Buddha's words

Buddha's words
My inspiration. We are what we think, All that we are arises from our thoughts, With our thoughts we make the world. Photo copyright Sean Duggan

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I survived the CEO SleepOut

I survived the CEO Sleepout on 17 June 2010. It was held at the WACA.

I have to confess that I was quite worried  that it would be difficult. The first thing I did was to borrow a good sleeping bag from Pierre Yang, a lawyer who works for me.

Getting ready for the night, I decided that I needed a good dinner before going to the WACA. At 5 pm, I had lamb shanks and a glass of red wine at a cafe in Hay St. It was a $50 meal but I felt fortified and ready for the night. I felt so guilty after the meal. Hunger is one of the major experience expected for the night.

At 7pm. I proceeded to the registration desk at the WACA.

                                       Raymond Tan at the checkin at WACA

There were 99 CEOs registered for the night. We were given some soup and roll  for the night. The evening then continued with speeches from some homeless persons who gave us an insight into their experiences.

We managed to do some net working while preparing for the night.

I got busy video taping interviews of some of the participating CEOs. It was great to see and talk to other CEOs who have the same interest in helping the homeless. I was especially touched by the life story of one of the CEOs  who is now managing partner of a large accounting firm in Perth. Bryant revealed how he was also a homeless person in his youth.

His story outlined the fact that with hard work and determination, we can rise above poverty.

By 11 pm, everyone was looking for a place to sleep. I walked around the WACA 3 times looking for a good spot. I had to consider wind chill factor, lighting requirements, shelter if it rained etc.

The good spots had all been taken. I found a spot where it was basically a dingy storeroom without  a door. It smelt musty.

It would have been a good spot if it was raining and really really cold as there was no fresh air in that space.

By that time, the temperature had dropped to 5 degrees. It was not as cold as I expected as the rain had come and gone. I thought I might risk the rain and sleep out in a spot that overlooked the WACA field. There was a tarpaulin above me which would cover me from the rain if it did rain again. I chose the spot as there was still enough light for me to read the book I had brought with me. The book is "How to make millions from the internet". Strange book I suppose for a homeless person to be reading.

I also liked the spot as I knew I could see the sun rise in the morning. I do not get to see the sun rise very often as I am a late sleeper and I thought this was as good a chance as any.

The cold was not as bad as I expected. I was still able to get to sleep from 12 am to 5 am. despite being uncomfortable and missing my soft bed.

The biggest difference between what the CEOs experienced and what a real homeless person experience was the knowledge that we were safe and secure in a place guarded by security guards.

In real life, the security guards would have moved us on instead of protecting us. We would also have been exposed to physical harm from being mugged even as a homeless person.

I got up at 5.30 am as it was getting much colder. I took a walk back to the meeting area where they were serving coffee and breakfast.

The coffee was a welcome relief and by that time my lamb shanks had been digested and I was grateful for the bacon and egg bun provided.

We were all allowed to leave at about 7 am after swapping stories about the night with the other CEOs.

All in all, it has been a great experience. I wished I had taken more photos but have to be content with the video log and interviews. It will take some time to prepare them for publishing.

On last count I have raised $6865 and am ranked no. 8 in a field of 98 WA  CEOs. WA has raised nearly $400,000 with a massive donation of $113,000 from Andrew Forrest of FMG. Not a bad effort. Australia wide, there are 685 CEOs registered. Australia wide, a sum of $2.7 million has been raised to date.

Looking at the media reports, there have been many positive comments about how the event will raise awareness and much needed funds for the homeless.

As usual, there are negative comments from arm chair keyboard critics that this is just a publicity stunt for the CEOs.

I believe that the most important achievement for the event is the raising of awareness of the homeless situation in Perth. Having had to move homeless persons from private properties for my clients and myself, I am aware it is a real problem that has to be tackled by the government.

Hopefully, I have in a small way been able to help raise that awareness.

Personally I have learnt that one of the most important aspect of homelessness is the fact that everyone wants to ignore them. The respect we give the homeless by just talking to them and showing kindness will go a long way to help them. However, right now, raising funds for Vinnies to continue their good work is a priority.

You can still donate even though the event is finished.

I will definitely take part again next year and with more time to raise the funds, I am sure I can do better in the amounts raised.

The lesson learnt is to appreciate the roof over our heads and the soft bed we are lucky enough to have. Till I blog again, goodnight.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Update on my CEO Sleepout Fundraising

Dear Readers

Yes, the momentum is gathering. I have raised $2600 in 3 days.

I am ranked 11 on the list of fund raisers compared to the other fund raisers who have had more time to raise funds.

I am  very happy with the support and response received so far. More importantly, the messages of support shows that Perth people have a heart. A heart to help the homeless.

Please keep the donations coming as the homeless need all the help we can give.

Here is a picture of some of the fundraisers in their pyjamas.

I am thinking of going to the Kathmandu Shop to buy a $900 sleeping bag. Is that cheating??

Ahhh, the moral dilemma.

Will update soon.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I am sleeping rough on 16 June 2010 as part of the CEO Sleepout Event hosted by Vinnies

Dear Readers

As you are aware if you have been following my blog, we have moved to Terrace Rd.

However, I am always reminded of my old office at Wellington St. It has an external toilet. One day, I found a homeless person sleeping there. He would come in after dark and leave the toilet in the morning when the staff arrived. He must have been sleeping there for over 2 weeks until I had no choice but to remove him.

It was emotionally difficult removing the homeless person. I felt much sadness that in this day and age, there are homeless people in Perth which is supposed to be one of the richest state in Australia.

According to The St Vincent de Paul Society website, there are 14,000 homeless people in WA alone.

The Global Financial Crisis has not helped. In my legal practice, I have personally acted for clients who have had their homes repossessed. As the greedy banks continue to raise interest rates, many families are facing real financial challenges.

It is a difficult topic.

I recently read a newspaper article about the St Vincent De Paul CEO Sleepout Event.


I decided immediately to take part.

The event involves CEO's of companies raising funds by spending a night at the WACA with a sleeping bag and some cardboard paper, rain or not.

Please see my profile below and donate if you wish to help me help the homeless.


I look forward to updating my readers on the event.

The event is on  Thursday, 17 June 2010 and I am starting late. I have 10 days to raise as much funds as possible for the homeless. Please help me and the Vinnies.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Leaving the old office for a new start !

Yes, we did it today. 4th June 2010 was the move from Wellington St to Terrace Rd East Perth. My Feng Shui master, Kieran Ohara advised me that I am to start operations at the new office on 5th June 2010 which is an auspicious day. So, the whole office staff was mobilised to shift everything within a day and to get ready for business tomorrow. It was sad to see the Wellington St office being emptied. It has served Tan and Tan Lawyers well. We have more than doubled the staff during the 7 years we were there. Systems have been improved, staff morale is high and we have a great working team.

We have had lots of staff lunches in the board room. This is a picture of the last board room lunch on 3 June 2010.

Here's a picture of my wife ("Annie") and I outside the Wellington St office after everything was moved out.

Annie was managing the real estate and settlement business at the rented office next to Tan and Tan Lawyers at Wellington St. It just became too small for the operations. Hence the decision to move to Terrace Rd. It has been a long and torturous road before our final move today.

Negotiations for the purchase of the Terrace Rd office began in Sept 2009. The renovations started in April 2010 and is actually not fully complete yet. A good friend of mine Irwan Lee from Interarch homes did the design and fit out.

The reception desk and some wall panelling has yet to be completed. My conference table which was being repolished got scratched while being delivered yesterday. It will only be returned next week.

Such are the joys and frustration of change. Despite all the hurdles, this is a change for the better and I hope to be able to further improve on the level of legal services provided to our clients. The high tech toilet should be fitted out tomorrow and will be a real treat to use. Here are pictures of the staff and removalist enjoying a lunch break at the park infront of the office today.

Tomorrow is day one at the Terrace Rd office.
See you there.