From The Straits Times    |

Even from the tender age of eight, Ng Ling Ling, former managing director of the Community Chest often pondered about the meaning of life. To find her calling in life, Ling Ling took the leap of faith and left her cushy job in the financial sector for the social service sector in 2001.

The 46-year-old who has always been wise beyond her years has been named this year’s Her World Woman of the Year (WOTY).

Ling Ling was the managing director of the Community Chest for five years until this June. During her stint, Comchest, which supports more than 80 charities, rallied 240 social service organisations to raise a record of $800 million in donations through the Care and Share Movement that was launched as part of the nation’s SG50 celebrations.

Her work also helped to increase Comchest’s donations from an average of $40 million to $50 million annually.

“If I have influenced or encouraged one young person to believe in social service and the cause of giving (that would be my greatest accomplishment),” shared Ling Ling when asked about her greatest accomplishment.

Ling Ling, who is the Director for Community Engagement and Head for Projects of Future Primary Care at the Ministry of Health Office for Healthcare Transformation, was presented the award as part of an annual event that has been honouring exceptional women in our society since 1991.

Past recipients include President Madam Halimah Yacob, architect Angelene Chan and social worker Dr Sudha Nair.

This year, the Her World Young Woman Achiever (YWA) award went to 33-year-old Olivia Lee, industrial designer and founder of Olivia Lee, her eponymous company.

Olivia was named one of eight promising designers from around the world at last year’s Salone Del Mobile Milano furniture fair, which is known for kickstarting the careers of many young designers.

Despite being considered a young designer in her field, she has worked with international clients, including electronics giant Samsung, Scottish whisky distillery Balvenie, French fashion house Hermes, and The British Council, as well as for the popular iLight Marina Bay Festival.

While fear is a normal emotion that all of us face, both award recipients agreed that it should not be a debilitating emotion and you can overcome your fears and use it to achieve your goals and dreams.

According to Ling Ling, when seeking help for the disadvantaged, there should not be any shame or fear – this is something that she learnt from her “father at work”, her chairman at Community Chest, Mr. Phillip Tan. 

She added, “the thing that holds people back (from extending their kindness), is the fear of being taken advantage of or taken for granted. But my philosophy has always been, I rather be cheated than miss an opportunity to help. Even if you’ve been taken advantage of once, by that attitude of kindness, I think it’s okay if you are able to help three others.”

Speaking about her decision to leave her well-paying job at the Economic Development Board to establish her design studio in Singapore, Olivia shared that, “it isn’t the absence of fear that drives (her). It’s simply that: the fear of not trying, exceeds the fear of trying.”

These two ladies have certainly been fearless in their pursuit of their goals and aspirations in life. Well done ladies and congratulations on your win!