He is a man who wears many hats – chief executive of the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre, director of Caritas, Nominated MP, governor of Lien Foundation, husband and father of three.
But what diners at Crossings Café, who attended a talk by him recently, were really hoping to get to know was Laurence Lien the person – specifically the Catholic behind the public face.
Prompted by moderator Winifred Loh, Mr Lien shared about his life with some 60 diners at the Crossings Centre café located at Waterloo St on June 19, as part of CANA’s Talk of the Town series.
He spoke about his early years, and of the people who were pivotal in shaping him. One was a friend from his parish who mentored him and challenged him to tap on his gifts to the fullest; another was a tutor, the wife of a Christian pastor who taught him beyond books and who also introduced him to his patron saint, St Lawrence.
Mr Lien, 43, shared that as he is familiar with Ignatian spirituality, discernment plays a big part in his life and guides him when making major decisions.
To a question from the audience on what it means to be a Catholic in the public sphere, Mr Lien replied that as an NMP he is conscious that he is representing not himself but a broad group of people. Being an NMP, he felt is a good starting point, a place to make a difference without being tied to a party, leaving him free to follow his own conscience.
Questions he constantly poses to himself when faced with an issue are: What do I care about? What does the Church care about? What do the people care about?
Mr Lien also spoke passionately about the “Singaporeans Against Poverty” campaign, a project launched last year by Caritas and its partners. It aims to raise awareness of poverty in Singapore despite the nation’s economic growth.
Mr Lien said he had witnessed an overwhelming response to calls for aid and seen many private groups at work within the community.
He added that he is optimistic about the next generation, that they would take steps to provide help.
Mr Lien encouraged his audience to discover their own passions in life that would allow them to contribute to positive change in society. He also asked them to pray with him as he discerns the next step in his life.
By Carolyn Seow