Message from President Lee Hsien Wong (1993-2000)
What an incredible 25 years it’s been. Where does the time go? What started out as a handful of friends and businessmen from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China, interested in protecting the environment, has turned into an organization of more than 600 companies, spanning all of Asia. Even for me, who was there at the beginning and have been to almost every meeting in the past 25 years, it’s still hard to believe.
When we held our first “meeting” in Singapore 25 years ago, we could never have dreamed that our core values would turn into the AAESC. And those values were centered around one idea. That the environment is worth protecting and that business plays a critical role in protecting the environment.
What we didn’t know at that first meeting in 1993, was that things were about to change in Asia. And to be perfectly honest, none of us saw the future clearly. We were just a group of somewhat successful businessmen who liked to fish, to travel. But we saw the beginnings of the impact that Asia’s rise was having on the environment and we wanted to protect the future for our children and grandchildren.
In the 1990’s many people talked about the “Asian Century” but who can really take such talk seriously. But Asia did move forward, in ways we never expected. And with booming economies, rising incomes, and a modern lifestyle, came much more serious and negative impacts on the environment.
And with Asia’s booming economy, the environmental impact became more pronounced. But environmental services companies across Asia rose to meet the challenge. They fought hard, they lobbied hard. They looked to each other for new ideas, new technologies, and support. They banded together to fight for a common cause. And that handful of friends who met in Singapore in 1993 grew into the 600-member organization you know today.
I am not as young as I once was, considering I was more than 50 at our first meeting. But I still try to attend some of the regional forums and trade shows, meeting old friends and colleagues, talking about the industry and old times.
But what I most enjoy is meeting all of our younger members. Young engineers and managers, working for companies that didn’t even exist in 1993, working with technology we could have only dreamed of. Talking to these young people, all full of hope and energy, makes me happy. Because the future of the AAESC belongs to our newest members. It is these young people that will take us through the next 25 years and beyond. It is these young people who will have the most profound impact on protecting the “Asia” that we love.
I want to congratulate the Board of Directors and President Siebert on the AAESC’s 25-year anniversary and I give you my warmest and most sincere best wishes for the future.
Lee Hsien Wong
AAESC President (1993-2000)