Empowering by Advocacy: Benedict Teo

by Susanah Cheok

Meet Benedict Teo, Ong Ker-Shing and Dr. Anders Gustavsson, 3 personalities, who encapsulate the subtle, time-honored horological craftsmanship of A. Lange & Söhne in what they do, and who also embrace Lange’s philosophy of Never Standing Still. 

Lebanese poet-philosopher Kahlil Gibran believed that work, and therefore craft, is inseparable from love. He said, “Work is love made visible… For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half a man’s hunger. And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.”

In the same way, a bona fide craftsman does what he loves and therefore loves what he does. And even though, in a very broad sense, everyone can be a craftsman, and we all craft in one way or another in our lives every day, does what we build and spin truly have lasting power, leave a legacy, and make the world better?

At Lange, where sincere dedication shapes the brand, a sort of pure passion that makes them strive for perfection day after day, it is about perpetually looking for a better solution, even though a compelling one has already been found.

The commitment to perfection even in the minutest detail is Lange’s time-tested unique selling point. This is manifested in the matchless movement of an A. Lange & Söhne timepiece. Its specific type of finissage, seen or not, must comply with the brand’s rigorous artisanal and aesthetic standards.

In authentic A. Lange & Söhne craftsmanship, it takes several months of rigorous practice to achieve a flat polished finish for every timepiece, while in the art of chamfering, great pains are taken to ensure that the edges are not only bevelled to the same angle, but also to the same width. Lange’s special type of finish, reserved for the balance cock, and the exquisite Lange-style floral pattern engraving, also make each Lange watch distinctive. Every A. Lange & Söhne watch is lavished with the same degree of attention – whether it is a sophisticated complication or a classic three-hand timepiece. All processes and procedures needed to create each horological wonder, are focused on breaking innovation barriers and realising new possibilities in watch-making.

True craft, after all, is a journey that both celebrates joys and achievements, as well as overcomes challenges and upheavals; true craft is about evolution and never standing still.

Empowering by Advocacy

A lawyer with one of Singapore’s top firms, 40-year-old Benedict Teo, describes his work craft as “one of advocacyputting forward a client’s case as clearly and as persuasively as possible.  Yet, the craft of advocacy starts with being a good listener, rather than a good speaker. Understanding the client and his evidence is the foundation for good advocacy. The craft is honed by an understanding of human emotions and motivations, and a sound logical mind.  These assist an advocate in asking the right questions at the right time, and to put forward a case that an objective person can find believable and be sympathetic to.”

The father of 2 children, age 5 and 2, gives voice to people who are seeking to enforce or protect their legal rights, and this craft has an inevitable transformative effect on their lives. That makes advocacy “a powerful weapon against those who may seek to efface or take away those rights,” he says. He believes that “it is by assiduously enforcing and protecting legal rights that we continue to develop a rules-based society. This is the social compact, which forms the foundation of any thriving community.”

A former national schools’ debater in his Junior College days, Benedict has always been drawn to “the contest of ideas, of competing truths, and of coming up with perspectives and creative solutions to problems.” Even as early as then, he knew that “pursuing law and, in particular, dispute resolution seemed like a natural fit for me”.

Like any consummate professional, Benedict prides himself in doing a good job advocating for his clients, and that also means becoming sharper and nimbler in the craft. About how advocacy has evolved, the sports enthusiast, military history aficionado, foodie and avid traveller has this to say: “For the longest time, oral advocacy captured the public’s imagination when thinking of courtroom drama. Today, given the volume and complexity of cases, written advocacy is as important as, if not more important than, oral advocacy. As for the future, technology and the ability to harness large amounts of data will impact how we prepare and position our cases.”

Never Standing Still

An artisan of advocacy cannot stand still and expect to remain within the top echelons of the industry. As a disputes lawyer, Benedict “handles a wide variety of civil, corporate and criminal cases. The variety and complexity of the matters I’m involved in, as well as the different individuals I meet in the course of these cases, oblige me to keep thinking out of the box and to refine my craft, in order to be the most effective advocate I can be for my clients.”

A fun spin-off from this K-drama fan’s work craft and experience is creating bedtime stories to tell his children. “This is my play craft – telling them stories that will stir their emotions and leave them wanting to be story tellers themselves,” he says.


This feature is produced in collaboration with  A. Lange & Söhne. Artwork by Curatedition, all rights reserved.


Related links:

Timeless Triumph of Mathematics: Anders Gustavsson

Shaping the World Through Imagination and Invention: Ong Ker-Shing

A. Lange & Söhne: Perfect 10 on 25




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