone to be born blind, lived his life blind all the way until one moment in time that he can heal so that you guys can all talk about it.

    Then it is my pleasure, which then told me, wow, God, you are awesome for sure. While your ways are infinite and always are so finite and you don't fully understand this, people will go in and complain about how it's unfair for these men to have been born blind to his parents, but that's God's purpose. Fair or unfair in human eyes, right?

    Therefore we all have one fair or unfair in human eyes, but he will restore justice, I believe, to the righteous? Not because deserving, but because he loves us. He's our God. I don't think there's any other way around it, except to say that.

    Through John 9, I truly learned something quite profound, at least for me, because until then I had no real purpose. It was self gratification. It was pride. It was all of those things that you, there are a lot of people and I still do, succumb to.

    So that big revolution then led me to think about what is it I'm trying to do with my life and how is it I can honour him.

    I mean, that was the start of my faith journey la.

    Ling Yah: Did you feel like there was this burning desire to talk about your new faith and was it hard to do so in the workplace?

    Ooi Boon Hoe: What? Well, no, actually, it was not. Sometimes people hear other people talk about Christ and His love for us and their faith journey, et cetera, et cetera.

    And then we know that people on the receiving end, I used to be a bit like this, was "eh, stop trying to hard sell". And so I often tell some of these people who are a little bit more mature maybe and understanding. And really, you know, it's all about me being a friend of yours. And if I go to a good restaurant and I want to tell you, Hey, go and eat.

    There is good price is great value. It's the same thing. It's no different.

    We wishing the best for our friends and telling them about Christ. No difference. So from that perspective, it was done.

    But fully understanding also, and appreciating that before, when I was a recipient of such things and I was close to these ideas, I tended to find the hard selling, difficult to accept.

    So I was also very cautious about this, right. That I couldn't expect anybody to be converted just because I said so, but it didn't stop me from wanting to tell them the good news. We didn't want them to stop telling them that this is the best deal in town. Come on. We know that kind of thing.

    So there was a change, of course it's a fundamental shift, right? Felt like this new creation. But then , it's been 19 years and I, I'm still on the journey. I'm still learning each day. Well, maybe not each day, but through periods of experiences and times, and this faith journey is really far from over lah.

    Ling Yah: So speaking of deals in 2004 it's made an investment into Algeria and I wonder what it was like, sharing advice with Larry Lamb, who was very, very secular. And then you quote Matthew 18, 18 to him as well. How did it all go?

    Ooi Boon Hoe: Well I mean, the company that I had worked for was not a big one. And we had to find strategic pivots to the business that enabled us to survive more robustly financially because it was basically an engineering based company and therefore project based. You go from one project to the next thing.

    It can get them tiring because you go through periods of feast and famine, right?

    So what you want is a more secure services based business. That is contractual in nature over time. So these tend to be infrastructural in nature rather than engineering services per se. So we went from a Korean engineering services company to becoming over time, port operators, right?

    The port operations meant that you got long-term contracts and depending on the amount of cargo handle a more stable living. Call it that if you want.

    So one of the big expansions, which is a risky thing at a time, nobody else knows you willing to go.

    He brought a lot of Singapore expertise as a small listed company not withstanding, the Singapore exchange to Algeria. So the Singapore reputation was brought to bear in a positive way. So we were the first Singapore company to invest in Algeria. Now Algeria is a country that has a lot of oil. And that's the main revenue source.

    And at that time, oil was shooting up. Going towards a hundred dollars per barrel, et cetera, et cetera. So, they were doing okay. They normal expansion was powered a lot by oil revenues. So, economic expansion meant also consumption went up, which meant in imports went up, et cetera, et cetera.

    So getting into a concession, which is 20 years long, in a city to the east of Algers, wa s a breakthrough for us. It was a breakthrough for us. It also was a big investment for us and therefore a big risk. So everything to do with that deal needed a lot of attention and a lot of risk mitigation.

    So one of the things that was required at one time, was the negotiation for the JV agreement. And so that's when I spoke to Larry and I said, don't worry, it'll be okay. I prayed about it, , in the Bible and it's provided, you bind on earth is bound in heaven.

    You lose on earth, you lose in the heaven, , so I was trying to give him a confidence that the Lord is looking after us or at least, she will guide me as I try to help the company through this investment. Because then he will look at me and you want to show what I was talking about.

    So I felt a bit silly, know I felt a bit C, but I didn't, I just went on with it, did the work as best I could. And over time I guess I must've been guided in ways, which he saw were valuable for the business. Be cause one day. He mean business, , and the investment did well. And other things started to turn around.

    He looked at me and he said, whatever that you have going on with your God, it seems to be working out. So please continue, right?

    So that's the first time I realized that he has actually been watching how I behave, why I say what I say. He's observing it and he sees the impact of such things.

    And he attributes it, borrowed faith, I borrow my faith. And that's when I first realized that he's starting to belief.

    I mean, he never directly for whatever reason at the time anyway, or wasn't willing to not necessarily not daring to, that's borrowed faith, right?

    I mean, that's the first s tep of faith that you borrow somebody else's.

    If I look at a Christian and say, I believe what you're saying, because you are someone I believe I may not believe you're God, but I believe you actually just starting to believe in kids. God, because she's all her God is what's causing him or her to behave in the way that he or she is behaving.

    And then he did say to me once. He said, look, I guess you must be guided. Because you seem to engender trust. People seem to trust you. I'm not saying that happens all the time.

    I'm saying that happened then. Okay. So If one is God led and one fulfils as best as he or she can, his precepts can't go far wrong. People will see it. Even if they don't really want to believe it yet. And even if they don't at the end of their lives, believe it, they will not object to either believing it because it's coming from something good.

    You just don't know what his impact is. You've just got to leave that to him, but we just trust and we obey. So whatever small and big thing, we'll try to the best of our own ability to rely on him and to be led by him and to act in accordance to his precepts.

    The rest He will work out, lah. That's my firm belief. Not always easy, but that's what the faith journey is about.

    Ling Yah: And then in 2014, you eventually replaced Matthew Chan as CEO of Jurong Port, where you are now. I want to have that transition happened.

    Ooi Boon Hoe: Oh, wow. That was also an interesting, it's still hot. It's still happening now. And yes, there's an amazing amount of purpose I have found in this position because I really believe that Jurong Port has started and is in the process of fulfilling in my view, a lot of value creation and really what we call resilience enhancement of supply chains, especially in this era of three main things going on, like climate change, digitalization, and of course the pandemic.

    So it's a very open economy, Singapore. maritime supply chains are key, right? Martime supply chains are key for every country, even more so for Singapore but external trade is a few times our GDP. Maybe not maritime trade, but external trade for sure. But maritime trade is a large a large part of our external trade in Singapore.

    So being a port operator means that you are the nexus of s upply chains soundly specific commodities flow through the port. And if you have specific commodious or for the point being an operator means that you can influence, The rate in which these supply chains work, or we try to orchestrate the supply chains.

    We try to make them leaner and greener. We try to make them more resilient. And all of these things can add to the competitiveness of Singapore and add to the resilience of its supply chains in quite significant rates.

    As a port operator, the immediate waterfront is key because that's really what you're managing at. Its very basic. The interface between land and sea. But once you get that sorted, you can start to look at upstream and downstream value creation. so many ways I can just name you a few, in fact.

    We all know, for example, that Singapore is one of the largest hubs, It's got an anchorage that's big, anchorage that many vessels come and call and get bulkered, get supplied, come also for the loading and discharge of cargo, et cetera, et cetera. So all of these activities go on, but while they go on effectively, can these activities be more efficient? Can they be done with a lower carbon footprint? Can they be done with optimized supply chains, the minimum number of vessels that are needed at any given time, et cetera, et cetera, you can imagine the amount of optimization that can go on. Along the supply chains where port operators, such as Jurong Port have the ability to influence.

    So you can see how many of these things, if you like ah, will challenge a lot of status code. And if you want to challenge the status quo, you're quite deliberate, but inevitably you will be asking a lot of stakeholders, existing stakeholders to change the way they work.

    Now, this is not an easy endeavor. And it requires existing stakeholders, therefore to trust you. You, or any one counter party that this change will be brought about in a way, which enables the existing stakeholders to have a chance to cope with this change in a meaningful manner, enabling them to up their skills up their value add, up their quality of living.

    So this is where I believe a lot of how our God h as taught us to have regard for others to do unto others. To be humble. That really at the end of the day, none of this is your own real ability or effort. Everything comes from him anyway, right. So honestly think that it is through his teachings, through his presets, that one can best glean guidance on how to effect some of these changes in a way which enables this multi-stakeholder environment to move with the change that is good for everybody, but they may not be so easily welcome at this time.

    If people don't first believe that you are someone that means well, that wants to do the best. And wants to do unto others. D o you want to love your neighbor as ourselves.

    Ling Yah: One of the big changes was in 2016, you had this collaboration with Sunseap to create the world's largest port based facility.

    Was that a big challenge? Both internally and externally?

    Ooi Boon Hoe: Not really. That one was a lot easier in a sense that, from an economic argument point of view, do you have roof spaces that are not otherwise utilized? And, let's be honest. I mean, this was a little bit before this whole climate change agenda took on such pace lah, if you like.

    But yes, I mean, you think about it from a God's precepts point of view. It only makes sense, right? Because it's the right thing to do. There is really no argument about it. But from an organizational point of view, you just want to make sure that whether they decide to cooperate with is the best party that deserves to be cooperated with Then our organization can also say that, , we'll tick that box.

    And in that particular venture, it was quite clear that just use the space, optimize it in a way, which makes sense for everybody. And we shouldn't create win-wins for everybody. I think that's, part of God's kingdom, right?

    Want to create win-win so that everybody can have a growth mentality. Everybody can have a to be generous.

    Ling Yah: And another thing I noticed is that you've said before you plan to create another ecosystem centered around LNG. And I wonder you could share how Jurong pla ns to harness energy for it's cold energy. How does it all work?

    Ooi Boon Hoe: Woah.

    The impact of climate change. I am sure you will also know lights it's beyond any one of us and it's irreversible. And, , we really, really need to get our act together, but it's just me talking la.

    But for us to get our act together, we really need the entire community to work together.

    And you come back down to this idea. Again, one needs to change the way we operate. And for that to happen, a lot of darts have to be lined up and for that to happen, well, the whole idea about multi-stakeholder engagement in ways in which are guided, because our God is a generous God.

    Our god is one who if you follow his precepts, you will create trust. You will engender trust you work. You will also extend trust. And that's what we need in this. Multi-state what that environment, because nobody really wants to be on the losing end.

    A situation where they're the win-win everybody sees the upside, even with everybody has gets some pain. In the meantime, it will work over time. Because they trust that, correctly motivated people are leading this change. Now LNG, a lot of people say is a transitional fuel. It's cleaner than your other fossil fuel but it's a fossil fuel lah.

    Natural gas when liquified, requires a lot of energy. Now that same energy is just wasted. If you just allow the LNG to go up to ambient temperature and then it becomes natural gas again for the purposes of burning, so that it produces energy. So one of our ideas is that natural gas and it's not a new idea, can be the cold energy when it's brought up from a minus 163 degrees Celsius, I believe back to zero again or back to Emmet temperature, this cold energy, can be stored. And this same kind of cold energy can be used for refrigeration, in the coal chains.

    Even in, for example, minus 80 degrees for, I don't know, vaccines, for example. So it means that you don't have to use additional energy for refrigeration. This energy already exists. We just have to find a way to capture it, store it, and apply it because this is free. It's already been spent. So that's part of the optimization.

    That's one of the ideas anyway.

    So the idea over time is that you see some of the berths at Jurong P ort can be optimized for other things. We are a multipurpose port operator.

    One of the means by which natural gas or LNG can be distributed to various parts of the world especially in the region that may not have very large CapEx, intensive and LNG receiving terminals, is using container terminals to receive natural gas or LNG that comes to ISO tanks.

    So if you have LNG start at JP, this LNG can be transferred to ISO tanks, which is a container. And because we have container cranes, they can be put on ships and this ship can go to various places taking this LNG to places that can run their I guess, turbines on natural guests and as opposed to other philosophies, which are not as clean.

    Natural gas is the cleanest of the fossil fuels. but they can't receive LNG unless they have a big receiving terminal or they have a container that can tick the boxes. Then this energy in isotanks, which we can distribute. Because you need the facilities like that. So in that way, we not only have business around LNG has got to do with helping neighboring countries receive LNG, without having huge CapEx expenditure on LNG receiving terminals, then you can also use that cold energy, like I explained to you earlier and other possible users of the LNG, for example, for bunkering, because one of the fuels that apart from fuel oil, which is another one of the liquid chills, LNG is cleaner.

    So you can help it being used on ships. You can be distributed to the region so that smaller populations can have access to LNG. You can use it for cold energy. So this is an ecosystem lifelah effectively. The same thing, several economic pillars to support the business and all to help the environment anyway.

    Ling Yah: I heard in an interview that with Money FM 89.3, that the thing that keeps you up at night is safety. The port of Singapore has remained open during the entire COVID pandemic, where safety is a main concern. I wonder how your operations, the way you run the company has been impacted.

    Ooi Boon Hoe: Yeah. I mean, I think everyone's been impacted one way or the other, but definitely the operations. We have a lot more segregation now. So the ability to optimize across teams and everything else is limited or constrained by the fact that you've got to keep teams separate and as much as possible, even individual separate.

    So separate, you have to, you know there's a lot of considerations. One of expense going into these segregation measures and then all the testing and everything. So now we are grateful as a whole, I think how government has taken a strong lead, in ensuring that the nation follows in being as safe as possible.

    It's a very deliberate, very calibrated, taking into consideration of all the requirements from an economic impact to, impact on our healthcare system that just sticks chains and you know, for the delivery of vaccines.

    Everything from prioritizing, who should get what first. If you talked about having to wait five hours. I didn't really wait, can I wait half an hour but that's ok lah.

    We're having achieved one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.

    So all these things have done well, so that w e take the lead. A lot of us, we just take the lead and of course, on our own, given our own specific conditions, we also maybe go one or two steps beyond to make sure that our conditions are just as protected as anybody else's for that matter or even more so, because our conditions are not going to be our unique muscle.

    So yes, I have quite a good team as well. So as a whole, I will say that our entire system is pretty well. Nothing to be complacent about. There's always going to be a chance something else can be around. But we've always Jurong Port, said to ourselves, we have to be ahead of the curve. Ahead of the curve.

    So many things since the beginning of this pandemic, we try to see what's next, what's next?

    And then try to get it before that event actually turns out and then causes damage because we would have been there with the precautions in place already prevent any fall out, even though that event there was a high probability of evangelizing actually the present.

    Ling Yah: Do you feel that you have found your why?

    Ooi Boon Hoe: I believe I do. I do have my purpose and I'm grateful to the Lord for having given me this. Truly. I cannot imagine my life without it.

    Ling Yah: What kind of legacy would you like to leave behind?

    Ooi Boon Hoe: What legacy? Actually, I. I just share this with you as much as I often tell myself, I pray about, even I say, look, no pride, all glory and honor belongs to him. You have what you have. You don't have what you don't have for his purpose, his pleasure.

    So you just do your bit and the rest, , leave it to him. So legacy is really in my mind. So, yeah, it's also a bit of a pride thingy.

    But I'm also old lah, which is the next one I'm going to make. And therefore there is a little bit of me, human says, well, , I want to remember as the guy who did this or did that, then I stop myself.

    And I sort of say aiya, the only legacy that I would want is for the people I've interacted with to know that is our God. that is the one true God or at least that belief was made possible through some of the actions that I have undertaken as his disciple. that's the only legacy I would want, frankly.

    Yeah la. Somebody says Boon Hoe has been able to successful because he has got this God behind him. That's it. Not because Boon Hoe is of any real significance.

    Ling Yah: And what do you think are the most important qualities of a successful person?

    Ooi Boon Hoe: For you to believe in Christ. That's that's what I think. I believe so.

    Believe in Christ. Trust in His way. And if you are obedient and we are trusting, He will take care of things and you will be successful, loh.

    Ling Yah: And that was the end of episode 59. The show notes and transcript can be found at www.sothisismywhy.com/59. Alongside a link to subscribe to the weekly newsletter for this podcast.

    And stay tuned for next time. Because we will be meeting one of the most highly regarded and successful commercial barrister clerks, and what it's like working in the less known world, baristas clerking for some of the world's best legal minds, including a former chief justice of England and Wales, his love of flying and owning airplanes, the realities of managing the finances and relationships off the chamber, why he moved to Singapore, and what he intends to do moving.

    Want to learn more?

    See you next Sunday.

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