Lim Kok Wing’s history and achievements in education, business, and arts

Lim Kok Wing (Lim), founder and president of Limkokwing Creative Technology University has passed away at the age of 75.

A statement was released by the university regarding his death, but no further details were provided. Previously, Lim was reported to be in stable condition after being hospitalized with a fall.

In light of Lim’s passing, we would like to offer our condolences to his loved ones and also celebrate his lifelong achievements as a creator, entrepreneur, artist and educator.

1. Educator and entrepreneur from a young age

Her school once asked her to replace her absent art teacher. (How many of us can say we were asked to do this?) This early exposure to teaching students led Lim to start a small business to mentor his classmates.

2. Illustrated the first serialized comic for Malaysia and Singapore

Image Credit: Lim Kok Wing

Lim’s first foray into the working world as an adult was as an illustrator where he designed book covers. Eventually, he approached the Eastern Sun newspaper with some comics he had been working on, hoping to serialize them.

When the publication accepted, Lim comic, ABU became the first serialized comic from Malaysia and Singapore for 2 years, until the newspaper brand closed.

3. Establishment of Malaysia’s first local advertising agency

Shortly after quitting his comic book illustration job, Lim joined McCann-Erickson, a multinational advertising agency in 1970. He quickly became the regional creative director over the years.

In 1975, 29-year-old Lim set up Malaysia’s first local advertising agency, Wings Creative Consultants (Wings) with a team of just 4 people. Together, they would make their place in an industry that was still controlled by multinationals and expatriates at the time.

Less than 3 years after its launch, Wings has become one of the top 10 agencies in the country.

4. Helped Mandela organize the first democratic elections in South Africa

Image Credit: University of Limkokwing

In 1994, as South Africa held its very first democratic election, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad recommended Mandela hire Lim for this massive exercise. Indeed, out of 20 million eligible voters, 9 million were illiterate.

Lim came up with Mandela’s election poster surrounded by smiling children from various walks of life, including white people, with only 5 words on it, “A better life for all”. This turned out to be the deciding factor for the electoral victory of the African National Congress (ANC).

As a result, he received South Africa’s highest national honor, the Order of Companions of OR Tambo in recognition of his contribution to ending apartheid.

5. Invented some of the country’s most memorable slogans

Image Credit: Lim Kok Wing

The creator is also the one who invented and directed the Putrajaya “Tak Nak” anti-smoking campaign and promoted the “Rakan Muda” and “One Heart, One Nation” programs.

Lim was behind Dr Mahathir’s Vision 2020 campaign, also conceptualizing the “Malaysia Boleh” mantra.

6. Join hands with BBDO to drive sales

13 years after the founding of Wings, BBDO, a well-known global advertising agency, contacted Wings to partner with them in 1988. Wings / BBDO billings reached RM26 million ($ 8.6 million) in 1989 and 1992, sales reached nearly RM40 million. (US $ 13.3 million).

The partnership ended in 1992, when Lim, at that time, was also focusing on establishing his founding university.

7. Change of focus to encourage young minds

Image Credit: University of Limkokwing

You see, Lim has always had the vision to educate young talent in an environment filled with creativity and innovation. Thus, it launched the Limkokwing Institute of Creative Technology (LUCT) in 1991, before becoming a private university in 2000.

In 2002, LUCT was the first private college in Malaysia to be recognized as a university-college, and then to become a full-fledged university in 2007.

Today, with its main campus in Malaysia, the university has 11 other campuses in Botswana, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lesotho, Swaziland and the United Kingdom. It offers courses in the fields of creation, technology and business, including animation, architecture, entrepreneurship, fashion design, mobile computing, among others. Without a doubt, this is also what Lim has become best known for.

8. Also brought his vision to Africa

Through his ties to Mandela, this gave him the opportunity to establish universities in Africa, starting with Botswana in 2007.

When Lim wanted to open a campus in Sierra Leone, the country was hit by Ebola in 2014. As a result, the campus launch was delayed while the institution helped the country’s government eradicate the virus.

The Sierra Leone campus finally opened in 2017 after the country was declared Ebola free by the World Health Organization on March 17, 2016.

9. Was an author with 4 books

Image Credit: University of Limkokwing

Lim has published a total of 4 books under his name, showcasing his range of illustration through comics, as well as political and social commentary.

They are, Guli-guli: Pearls of Wisdom; Pearls of Laughter (1983), Hidden Agenda (1998), Innovation Enabling Transformation, and Najib: Nation on His Mind, People in His Heart (2012).

10. Part of the Forbes Asia Philanthropy Heroes List

At 62, Lim was named one of 4 Malaysians to be on Forbes Asia’s list of heroes of philanthropy in 2009. It was in recognition of his contributions and fundraising in the fight against AIDS. and apartheid in South Africa.

It has also provided scholarships, services for students with disabilities and donated RM80,000 to the “Plight of Palestinians: From Grim to Bleak” fund in 2008.

  • You can read more about Lim Kok Wing here.
  • You can read more about other Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: The Star / Wikimedia

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