FF Daily #397: The Lee Kuan Yew approach

June 14, 2021: Can vaccination help Long Covid patients; Edward de Bono and the Art of Thinking; Cultivate friendship

Founding Fuel

[By Smuconlaw., CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

Good morning,

If you would like to understand the ideas of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding father, you won’t be disappointed by Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World. It’s an interesting book in the form of questions and answers, but it’s not an interview in the traditional sense. The authors/editors of the book, Graham Allison and Robert D. Blackwill, and Ali Wyne, have also selected and organised extracts from his other interviews over the years. For example, the following two extracts from the last chapter of the book are drawn from two other books Lee Kuan Yew: The Man and His Ideas (which is a collection of his interviews and speeches) and Conversations with Lee Kuan Yew, a collection of interviews by Tom Plate. 

“I would describe myself, in perhaps European terms, as between socialist and conservative. I would put myself as a liberal. As someone who believes in equal opportunities so that everybody gets an equal chance to do his best, and with a certain compassion to ensure that the failures do not fall through the floor…I want to run the system as efficiently as possible, but make allowances for those who will not be doing well because nature did not give them enough, or they cannot make that extra effort…I am a liberal in the classical sense of that word, in that I am not fixated on a particular theory of the world or of society. I am pragmatic. I am prepared to look at the problem and say, all right, what is the best way to solve it that will produce the maximum happiness and well-being for the maximum number of people?

“My life is not guided by philosophy or theories. I get things done and leave others to extract the principles from my successful solutions. I do not work on a theory. Instead, I ask: what will make this work? If, after a series of solutions, I find that a certain approach worked, then I try to find out what was the principle behind the solution. So Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, I am not guided by them…I am interested in what works…Presented with the difficulty or major problem or an assortment of conflicting facts, I review what alternatives I have if my proposed solution does not work. I choose a solution which offers a higher probability of success, but if it fails, I have some other way. Never a dead end.”

In this issue

  • Can vaccination help Long Covid patients?
  • Edward de Bono and the Art of Thinking
  • Cultivate friendship

Have a great week ahead.

Can vaccination help Long Covid patients?

One of the tragic consequences of Covid-19 is a condition called Long Covid characterised by fatigue, pain, shortness of breath, brain fog and stomach problems. It affects only a small percentage of those who get infected, but severity can be high, and the medical fraternity has been perplexed. 

While it looked like it might stretch into years, perhaps throughout life, there seems to be some good news in the recent past. Some Long Covid patients have reported improvement. But it remains a mystery. 

The latest issue of Time Magazine throws light on one interesting facet of the puzzle. The magazine reports: 

“Covid-19 vaccination seems to help in some cases. Akiko Iwasaki, an immunobiologist at the Yale University School of Medicine who is studying how Covid-19 vaccines available in the US affect Long Covid patients, says getting a shot seems to lessen symptoms, at least a little bit, for some sufferers. But some people feel no relief, and others feel worse, she says.

“Iwasaki and her team are taking blood and saliva samples from Long Covid patients before and after vaccination to monitor changes in their immune responses. By comparing those results with any changes in symptoms, her team hopes to determine if vaccination can help lead to recovery. It’s possible that the vaccine-prompted immune response overrides the body’s attacks on itself, or that vaccine-produced antibodies help clear any lingering remnants of the virus, Iwasaki says, but as of now, those are just hypotheses. Depending on what she and her team find, the research could be impactful not only for Long Covid sufferers, she says, but also for people with ME/CFS [myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome] and other post-viral illnesses.”

Dig deeper

Edward de Bono and the Art of Thinking

We are all familiar with lateral thinking (employing unorthodox means to solve a problem), six thinking hats (representing factual, emotional, creative, negative, positive and big picture aspects of an issue or a problem). Edward de Bono, the guru behind these ideas, passed away on June 9, aged 88. 

An obituary in The Guardian captures his education and the genesis of his quirky and hugely influential ideas. The newspaper writes:   

“He qualified as a doctor at the Royal University of Malta before going to Christ Church, Oxford, as a Rhodes scholar to study for a master’s in psychology and physiology (1957), and a DPhil in medicine (1961). There, he represented the university in both polo and rowing, and set two canoeing records, one for paddling 112 miles from Oxford to London nonstop.

“Following graduation he worked at Oxford as a research assistant and then a lecturer, taught at the University of London and became a lecturer in medicine at Cambridge (1976-83), where he did his PhD. During this time he also taught at Harvard, and set up his School of Thinking in New York, in 1980. He recalled how these experiences led him to his later work: ‘In medicine I was dealing with self-organising systems such as the glands, kidneys, respiration and circulation, and I started to ask myself what would happen if the same principles were applied to the brain. From psychology came an interest in thinking, and from computers an interest in the types of perceptual and creative thinking that computers couldn’t do.’”

Dig deeper

Still curious?

Cultivate friendship

Here’s a unique rendition of a Sanskrit verse that the famed Carnatic singer MS Subbulakshmi sang at the United Nations in 1966. It was composed by Shri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, then the pontiff of Kanchi Mutt. 

Cultivate Friendship and Humanity, 
which will conquer the Hearts of Everyone.
Look upon others as similar to yourself.
Renounce war
Forsake (unhealthy) competition
Forgo unrightful aggression or acquiring by force
Mother Earth yields all that we require
God, our father, is most compassionate

In this, Sudha Raghunathan brought together 46 other top carnatic musicians to present the song. 

If you would like to watch/listen to the original from MS, here it is.

What’s helping you get through these tough times? Send us the song, poem, quote that is your balm now. And we will share it through this newsletter.

And if you missed previous editions of this newsletter, they’re all archived here.

Bookmark Founding Fuel’s special section on Thriving in Volatile Times. All our stories on how individuals and businesses are responding to the pandemic until now are posted there.

Warm regards,

Team Founding Fuel

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Founding Fuel

Founding Fuel aims to create the new playbook of entrepreneurship. Think of us as a hub for entrepreneurs- the go-to place for ideas, insights, practices and wisdom essential to build the enterprise of tomorrow. It is co-founded by veteran journalists Indrajit Gupta and Charles Assisi, along with CS Swaminathan, the former president of Pearson's online learning venture.

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