So This Is My Why | Issue 19

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Hey STIMYers!

Welcome to Issue 19 of the STIMY Newsletter featuring Dato’ Thomas Lee – founding part of Lee Hishamuddin Allen & Gledhill, and son of Tun HS Lee – Malaysia’s 1st Finance Minister!

But before that, if you’re here for the first time or would like to have this weekly newsletter delivered straight to you, click the Subscribe Now button below!

This week’s episode is really dear to me as it features STIMY’s most senior guest to date: at 83-years-old, Dato Thomas has a really unique perspective of Malaysian history, being the son of Malaysia’s first Finance Minister, colleagues with Malaysia’s 3rd Prime Minister (he grew up knowing the 1st & 2nd Malaysian Prime Minister too) & entering the Malaysian legal society during its nascent years, no long after Malaysia’s independence.

Also, STIMY is taking a break this week as I’m in the middle of conducting 6 interviews in the next 7 days! (But they’re possibly some of the most exciting guests from Malaysia to the US to Nepal, but research is intense so I’ve decided to be a little kind to myself). 😊

STIMY Ep 49: Dato’ Thomas Lee

Dato Thomas Mun Lung Lee [Founding Partner, Lee Hishamuddin Allen & Gledhill, son of Tun HS Lee.- Malaysia's first Finance Minister]

Dato’ Thomas Mun Lung Lee is a Senior Partner & founding member of Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill – one of the largest law firms in Malaysia.

He was also Chairman of AIA Public Takaful Bhd & AIA Malaysia Berhad, had directorships at AIG Malaysia Insurance Berhad, was a member of the Appeals Committee of Bursa Malaysia Berhad and Chairman and Non-Executive Director Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd & Alliance Merchant Bank Berhad. He also served on the Board of UMW Holdings Berhad, Saujana Resort (M) Berhad and Bank of America Malaysia Berhad.

In addition, Dato’ Thomas was an arbitrator with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Lausanne, Switzerland and a member of the Ad Hoc Panel of Arbitrators at the 1988 Commonwealth games at KL, the Commonwealth Games 2006 at Melbourne, the Olympic Games 2000 at Sydney, Olympic Games 2008 at Beijing & Olympic Games 2012 at London.

Last but not least, he is also the son of Tun HS Lee – Malaysia’s first Finance Minister!

​In this episode, we cover Dato’ Thomas’ life story, beginning with his earliest memories (of air raid sirens & bombs dropping over Kuala Lumpur!) to then fleeing to India after the Japanese placed a bounty on his father’s head, and how he eventually made his way to the UK with his brother for his studies at the age of 13.

And his fascinating legal career, which included being colleagues with Tun Hussein Onn (who eventually became Malaysia’s 3rd Prime Minister) & Chan Sek Keong (who became the 3rd Chief Justice of Singapore).


  • 1:57: Earliest memories of air raid sirens & bombs
  • 2:40: Fleeing to India
  • 7:52: Living under the British imposed emergency rule during the height of the communist insurgency
  • 9:42: Travelling to the UK from Malaysia via a 3-week boat through the Suez Canal
  • 14:14: Being guided to study law at St John’s, Cambridge University
  • 16:29: Working as a tourist guide at Costa Brava, Spain
  • 18:36: Completing a pupillage at 2 Crown Office in the 1950/60s
  • 27:20: What KL & the Malaysian legal scene was like in the 1960s
  • 28:54: Beginning his career in debt collection
  • 30:34: Seeing Bannon & Bailey dissolve in 1963 & joining Skrine & Co
  • 31:15: Why Dato’ Thomas wanted to be like John Skrine
  • 32:19: “Don’t harbour a grudge. Life is too short for that.” – John Skrine
  • 34:24: Working in the same pupil batch as Hussein Onn
  • 36:12: Impact of 13 May 1969
  • 37:57: Royal Selangor Golf Club
  • 39:30: What Tunku Abdul Rahman was like in person
  • 40:29: What Tun Dr Ismail was like in person
  • 41:06: Setting up of Lee Hishammuddin in 1993
  • 44:06: Turning down 2 offers to join the judiciary (including the Court of Appeal!)
  • 45:03: Whether he ever felt pressured by his father’s legacy

You can listen to Dato’ Thomas Lee’s episode in full on: STIMY Website, Spotify, Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Listen Notes

Looking for past STIMY guests ? Check out:

STIMY Episode 35 features Chye Neo Chong: the ex-CEO & MD of IBM Malaysia, who was also the first female to reach the highest managerial position!

Favourite Finds of the Week

Article: Experience of Testing Positive for COVID-19

Given the recent total lockdown/rise of positive cases in Malaysia, I thought this was an interesting article as it shares how the writer tested positive (after an initial two negative tests) and her experience thereafter that included goign to the CAC (COVID Assessment Centre).

​Extraordinarily detailed & insightful – though I hope no one ever needs to make use of this information! Stay home, stay safe, everyone. 😊

Person: Patrick Cabral (@darkgravity)

Patrick Cabral (@darkgravity)

I recently discovered this wonderful Filipino artist who makes the most incredible & intricate paper-based work.

What’s interesting is that he is also getting into the NFT field, which he charts online. But the above is still my absolute favourite.​

P/S: One of STIMY’s upcoming guest also does gorgeous paper-cutting art but of a different kind.

The Late Late Show with James Corden

The global pandemic caused an immediate overhaul of the format of US late night TV shows. None more so than the Late Late Show with James Corden, where he spent 4 months broadcasting from his garage, before returning to the studio but with a difference: there are no live audiences, but the crew is now actively featured in the show.

Why do I mention this?

Because in recent weeks, the CBS Senior VP of Late Night Programming, Nick Bernstein, joined the crew, and it’s been such fun watching the crew banter, pushing the boundaries (by trying to get free stuff & cruise rides! To the chagrin of the CBS marketing team), & Nick’s soaring online popularity (from 20 to 3,000 LinkedIn views).

So I reached out asking if Nick would be open to an interview on STIMY… and he said yes!!! 😅

Here are some episodes that I would recommend watching if you’d like to know what’s been happening with the Late Late crew (specifically, Nick):

  • 4 May 2021 – We’ve Got a VIP Back in the Studio – Nick’s first appearance on the show (after 14 months of working from home), where he is introduced & is immediately put in a high chair. The chair got incrementally higher until his head almost hits the ceiling at the end of the week!
  • 14 May 2021 – Are we getting too comfortable as a show? – possibly my most favourite episode, showcasing the crew’s love of free GAP clothes (brilliant!) & an amazing musical intro to the news segment by Steve the keyboardist
  • 19 May 2021 – What are we even allowed to talk about now? – after pushing the boundaries for quite awhile, promoting brands that have no sponsorship agreement with CBS (oh, the horror!), the crew finally got a talking to by the big cheeses. And you can see how they’re clearly quite salty about it. 🤣

Meet the Drapers

I recently discovered this show during my research for an upcoming STIMY guest, Kendrick Nguyen, who is the co-founder of one of the top US equity crowdfunding platform called Republic.

Meet the Drapers features the Draper family (famous VC family) & guest judges (one of them included Kendrick!) and every episode, 3 startup founders pitch their companies to the judges. It’s the kind version of Shark Tank and what’s unique is that for anyone listening, if you liked the companies, you can go onto Republic and invest in those companies yourself!

I’ve inserted the link below to the episode where Kendrick was featured, which showcases pitches from a curated wedding vendor platform, a crowdsourced driven platform that uses AI to customise art for collectors/businesses & a P2P sports-betting platform.

Upcoming STIMY Guests

  • Nick Bernstein: Senior Vice President, Late Night Programming at ViacomCBS (including the Late Late Show with James Corden), and previously worked on other late night shows like the Jay Leno & Conan O’Brien shows.

Also, do you know anyone with an interesting/inspiring story? Or someone whose backstory you’d love to hear?

Feel free to hit me up @ sothisismywhy(at) 😊

Until next week!

Ling Yah

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