Dealing in Liquid Assets

Olivia Lum, head of the fast-growing water-treatment company Hyflux, never knew her biological parents. She was adopted at birth by an elderly woman she called Grandma, and home was Kampar, a poor Malaysian mining town where an exodus of jobs had left most residents with no income. After Grandma sold her house to pay some gambling debts, Lum was brought up in a wooden shack without running water--unless you counted the rainwater that would regularly seep in and flood the floors. To keep Grandma's spirits up, Lum used to say that when she made it big, she would buy her a...

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