Tan Lee Tuan Engineers Smart Walking Sticks
What’s your story?
I had been talking to machines for about 12 years when I was an engineer in the Marine Industry. Then, I swapped industries and went into furniture design, and was based in China for about 3 years. I came back to Singapore without a plan.
After prayers and reading, “The Purpose Driven Life” by Pastor Rick Warren, the message became very clear to me – I was to use my engineering skills to help the elderly!
In my pursuit of a purpose-driven life, I set up Bekind Solutions to develop and market products to inject vibrancy into the life of the elderly.
What excites you most about your industry?
The market potential! Baby boomers are getting older and they demand more in what a product can offer.
Most of the products and services that are designed for eldercare are mainly focused on basic functionality, designs that had not changed in ages. By simply considering the psychological needs of the elderly, we can unleash design potential in this segment of the market.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I am a Singaporean and not a day has gone by without a taste of Spicy Asian food.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I have travelled and worked in more than 40 countries around the world. I am biased and will suggest that Singapore be my favourite city in Asia. I find its business landscape to be very efficient and predictable and, most importantly, there is an unspoken need for integrity at its core.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“For David … served the purpose of God in his own generation!” Acts 13:36.
From being employed to being deployed; we too should find our purpose in life and enjoy the challenges assigned to us. The above biblical advice allows me to look at what I do differently.
Who inspires you?
There are many people that inspire me and I do not know most of their names. Generally, I am inspired by people who spend many years of their life refining their craft.
One person that inspires me is Ravi Zacharias who was an Indian-born Canadian-American apologist who has recently passed away. He often mentions these words in his speeches around the world:
“…Please get me out of this hospital bed well, and I promise I will leave no stone unturned in my pursuit of truth.” His actions were very in-line with his words.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I observed some similarities between a very small country and a very small company. I saw Singapore’s foreign policy, and the business and marketing strategy of a start-up as being very similar. One of the obvious similarities is that when you are very small, it is strategically important to be friendly and make yourself useful to everyone.
I learnt quite a lot from Bilahari Kausikan, who was a former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Singapore. He was often referred to as “Singapore’s undiplomatic diplomat,” and is known in recent years for commenting extensively on Singapore’s foreign affairs.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I don’t really know. I might improve on some painful mistakes I made, and be more kind to others in spirit, words and actions.
One of the main reasons I named my company “Bekind Solutions” is to be a constant reminder to myself and my team to be kind to others.
How do you unwind?
I listen to a YouTube video when I do my evening walk or jog. In order to minimise the ambient noise of the street, I enjoy listening to the program with headphones, or will choose a quieter path.
I drink coffee and do a reflection. It is often intriguing as we look back and ruminate on the different perspectives of the world around us.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
The mountains in Malaysia. It is cool and quiet and it helps me clear my thoughts.
Everyone in business should read this book:
“The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?” by Pastor Rick Warren.
According to both the author and publisher, Simon & Schuster, 50 million copies had been sold in more than 85 languages by 2020.
Shameless plug for your business:
We make the best Smart Walking Sticks.
Our collections have won a few prestigious awards, namely:
Eldercare Innovation Award 2018
Singapore Good Design Award 2019
German Design Award 2020
We have been featured in all major media in Singapore including a CNA Documentary on how our thoughtful innovation has helped the elderly with Dementia.
Age Gracefully Smart Walking Sticks are available on-line (www.agegracefully.shop), and in most of the hospital and rehab shops in Singapore. Our thoughtful Walking Cane/ Aid has recently been made available in Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Japan.
Make a Smart Move, Give A Smart Gift.
How can people connect with you?
Checkout our websites to know more about the thought process behind the design of our amazing Smart Walking Sticks, and Tips for selecting a suitable one for your loved one.
My Twitter handle is: https://twitter.com/Agegracefullysh
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connects’ series of more than 1000 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.