‘Lithuania is the best kept secret in Europe’ – Singapore Honorary Consul

Andy Lim, Lithuania’s Honorary Consul in Singapore, with his family

Andy Lim is the Founder and Chairman of private equity firm Tembusu Partners and the Chairman and controlling shareholder of a publicly listed company Viking Offshore & Marine Limited. He is also the Executive Director of Associated Leisure International, a family holding company and Chairman of MoneyWorld Group of Companies.

He took an Overseas Merit Scholarship to study Engineering in Cambridge University where he graduated with First Class Honours in 1979. After an eight year stint with the Singapore government, he went on to receive an MBA Degree at University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1989.

What is your favourite thing about Lithuania?

Lithuania is a land of history, architecture, and unspoiled natural beauty. From admiring the beautiful architecture throughout the historic old town, to strolling along the banks of the Neris River, there is almost too much beauty to take in all at once.

And it doesn’t hurt that Lithuania has an excellent and unique beer culture.

If you could describe Lithuania in one word, what would it be?

One word doesn’t do Lithuania justice. If I could, I would describe Lithuania as “the best kept secret in Europe!”

What is the biggest challenge you face when promoting the Lithuania brand in your country? What should we do better?

Perhaps the consideration of a direct flight between Lithuania and Singapore might help encourage greater travel, cooperation, and exchange between our two countries.

Current travel to Lithuania requires a flight to Helsinki, and a transfer to Vilnius after, totalling over 14 hours of flight time. A direct flight would enable easier travel between Lithuania and Singapore.

How would you describe your country’s relationship with Lithuania?

I would describe it as two individuals just beginning a friendship, strangers but growing in closeness at the same time. While distance is a factor, I think that increasing exchange and communication between Lithuania and Singapore will help both countries better understand and appreciate each other.

This is not your full time occupation, but still, could you describe an Honorary Consul of Lithuania schedule? Is it a hard work of being an Honorary Consul of Lithuania in your country?

Being Honorary Consul is a labour of love, it is not hard if you love what you are doing.

As Honorary Consul, I organise quarterly gatherings in an informal setting for the Lithuanian community in Singapore to mark local holiday events and special occasions such as Lithuanian Independence Day. In addition, the Honorary Consulate also provides guidance to Lithuanian citizens who require consular assistance and visa advice.

More recently, I was host to Ambassador Egidijus Meilūnas during his visits to Singapore, and also assisted with the coordination of high-level meetings between the ambassador and several European and Singaporean government agencies, research institutions, and commerce chambers that are based and operate in Singapore.

How do you keep informed about the main events in Lithuania?

By reading the The Lithuania Tribune and DELFI, the largest online news portal in the Baltic States, of course!

I also follow the Facebook pages of The Lithuania Tribune and DELFI closely on social media.

What is your next big project in the capacity of being an Honorary Consul of Lithuania?

Moving forward, I am proposing the key lines of activity under the three main themes of Commerce, Education, and Tourism.

In Commerce, after meetings with the Delegation of the European Commission in Singapore and the European Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, I am proposing the following collaborations between Lithuania and Singapore:

1. Establishment of a Lithuania trade mission in Singapore with similar objectives, structures, and frameworks of the current Japan-Lithuania Exchange Centre.
2. Closer collaboration with European Chamber of Commerce and the respective national trade unions and chambers of commerce of fellow EU member nations.
3. Annual delegations for trade and industry between Lithuania and Singapore to explore increased bilateral trade and based upon existing EU-ASEAN relations.

In Education, I am looking to promote closer cooperation in the fields of science, technology and innovation, to promote cooperation between universities of Lithuania and Singapore.

The Ambassador visited the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Agency for Science Technology & Research (A*STAR), and National Research Foundation (NRF), and agreed with representatives from the respective research institutions to intensify scientific relations and student exchanges with Lithuanian institutions of higher education.

The Lithuanian sectors of life sciences, biotechnology and lasers were presented during these meetings. Moreover, the Ambassador invited representatives of the Government of Singapore, scientific and business organizations to take part in the largest conference and exhibition of life sciences in Northern Europe – Life Sciences Baltics 2016 – to be held in Vilnius in September 2016.

On tourism, the Ambassador met with representatives of two large and established travel agencies based in Singapore with operations throughout Southeast Asia. Both travel agencies have expressed keen interest in catering for tour groups with a Baltic-specific travel itinerary, and have requested for the Ambassador and Lithuanian Tourism Board to provide contact information of state-certified travel agents in Lithuania for them to partner and work with.

In addition, I will assist the Ambassador in increasing awareness of Lithuania via the EU Film Festival in Singapore, and will advertise travel to and tourism in Lithuania before screening of the proposed Lithuanian film, Santa (2014), at the film festival.

What are some of your favourite hobbies?

Spending quality time with my beautiful wife and three (soon to be four) adorable grandsons.

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