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Lien Foundation counters ST’s mischaracterisation on creation of Gym Tonic project

Lien Foundation clarifies Straits Times mischaracterization of Gym Tonic’s origin. ST’s exclusive interview with PulseSync founder, Mr Ken Tan, wrongly attributed the program’s “invention” solely to him, overlooking a 10-year collaborative effort by various partners.



SINGAPORE: Lien Foundation, a philanthropic organization in Singapore, on Thursday (7 March) issued a statement to clarify a report by the state media The Straits Times (ST) that inaccurately portrayed the background and creation of Gym Tonic.

Gym Tonic is a philanthropic program dedicated to establishing senior-friendly gyms for the Pioneer and Merdeka Generations in Singapore.

The original story exclusively featured an interview with Mr Ken Tan, the founder of technology company PulseSync, attributing the invention of the program solely to him.

However, it failed to acknowledge that Gym Tonic is the result of a collaborative effort and the significant contributions of various partners over 10 years, essential to the development and success of the program.

ST’s original article describes Mr Tan’s company ‘invented’ Gym Tonic

On 25 February, ST published an exclusive article for subscribers featuring an interview with Mr Ken Tan. Titled “Gym Tonic founder wants to help seniors ‘age fearlessly,'” the story delves into Mr Tan’s personal journey, recounting his near-death experience in 2019 when he battled a severe lung infection.

The article highlights the profound impact of this health scare on Mr. Tan’s perspective, emphasizing the swift loss of strength experienced during extended periods of being bed-bound.

The narrative suggests that Mr Tan’s company “invented” Gym Tonic, detailing his efforts to refine the program, which he initially launched in 2015.

Mr. Tan’s personal experiences, including witnessing his father’s poor health and the challenges of caring for him, shaped his dedication to eldercare. The article provides insights into Mr Tan’s entrepreneurial journey, from starting Xrgomics to founding PulseSync, which focuses on developing technology solutions for healthcare and eldercare.

Notably, the original article failed to acknowledge that Mr Tan jointly launched the Gym Tonic program in 2015 with the Lien Foundation and other partners.

Lien Foundation: S$9.6 million was disbursed for the eldercare project

On Thursday, the Lien Foundation issued a public statement to address the mischaracterization in the ST article.

“In the interview, Mr Tan had described himself as the inventor of Gym Tonic. We wish to clarify that it is a mischaracterisation. The origin story of Gym Tonic extends beyond that of a single “inventor”, ” the statement wrote.

Lien Foundation emphasized that Gym Tonic’s origin story extends beyond a single individual.

They provide background information on Gym Tonic, detailing its announcement in 2015, adding that the concept took shape after a learning journey to Finland, where the benefits of strength training were discovered, coupled with the successful conclusion of a local pilot run initiated by The Salvation Army Peacehaven Nursing Home.

The Lien Foundation disclosed that they have disbursed a substantial amount, close to S$9.6 million (approximately US$7.2 million), which is their largest sum for a single eldercare project, to partners for the expansion of the program.

The daily operations of the gyms are managed by 24 organizations, all charities and community entities, which allocate valuable space on their premises for the gyms and fund operations that surpass the Lien Foundation’s contribution.

While acknowledging the importance of PulseSync, Mr. Tan’s company, in focusing on software development and integration, the foundation reiterated that the contributions of other partners were equally vital.

The Gym Tonic program aims to help seniors regain strength, mobility, and dignity in their golden years, enabling them to reintegrate into the workforce, fulfil family roles, socialize, and achieve personal goals.

There are 29 gyms currently, with more in the pipeline. Thousands of seniors have used it, and close to 1,000 are on the waitlist, added the statement.

“Over 10 years, this coalition of partners had come together, collectively and gradually shaping the Gym Tonic concept into the form we know today, in service of the seniors to whom we know we owe so much. It is a beautiful initiative, and one whose founding spirit should be recognised.”

The Lien Foundation also conveyed gratitude to The Straits Times for acknowledging their concerns and taking corrective action.

In the latest edition, ST edited the original piece titled “Gym Tonic co-creator: ‘I want to help seniors age fearlessly’” and appended a correction note.

The correction stated that the earlier version of the story failed to make it clear that Mr Tan developed the Gym Tonic concept in collaboration with the Lien Foundation and other parties.

S$320 million disbursed to SPH Media for FY 2022 and 2023

It is worth noting that in 2022, The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) announced a commitment to provide up to S$900 million in funding support for SPH Media Trust over the ensuing five years.

Last Friday (1 March), MCI Minister Josephine Teo revealed that to date, around S$320 million has been disbursed to SPH Media across the financial years 2022 and 2023.

Ms Teo further outlined that MCI has earmarked approximately S$260 million in funding for SPH Media in the fiscal year 2024.

Ms Teo defended the critical role of the government in intervening to safeguard SPH Media, emphasizing its indispensable function in informing Singaporeans.

Ms Teo reiterated the government’s decision to support SPH Media, emphasizing that the funding is strategically directed towards talent, technology, and vernacular capabilities.

Ms Teo drew attention to the struggles faced by even well-established media entities, citing examples like the Washington Post’s substantial loss and the closure of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Buzzfeed News.

She underscored that without government intervention, SPH Media might have faced a similar fate.

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Are you insinuating that the potentially corrupt Straits Times is willingly collaborating with rich businessmen to publish fluff pieces that paint these wealthy people in a good light?

Well, I am very surprised (No, not really).

The Straits Times is now officially less trustworthy than those magazines that focused on publishing “Paranormal” events.

Should apply for POFMA

If this is true that Mr. Ken Tan deliberately excluded the contributions and credits of others to the program speaks volumes of his character.

Is he being earmarked for something bigger to come (GE) by someone and hence the timing to sing praise to his visions and polished up his resume?

Still no update on Ivan Lim?


The Lien family are popular figures in the banking and hotel, hospitality industries for long times – Lien Ying Chow, OUB, Sonny Lien Hotel Mandarin – even before many Shit Times slaves, banking figures like perhaps Piyush were borned.

DARED to ruffle feathers. If Kuan Yew around, won’t be surprised Kuan Yew give them a dress down.