My mother and Mao, Singapore taxes and the rise of Hong Kong property: the Robert Kuok memoirs In the debut instalment of six extracts from the first-ever. The Memoirs of Robert - Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online. Robert Kuok book. Read 63 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Robert Kuok is one of the most highly respected businessmen in Asia. Bu.

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Author: Robert Kuok Pages: pages Publisher: Landmark Books Pte Download pdf Read Online Robert Kuok: A Memoir By Robert Kuok. download pdf here: Audiobook ~EBOOK~ Robert Kuok: A Memoir TXT,PDF,EPUB. Download PDF Robert Kuok: A Memoir, PDF Download Robert Kuok: A Memoir, Download Robert Kuok: A Memoir, PDF Robert Kuok: A.

For a book of this caliber and level, I normally would have, in my younger, more commitment-free days, finished it within two or three days. That I took one and a half months to go through it is due to the fact that the commitments of middle age, the numerous daily fire-fighting that has to be done, all the various responsibilities that need to be discharged for work, for family and for personal health, have applied tremendous friction to my reading schedules.

But more importantly, it is actually a testament to the many things I have learned and gleaned from it - I was extremely slow in finishing the book because I often paused from page to page, from chapter to chapter, to ponder all the things he was saying, all the life events he went through, all the challenges that he had faced and overcome. I slowly plodded through the big man's book because he forced me to think, to ponder and to consider. To try putting myself into his shoes and wondering if I could ever pull off any of the things he has accomplished throughout his life.

OK, it seems I have gone off on a massive tangent and have spoken nothing about the book yet. Let's get to it. This book is, in my heartfelt opinion and thoughts, a bona fide, easy, obvious five stars. So many adjectives, but they rightfully and precisely need to appear, for I have enjoyed this book tremendously, have learned a lot from it, and am reevaluating my life because of it.

In pages, the book delivers not only the life of a true-blue, self-made tycoon, one with a tremendous sense of ethics and morals, but of the times between and today, a period of time that has seen great turmoil and upheaval in the world, and great changes and transformations too.

One is gifted with a front row seat to history in the making. Yet, one also gets a seat on the roller-coaster that is Robert Kuok's business life, and accompanies him as he navigates his way through multiple waters and obstacles, with and against multiple friends, accomplices and foes, in multiple fields, cities, countries and industries, using all the creativeness, resourcefulness and determination at his fingertips and in the fiber of his soul, to build the Kuok Group to what it was today.

I read about how the myth was created, how the legend was born. I read that the myth has a very realistic basis, that the legend is much deserved, but the man is a human too, an extremely capable, resilient and upright one at that. I read that almost nothing came easy to Robert Kuok - he had to fight for his achievements, to build the Group, and to create this enormous economic tree for his family.

And, through reading the book, I was able to accompany him on his journey against the odds and upstream, to pull off something that only very few people in history are capable of doing. Joe Pillay. Singapore or. I thought. What the two co-chairmen presided over was like a funeral. They are the unsung heroes of the region: The Straits Times I said.

Not only are these unsung heroes hungry. It was the Chinese immigrants who tackled these Herculean tasks. May I on behalf of all of us make a motion to express our thanks to them? Chinese workers who planted and tapped rubber. The Indians also played a big role. Millions of Chinese. The bulk of the overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia have their roots in the coastal towns and villages of Fujian and Guangdong provinces — and these have been blessed with some of the best entrepreneurial genes in the world.

The Europeans brought a semblance of law and order to the region and opened up rubber. Chinese entrepreneurs are efficient and cost-conscious. Colonisation opened up Southeast Asia. It was the Chinese who helped build up Southeast Asia. They would do any work available. The Chinese are simply the most amazing economic ants on earth. They came very hungry and eager as immigrants.

The transplanted Chinese were born entrepreneurs. Kuala Lumpur. When they search for foreign hardware and expertise. They are a very clueful people.


Li Shau-kee of Henderson Land. They may have lived in a village or small town in China and come to Southeast Asia totally ignorant of the world. But once they have some capital. The majority of overseas Chinese are moral and ethical people who practice fair play and possess a sense of proportion. They will know whom to see. Cheng Yu-tung of New World. File photo I have not come across any people as loyal as the Chinese. Unlike the Japanese. W ee Cho Yaw. In every Chinese village and community.

The Japanese have a kind of loyalty. I will concede that if they are totally penniless. There are no true weekends or holidays for them.

I was astonished at the enormous trade facilities Serge Varsano was receiving from the French banks. If you take companies such as GE. Korea and Taiwan. The overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia operate in a much less benevolent environment. In the commodity trade. Good Chinese business management is second to none. Not one of them went to college. But Americans operate in the largest economy in the world.

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Whether you go to Malaysia. Siamese twins set for separation: Since I was mainly brought up in the English- speaking world. The Chinese have no fairy godmothers I exclude here the type of Chinese who connive with leaders peddling cronyism. In Southeast Asia. Sumatra or Java. Malaysia-Singapore Airlines. Robert Kuo k. I am almost an outside observer of the ways of China-born Chinese businessmen who are steeped in the Chinese language and culture.

Every moment. I say the answer lies in the great cultural strength of the Chinese. When it came to my turn. From Singapore. I beg to differ. From Malaysia. I remember my father had coolies who. I would sometimes sit on their laps and they would regale me with stories of their days in China.

I have heard a lot already today from my peers about how Indonesia should develop. Recollecting those stories. European and American multinationals. About thirty of us sat around a big oval table. Many of you say that we should bring in the multinationals of the world and draw upon their strength to bring up the nation.

But they were decent human beings at heart and they knew moral values.

I spoke into the microphone in front of me: The topic of one session was economic development. When they left their homeland. They knew what was right and what was wrong. Even the most uneducated Chinese. You will never shake it off! This nation is very poor and cannot afford that style of management. I was interested in further developing my business in Indonesia. I would say they were very cultured people. I have no doubt of that. Jakarta was just beginning to stand on its own feet under Suharto.

As a child of three or four years old. But they will also import high inflation and inflationary practices that will enter your bloodstream. So I attended. What I am saying is that in a laissez-faire economy. Where there is abuse and crimes being committed.

The vast majority of overseas Chinese are decent Chinese. His whole shop may be only square feet. R euters I continued. The mark-up on the goods they sell is very small. Use the overseas Chinese. Some of these overseas Chinese will become very big crooks. You should make examples of them so that the honest Chinese will help your country and the dishonest ones will be deterred.

I want to state one strong caveat. If you go into the smallest Malay kampongs in my country. The Chinese can do it. With the unsavoury elements under control. They are all hidden. Singapore had the same number of Chinese crooks. AF P Later. So what I said — what everyone said — was recorded. Why were these people allowed to wreak havoc?

It is because the leaderships have been weak. Thailand and the Philippines. The decent Chinese have helped to build up Indonesia. If the leaders were strong. The crooks were held on steel leashes by two hands: But you also had the rise of the unscrupulous and ruthless Chinese.

I passed a room adjoining our meeting room in which tape recorders were whirring. In the ensuing years. They agreed that I should put in a similar application to be considered for the right to establish the national shipping line.

It owned Blue Funnel. I was interested in applying for the licence.

and the rise of Hong Kong property: the

Shipping magnate Frank Tsao Wen-king. Blue Funnel was probably the largest shipping conglomerate in Britain at that time. Glen Line. Straits Steamship Co in Singapore. The Executive Chairman.

For example. I had become interested in shipping from about I had one shipping expert on staff. Tony Goh. I am going to go at it. I remembered that Tsao was a shipping man. Thank you for receiving me. There was one problem: I knew nothing about shipping. I thought I would give you first crack.

I did know that in any business. Since margins on sugar trading were small. They are Tan Sris. I was quite humble in my approach. In those days. Tony had been a manager at Ben Line.

Sit down. I said I would like to come and see him to discuss a business proposal. So I looked for a partner. Tsao was only mildly friendly. Mr Kuok. Chinese who was running my plywood factory.

I told him that we had met. Are you willing to become my partner? I told him that some Malay civil servants. He gave me an appointment and I flew to Hong Kong. When I went to his office. Chairman of International Maritime Carriers.

I asked Frank to meet me in Kuala Lumpur. Finance Minister Tan Siew Sin.

Robert Kuok A Memoir epub

I heard that we were one of the leading contenders. Tun Dr Ismail. I remember calling on the Prime Minister. I had made up my mind that we should pick one day to call on as many important ministers as possible. In the afternoon.

We were like a dark horse coming from behind in the last furlong and pipping the favourite at the post! I was Chairman of the Board and provided business management guidance. I rewrote certain parts to suit the reading style of the Malaysian civil servants. From eight in the morning we whipped around Kuala Lumpur at a furious pace.

Home Minister Tun Dr Ismail. A little later. Some of them gave us good time and good hearings. The Chinese community was angry about the Japanese massacre of innocent Chinese and was seeking compensation for this blood debt. Simultaneous with our moves to start the shipping line. As the ships were reparation from the Japanese to the Malayan Chinese Association.

The Japanese finally agreed to give two blood-debt ships to Malaysia. Frank Tsao took 15 per cent. MISC started with these two cargo ships and paid for them on a monthly bare-boat. I then took over the chairmanship until the s.

MISC had an initial paid-up capital of 10 million ringgit. Our first two ships came from the Japanese. Tunku Abdul Rahman made some very cogent suggestions about the design of the flag for this new national flag carrier. Since Kuok Brothers led the show. I was diluted to 20 upon — the enlarged base — and Frank became 15 upon Very early on. But Tun. I went back and. MISC is doing well. You know.

Devils to friends. We had a fairly united board in the beginning. Issue another twenty per cent. Razak said. MCA and other Chinese associations. I have always cooperated with you.

Robert Kuok: A Memoir

But now. So I will go back and ask the board again to issue shares at par to you. MISC started business in the second half of and quickly flourished.

Tun Raz ak. Razak allocated all the new shares to government agencies. And he again wanted the shares issued at par — the original issue price. Leslie Eu. One or two years later. Frank and the MCA group together was easily over 50 per cent. Much of the credit must go to Frank. Razak again sent for me.


Tony recommended his one-time colleague in Ben Line. Before we listed in With our continuous culture going back thousands of years. Wherever they go they will try to earn their own living. The Chinese are very hard-working. I began to realise that what the Chinese lacked most of all was discipline and unity. He was not selfish. I have always believed in some degree of socialism when you have made money. I learned from them and from their behaviour that I belonged to a people with a very rich culture.

Quite a number of people benefited from this move. Some of these migrants started life in their new homes as rickshaw pullers. I think that there are certain good qualities as well as certain defects in the marrow of our bones. As I grew older. I was inspired by the example of Genghis Khan. I wanted to take about 15 per cent of our shareholding and sell the shares at par to deserving directors. I made quite a radical move.

It is because of greed. The teachings of Confucius and Mencius are part of our culture. If the journey towards the goal of civilization is ten thousand miles long. China has been transformed in 30 years. I doubt we have gone even one hundred miles. The teachings of Confucius are part of Chinese culture.

I never got taken in by that nonsense. I have seen many mistakes along the way. I doubt we have gone even one hundred miles If the journey towards the goal of civilization is ten thousand miles long.

You have to learn to distinguish between form and essence. People make a lot of mistakes in their rush. They wanted their country to grow. If your eyes are always glued to form. I doubt that China has had as enlightened a group of leaders as during the past 30 years. Chinese leaders: Mao Zedong. Jiang Zemin. In my business travels around China. Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping. It is easy to talk about all human beings being equal. They eschewed every religion.

I often came across incompetent or bigoted officials. Nearly every time I had a major tussle with one. I think more can and should be done to root out nonperformers. Mao wanted the people to replace their old thinking with communist idealism.

I would come back and. We are trying to open up the sky. I began to note to myself and to others that in Southeast Asia. There was a period where I think the Chinese leaders misunderstood Confucianism. Deng Xiaoping. The quality of these officials varies greatly. He became a forgotten soul captured by the bureaucratic web. It was as if he were a wizened sage looking into his crystal ball and describing what he saw He also said.

When we sat down. One was: He is a man with a good heart.

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They are wrong. It was as if he were a wizened sage looking into his crystal ball and describing what he saw. There are many individuals like him throughout China. He impressed me as a very fine and humble human being. His superiors think poorly of him because he challenges their intellect.

In none of his actions or words was there a hint of: David Pang told me a sad story about a very bright young man from a small village who made it to the top university in China. China will be the most important and strongest nation in Asia. After graduating. He was all for the people. Through this effort. He was by then an elderly man. Who are you? He is bullied and ignored. He stated it very humbly. When I opened the door for China. Then he said several things that still stick in my mind.

All I ask is that we are one unified nation again. He just said the truth. The people want economic progress. There can be no other way forward for China! That was the first and only time I saw Deng. But when he spoke on Taiwan. China is still transforming. I later heard through Chinese friends in Beijing that mine was the last official meeting granted by the government.

They are still pushing me. Imagine an elephant that is so enormous in girth that if you are standing right in front. Reuters He smiled throughout the meeting and I thought he was a very kind.

Then Deng spoke at length on the Taiwan issue. When you talk of the transformation of a nation of more than 1. They will be given everything that I gave Hong Kong. I was not expecting to make a fortune. If they were not willing to be reasonable. The two greatest challenges facing China are the restoration of education in morals and the establishment of the rule of law. I think my relative success has been due to my willingness to give way.

We met obstacles and small-minded people in China. You people are even indecent in not telling the truth to yourselves. In some of the provinces. I virtually worshipped the man. You must begin at the beginning.

It has now been more than 35 years since Deng set the country on its current course. I could not accept it. Some think you have come to rob them. I have often told overseas friends that. I was willing to flow with the currents.

A moral society cannot be attained through policing. I felt I was there to help the country. I used to tell Chinese cadres: But because of all my years of business training and sense of fiduciary values. If you were operating in Singapore or Hong Kong. While they professed to share their wealth with you — they knew full well that they had nothing. All you can do is to avoid those places. They acted as though your wealth should be shared with them.

In China. I think. For centuries. One effect is that many grew up without a strong moral compass. I know many believe that it is impossible for a communist party to accept the rule of law. The group has two brands: Shangri-La and Traders hotels. Shangri-La properties are primarily five-star deluxe city centre and resort hotels with the majority of the city centre hotels having over guest rooms, whereas the resort properties tend to be slightly smaller.

Training is Shangri-La's top priority and significant resources are allocated annually to ensure employees have the skills and knowledge to be the best in their fields. Today there are 65 properties, of which only 18 are third party management agreements, throughout Asia Pacific, North America and the Middle East, representing a rooms inventory of over 28, The group is linked to 30 frequent flyer programmes and has its own frequent guest recognition programme — Golden Circle.

The Golden Circle programme has been acknowledged as being one of the best in the industry with over one million current members. Kerry Properties builds its success on its commitment to quality and an entrepreneurial flair for selecting prime sites in quality locations. With the depth of management expertise of the Kuok Group behind it, Kerry Properties is poised for further growth following the reunification of Hong Kong and China.

Kerry Properties Limited is one of the most prominent companies in the enormous network of companies owned or controlled by Robert Kuok. Kerry Properties principally downloads and develops real estate in Asia. It owns both residential and commercial property in Hong Kong as well as office buildings, car parks, and apartment buildings in China.

It has a large stake in several major construction projects such as the Western Harbor Crossing Tunnel and a new airfreight terminal in Hong Kong, and the Shanghai expressway in China. It also owns millions of square feet of godown warehouse space in Hong Kong. Kerry Properties works closely with the Shangri-La chain of luxury hotels, which is also owned and operated by Robert Kuok companies.

Kerry often downloads the land that the hotels are later built on, and develops commercial and residential buildings in neighbourhoods surrounding a Shangri-La hotel.Tunku would also do favours for his friends, but he never adopted cronies.

I had no agenda whatsoever. In another sense. I shall stress that I had not — and indeed, have not — lost one iota of my affection for Singapore Since I was in the international sugar-trading business, with mobile operations it seemed almost irresponsible not to trade sugar from a low-tax base.

Some of these migrants started life in their new homes as rickshaw pullers. He was by then an elderly man. Parliament went into deep freeze.