More about Kenneth
Kenneth Kwan is a high-performance strategist and motivational speaker. Based in Singapore, he says it is a very multicultural country where everyone is different. He works with a lot of different people and moves them from problem thinking to solution thinking.
What do you think the challenges are in building a more harmonious South Africa?
From a foreigner’s perspective, Kenneth speaks about how he feels South Africa can benefit from more integration when it comes to housing and living. “People are still generally living separately, and once people from different cultures live side by side, there will be more understanding,” says Kenneth.
Kenneth notes that in Singapore, about 80% of people reside in public housing and that it is not something that is seen for families from lower income communities only. “We also have a policy where any certain race cannot buy more than a certain percentage of the housing. Therefore, we live in a community where there aren’t any vast differences between our neighbours and us,” explains Kenneth.
Kenneth continues by saying that in Singapore, they don’t talk about anything negative regarding race or religion. “Everyone only shares and talks about the good things and focuses on the positives of the country,” says Kenneth. He continues y explaining that although Singapore has faced challenges of its own, in his opinion, people move closer to racial harmony by talking about the positive things and sharing love amongst one another. Kenneth thinks that this should be implemented in the educational system and start from a young age. He continues by saying that children should be brought up in a way where they understand each other, regardless of race or culture. According to Kenneth, this can only be achieved if they are brought up in an integrated community. “There won’t be any misunderstandings, because there will be no real difference between people while growing up,” says Kenneth.
How do you and your organisationengage in this process of change?
Kenneth runs a training organisation where he helps people solve difficult problems. He understands that no one can fix a hundred things at the same time, so Kenneth tries to help people look beyond the chaos of their immediate problem and allow them to go into a state of possibility thinking. “What do you want?” he would ask them. “We all ultimately want something. So, I help people shift the conversation to look at the bigger picture and how to achieve that end goal. There are a lot of broad terms used here, but in the process of change and achieving success, like understanding each other better or a more harmonious South Africa – we need to start looking at the small things. We need to look into the specific things we can do on a daily basis,” Kenneth explains.
How do you see the way forward?
For the way forward, Kenneth believes that people need to focus on what’s working as opposed to what isn’t. Kenneth emphasises that one should focus on the small things that are good and working. This will create positive energy that spreads throughout a country, which ultimately, makes a huge difference. Kenneth continues by saying that you need to focus on the small victories and remind yourself that “Things are not perfect – but we are moving forward.”
Can you briefly name a few of the opportunities you had while growing up?
From a young age, the church taught Kenneth how to love and how to love people for who they are and not what they do. “The church had a big impact on my life while growing up. It gave me a sense of value that I’ve carried throughout my life,” says Kenneth.
He continues, “Secondly, I think coming from a different culture has shaped me into who I am. Singapore is a very small country and packed with people,” says Kenneth. Kenneth says that living in Singapore has taught him a lot about being considerate. “It’s a beautiful thing because an Asian country always thinks about what effects the community. We are all in this together so everything we do, we need to consider how it affects our neighbour and our community. It’s a culture where the focus is on the community as opposed to yourself – which I think is a valuable thing to have learnt,” he says.
Lastly, Kenneth notes that the fact that he was able to start a business at a young age allowed him to see the world as a place that is filled with possibilities.
Any words of advice to those who feel as if all hope is gone?
Kenneth urges South Africans to consider being a community that believes in the future. He believes that a sense of community is important because it allows us to believe in more than just ourselves. “Being part of a community allows us to share the love and hope with each other and build each other up. These small things will go a long way,” Kenneth explains.
Kenneth urges people to celebrate the small things because some things are simply just out of our control. “Shift your focus from the things that you can’t change to the things that you can change,” says Kenneth. Kenneth mentions that when he visited South Africa, he was impressed by the resilience of the country and the strong South African spirit. Kenneth concludes by saying, “Singapore is only 50 years old, and we built it into a first world country – because of the people and their spirit. I see that same spirit and power in South Africa, the power to achieve all things.”