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YTL’s Journey of Thanksgiving

   
Bath, 7 August 2003

YTL. . . until recently the company known only to Britain’s financial community, savvy investors and travellers to YTL’s resorts and hotels, was tonight the toast of the City of Bath and the country!

For 10 days, as the huge stage grew on Bath's Royal Crescent, the people of the counties of Wessex (whose water is supplied by YTL’s Wessex Water) had become enraptured by the forthcoming YTL Concert of Celebration 2003 featuring the world famous ‘Three Tenors’, Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti.

As the excitement built, Yeoh delivered a welcome speech to the 50,000+ audience, all of whom were attending the event free of charge. Yeoh’s speech set the tone for the concert perfectly, providing an insight into what makes him one of the world's greatest business leaders of the modern era. The astounding concert that then followed featured the Tenors, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Janos Acs, 80 members of the Bath Camerata Choir and the Choristers of The Bath and Wells Abbey.

At the request of Yeoh, the programme included a very special hymn “It Is Well With My Soul”, performed for the very first time by the Tenors.

The evening reached a climax with the playing of two great British favourites, Land of Hope and Glory and Jerusalem whilst the City resounded to the crashes of a spectacular firework display.

As the audience dispersed into the night many where heard commenting: “This is the most significant event in the history of Bath since the arrival of the Romans. . . let's hope the Malaysians stay longer then they did”!

Through the power of music and the emotional expressions of this amazing event in Bath, enduring friendships that have been forged and bonds between Malaysia and the United Kingdom have been reinforced.

Tonight one man's vision became a reality. . . a reality that has placed YTL and the name of Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, on the lips of and in the hearts of the people of Bath, the people of Wessex and the people of Britain.


Speech by Tan Sri Francis Yeoh
Managing Director of YTL Utilities (UK)
The YTL Three Tenors Concert of Celebration in Bath, United Kingdom

My very distinguished guests, my beloved family and friends; ladies and gentlemen.

The poet John Keats famously said: “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever. It’s loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness”. I cannot describe this beautiful night better than the words of John Keats.

Tonight, I bring you warm greetings from the people of the beautiful land of Malaysia. Malaysia is a land blessed with many decades of great leadership which prospered the well being of her people. It is also a land of religious tolerance. While the political umbilical cord was severed in 1957 between our two countries, other ties in the areas of business and education remained intact.

Indeed many generations of people and leaders from Malaysia were educated here, I am glad to be one of those. It is therefore fitting today that Nottingham University has established a full branch campus in Kuala Lumpur, playing its important role to help Malaysia become a Centre of Excellence.

In the areas of business, while many British firms are still investing in Malaysia, Malaysians of late have begun to invest in Britain. Lotus, Laura Ashley, and of course Wessex Water but to name a few. I understand YTL’s investment in Wessex is the largest so far by a Malaysian group but I rather suspect this record will be broken soon as Malaysians continue to feel welcomed in this beautiful land.

To commemorate our successful investment in Wessex Water we decided to hold our annual Concert of Celebration this year here in Bath. YTL’s Concert of Celebration is a journey of Thanksgiving to the community at large and also spiritually to God. Therefore tonight I would like to first offer Thanksgiving to the gifted people of the past and the present whose contributions have prospered Bath to this day.

   
Tonight I have time to pay tribute to only a few contributors. We thank “The Discoverers of Bath” - The Romans - for making Bath an unfortified oasis, for the garrisons and itinerant aristocracy. We thank “The Dandy of Bath” - Beau Nash - who tried to single-handedly revive the essence of Bath as a thriving cultural and arts centre. We thank “The Man of Bath” - Ralph Allen once a mere postboy, who built his fortune on the limestone that clothed Bath city. We thank the “Architects of Bath” - John Wood, the Elder and Younger, who made this ‘Georgian’ city so beautiful and the Crescent behind us, that pervasive forces of man’s avarice dare not touch it!

In following the traditions of gifted men who had made Bath a great city, I will like to pay tribute to the present City Fathers for their vision to build the new Thermal Spa. They have strategically launched Bath into the forefront for another millennium in the spirit of rejuvenation.

I would like to thank all my Board of Directors who so generously agreed to hold the concert here in Bath to complement the opening of this new spa. It was a case of noblesse oblige that we play our humble part and we thank the community of Bath for welcoming us.

I would also like to thank my very good friend Luciano Pavarotti for coming out of his normal vacation routine in sunny Pissaro to persuade his other two legendary tenors to do this concert in sunny Bath and also my friends Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras and Andrea Griminelli, who passionately wanted to make the concert tonight special for all of us.

I would also like to thank both the volunteer staff of YTL and Wessex, they were indefatigable. I also want to thank all of you present here tonight, for although the concert tickets were free many of you saw it fit to contribute to various charities - you are indeed, most generous.

I am not a po-faced zealot but I believe that gifted men are often anointed by God to play a role to bring joy to many, so that God’s Grace and Mercy and Love can be felt and appreciated for humanity’s sake.

Therefore tonight I want to pay tribute to the choicest servants of God in the past that had kept Bath and the surrounding area fertile spiritual ground.

Tonight we remember John de Villula, a Norman doctor turned churchman who bought the ruins of Bath for 500 pieces of silver. We remember him as the First Bishop of Bath and Wells - who moved the centre of the See to Bath. We remember the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 and the subsequent restoration of the Bath Abbey led by Queen Elizabeth I and financed from contributions from the people of Bath and the people of England. We remember George Whitfield and we remember John Wesley who preached in open grounds near here when they were locked out of churches.

While we honour spiritual giants of the past, tonight we are blessed with the presence of spiritual giants of today in the shape of David Pawson, who is a spiritual grandfather to my children and spiritual father to me and my siblings. Tonight Pastor Collin Dye of Kensington Temple is also with us. Many still remember the founders, The Jefferys Brothers, the most successful British ‘signs and wonder’ evangelists. We also have Lady Cope of Bath, a descendant of Horatio G. Spafford, who wrote my favourite hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul”. All of them and many others are keeping the flame of God ablaze, so we honour all of them.

Finally and most important of all, I will like to offer Thanksgiving to our Good Lord. We live in troubled times and choices are often forced upon us.

Our God of Love and Mercy in His perfection offers us all a free choice of faith. Tonight I freely choose Him and in doing so I choose Love because no occasion justifies hatred, no injustice warrants bitterness.

Tonight, I choose Kindness and will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid.

Tonight I choose Gentleness for nothing is won by force. If I raise my voice, may it only be in praise. If I clench my fist, may it only be in prayer. I will be impassioned only by faith and I will be influenced only by God.

It is often said the Devil flees when you are on your knees, therefore tonight I pray that God in His Mercy and Grace will continue to shower us with Wisdom to teach us and to guide us. I pray that God’s Words will continue to fill our hearts and His shield will continue to shelter us.

Most of all I pray that all men and women and children in both our beautiful lands will be filled with God, Full of Hope and Basked in Glory.

Thank you very much and God bless all of you.

Speech by Tan Sri Francis Yeoh
Managing Director of YTL Utilities (UK)
The YTL Three Tenors Concert of Celebration in Bath, United Kingdom
on 7 August 2003

   


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