Our Pioneers

Our Pioneers
The Group's foundations were built by our dedicated pioneers. Here are some of their stories, in their own words:
Rozina Amin
Steven Ho
Franz Donhauser
Gerald Seow
David Pang
Oh Siew Nam
Lim Siew Hong
Chan Swee Hong
Rozina Amin
Steven Ho
Franz Donhauser
Gerald Seow
David Pang
Oh Siew Nam
Lim Siew Hong
Chan Swee Hong
Rozina Amin
Steven Ho
Franz Donhauser
Gerald Seow
David Pang
Oh Siew Nam
Lim Siew Hong
Chan Swee Hong
Rozina Amin
Steven Ho
Franz Donhauser
Gerald Seow
David Pang
Oh Siew Nam
Lim Siew Hong
Chan Swee Hong
Rozina Amin

Executive Director, Shangri-La Hotels Malaysia

He looked at me and said, “Nobody is going to help you. You either sink or swim.” But that spurred me on. I said, “I will take on this challenge and learn as much as I can.”

I remember my first day at Perlis Plantations Berhad: My boss welcomed me and I said to him, “I will take on the challenge, but I just hope somebody will show me the ropes.” He looked at me and said, “Nobody is going to help you. You either sink or swim.” But that spurred me on. I said, “I will take on this challenge and learn as much as I can.”

 

That was the start of my career with the Group.

 

I am also very fortunate to have been able to work alongside great people. It is very important, to achieve your professional goals, that you give and receive honest feedback.

 

In my position, every day is a challenge and no two days are the same. I’ve made sacrifices to build my career. It was an ongoing struggle, every day, balancing my focus and time between work and family. I didn’t get to be as active as I would like to have been in my children’s lives when they were growing up. 

 

All these lessons put together have shaped me. In my current position, the challenge each day is to be steadfast, grounded and measured when the pressure is on.

Steven Ho

Chief Executive Officer, Kerry Properties

Without a certain level of chaos, you cannot get the energy out of things.

As a property development man, my job is addictive, because each project comes in before the previous one is completed, so you start designing and you fall in love with one after the other. 

 

I often talk about ‘energetic harmony’. You need to keep a very fair balance, a harmony, between groups and teams and people. But without a certain level of chaos, you cannot get the energy out of things. So the management of controlled chaos is very important. It takes wisdom, anticipation, power, experience, and qualities like trust and reliability. 

Franz Donhauser

General Manager, Island Shangri-La

You couldn’t find a better work ethic anywhere else.

My wonderful colleagues at Island Shangri-La have inspired me the most. Because of them I returned to Hong Kong from Sydney when other people at my age would have retired. 

 

It starts when I arrive at the hotel car park with the first friendly “Good Morning” greeting from Siu-Yin, who diligently cleans the company cars, and it never stops until the evening when the GROs challenge me, asking “Why are you still here?”  

 

During my first assignment at Island Shangri-La, we had an EXCO team working together for quite a few years; it was the best team I have worked with in my career – colleagues called us the Dream Team. You couldn’t find a better work ethic anywhere else.

Gerald Seow

Chairman, PCL

Chief Executive Officer, POSH

One of the ways I could see the world was to go to sea. I have always been fascinated with things that float...

 

Here, people are very humble and kind. There is a higher calling than just making money, and that has touched me.

I started out at sea as an apprentice when I was a young teenager, and by the time I was 27 I was a qualified master mariner.  I joined Pacific Carriers in January 1996.

 

I love the sea. In the 1960s in Singapore we were all poor, but it's a huge world and I wanted to travel. The opportunity to travel was only for the very rich or very privileged, so one of the ways I could see the world was to go to sea. I have always been fascinated with things that float. I did a lot of sailing when I was in school. I love looking at boats and yachts and pottering around with boats. I spend my holidays on a sailing boat as well. So it is a passion.  

 

I’ve had a blast. I enjoy my work, and I love the people. I am especially grateful that the Group has given me the opportunity and the trust to do the things that I wanted to do. Here, people are very humble and kind. There is a higher calling than just making money, and that has touched me. I believe that I have become a better person working for the Group. 

David Pang

Chief Executive Officer, Kerry Group Kuok Foundation

‘Heart’ is very important. That is pretty much everything in my life, that is what I believe in and that is what we emphasise for the Foundation. 

A humble person is more grateful, and a grateful person is more content. It is easy to work with somebody who is humble, grateful and content. Normally it means they have a bigger heart.

 

‘Heart’ is very important. That is pretty much everything in my life, that is what I believe in and that is what we emphasise for the Foundation. 

 

Charity is nothing new. For thousands of years people have been doing charity, but the world has not yet become a better place. To me, a simple reason is that people don’t put their hearts into it: They are willing to give the money, but they are not willing to spend the time.

 

If you want to form a foundation, you have to have a mission that you can work on for a hundred years, two hundred years, so the Foundation will last a hundred or two hundred years. Your mission has to be big enough. 

Oh Siew Nam

Chairman, PPB Group

I have had the opportunity to gain experience in so many industries, and to tackle things that I had no idea about. When the boss kicks you into the swimming pool, you learn to swim like hell. It was really fantastic for me.

I have had the opportunity to gain experience in so many industries, and to tackle things that I had no idea about. When the boss kicks you into the swimming pool, you learn to swim like hell. It was really fantastic for me.

 

Culture is very important. In the beginning, the Group’s culture was that everybody followed the leader. RK was not an armchair critic, but one who was seen to be working harder than us. He used to talk to all of us, so he knew how we felt. When he started MSM, he would talk to all the workers. Every job we did was hands-on. Everybody did everything for the company.

 

On top of that, it was fortunate that there was a great camaraderie among staff members, such that wherever we went, we could get full assistance and co-operation from members of the Group. All these things combined together gave us a very strong and cohesive team that could be mobilized at any moment. 

 

The Group today has still not lost that early spirit. During those days, there was so much to do and the focus was to get the job done. There was just no time for any airs or frivolities.

Lim Siew Hong

Senior Executive, Kuok Singapore

There were two big tables on the fifth floor of the company’s first office, at 15 Carpenter Street in Singapore, and we all ate together like one big family.

When I started work in Mr. Robert Kuok’s department, I was very young and ignorant, but eager to work hard and learn.  

 

I spent most of my time manning the telex machines. At that time, sending and receiving telexes was one of the fastest modes of communication.

 

I remember in the early days, when the company was small, we had lunch provided by an old cook we called “Ah Pek”. He would prepare a typical home-cooked lunch. 

 

There were two big tables on the fifth floor of the company’s first office, at 15 Carpenter Street in Singapore, and we all ate together like one big family. I have fond memories of those days.

 

I am always humbled when I think of Mr. RK’s personal touch and his kindness, especially when I know he is occupied by so many other important things and weighty matters.  

 

I feel truly blessed to have worked for Mr. RK personally. From him I have learned kindness, compassion, prudence, integrity, diligence and trustworthiness. These are values I try to emulate and to pass on to my children.

Chan Swee Hong

General Manager, Kuok Brothers

I always say to my younger colleagues in my yearly appraisals, “Please do not tell me you are good at your job, because you are supposed to be good at it.” 

The Group’s philosophy is founded on hard work and making straightforward, honest business transactions without short-changing anyone in the process. Still, we are able to maintain our efficient cost management and in that process make a profit and then share the value. To me, that is important. 

 

I always say to my younger colleagues in my yearly appraisals, “Please do not tell me you are good at your job, because you are supposed to be good at it.” 

 

What the company is always looking for is the little initiative that an employee takes over-and-above the normal requirements of their job. It’s important that when you do the work, you do it without seeking credit for it.

Rozina Amin

Executive Director, Shangri-La Hotels Malaysia

He looked at me and said, “Nobody is going to help you. You either sink or swim.” But that spurred me on. I said, “I will take on this challenge and learn as much as I can.”

I remember my first day at Perlis Plantations Berhad: My boss welcomed me and I said to him, “I will take on the challenge, but I just hope somebody will show me the ropes.” He looked at me and said, “Nobody is going to help you. You either sink or swim.” But that spurred me on. I said, “I will take on this challenge and learn as much as I can.”

 

That was the start of my career with the Group.

 

I am also very fortunate to have been able to work alongside great people. It is very important, to achieve your professional goals, that you give and receive honest feedback.

 

In my position, every day is a challenge and no two days are the same. I’ve made sacrifices to build my career. It was an ongoing struggle, every day, balancing my focus and time between work and family. I didn’t get to be as active as I would like to have been in my children’s lives when they were growing up. 

 

All these lessons put together have shaped me. In my current position, the challenge each day is to be steadfast, grounded and measured when the pressure is on.

Steven Ho

Chief Executive Officer, Kerry Properties

Without a certain level of chaos, you cannot get the energy out of things.

As a property development man, my job is addictive, because each project comes in before the previous one is completed, so you start designing and you fall in love with one after the other. 

 

I often talk about ‘energetic harmony’. You need to keep a very fair balance, a harmony, between groups and teams and people. But without a certain level of chaos, you cannot get the energy out of things. So the management of controlled chaos is very important. It takes wisdom, anticipation, power, experience, and qualities like trust and reliability. 

Franz Donhauser

General Manager, Island Shangri-La

You couldn’t find a better work ethic anywhere else.

My wonderful colleagues at Island Shangri-La have inspired me the most. Because of them I returned to Hong Kong from Sydney when other people at my age would have retired. 

 

It starts when I arrive at the hotel car park with the first friendly “Good Morning” greeting from Siu-Yin, who diligently cleans the company cars, and it never stops until the evening when the GROs challenge me, asking “Why are you still here?”  

 

During my first assignment at Island Shangri-La, we had an EXCO team working together for quite a few years; it was the best team I have worked with in my career – colleagues called us the Dream Team. You couldn’t find a better work ethic anywhere else.

Gerald Seow

Chairman, PCL

Chief Executive Officer, POSH

One of the ways I could see the world was to go to sea. I have always been fascinated with things that float...

 

Here, people are very humble and kind. There is a higher calling than just making money, and that has touched me.

I started out at sea as an apprentice when I was a young teenager, and by the time I was 27 I was a qualified master mariner.  I joined Pacific Carriers in January 1996.

 

I love the sea. In the 1960s in Singapore we were all poor, but it's a huge world and I wanted to travel. The opportunity to travel was only for the very rich or very privileged, so one of the ways I could see the world was to go to sea. I have always been fascinated with things that float. I did a lot of sailing when I was in school. I love looking at boats and yachts and pottering around with boats. I spend my holidays on a sailing boat as well. So it is a passion.  

 

I’ve had a blast. I enjoy my work, and I love the people. I am especially grateful that the Group has given me the opportunity and the trust to do the things that I wanted to do. Here, people are very humble and kind. There is a higher calling than just making money, and that has touched me. I believe that I have become a better person working for the Group. 

David Pang

Chief Executive Officer, Kerry Group Kuok Foundation

‘Heart’ is very important. That is pretty much everything in my life, that is what I believe in and that is what we emphasise for the Foundation. 

A humble person is more grateful, and a grateful person is more content. It is easy to work with somebody who is humble, grateful and content. Normally it means they have a bigger heart.

 

‘Heart’ is very important. That is pretty much everything in my life, that is what I believe in and that is what we emphasise for the Foundation. 

 

Charity is nothing new. For thousands of years people have been doing charity, but the world has not yet become a better place. To me, a simple reason is that people don’t put their hearts into it: They are willing to give the money, but they are not willing to spend the time.

 

If you want to form a foundation, you have to have a mission that you can work on for a hundred years, two hundred years, so the Foundation will last a hundred or two hundred years. Your mission has to be big enough. 

Oh Siew Nam

Chairman, PPB Group

I have had the opportunity to gain experience in so many industries, and to tackle things that I had no idea about. When the boss kicks you into the swimming pool, you learn to swim like hell. It was really fantastic for me.

I have had the opportunity to gain experience in so many industries, and to tackle things that I had no idea about. When the boss kicks you into the swimming pool, you learn to swim like hell. It was really fantastic for me.

 

Culture is very important. In the beginning, the Group’s culture was that everybody followed the leader. RK was not an armchair critic, but one who was seen to be working harder than us. He used to talk to all of us, so he knew how we felt. When he started MSM, he would talk to all the workers. Every job we did was hands-on. Everybody did everything for the company.

 

On top of that, it was fortunate that there was a great camaraderie among staff members, such that wherever we went, we could get full assistance and co-operation from members of the Group. All these things combined together gave us a very strong and cohesive team that could be mobilized at any moment. 

 

The Group today has still not lost that early spirit. During those days, there was so much to do and the focus was to get the job done. There was just no time for any airs or frivolities.

Lim Siew Hong

Senior Executive, Kuok Singapore

There were two big tables on the fifth floor of the company’s first office, at 15 Carpenter Street in Singapore, and we all ate together like one big family.

When I started work in Mr. Robert Kuok’s department, I was very young and ignorant, but eager to work hard and learn.  

 

I spent most of my time manning the telex machines. At that time, sending and receiving telexes was one of the fastest modes of communication.

 

I remember in the early days, when the company was small, we had lunch provided by an old cook we called “Ah Pek”. He would prepare a typical home-cooked lunch. 

 

There were two big tables on the fifth floor of the company’s first office, at 15 Carpenter Street in Singapore, and we all ate together like one big family. I have fond memories of those days.

 

I am always humbled when I think of Mr. RK’s personal touch and his kindness, especially when I know he is occupied by so many other important things and weighty matters.  

 

I feel truly blessed to have worked for Mr. RK personally. From him I have learned kindness, compassion, prudence, integrity, diligence and trustworthiness. These are values I try to emulate and to pass on to my children.

Chan Swee Hong

General Manager, Kuok Brothers

I always say to my younger colleagues in my yearly appraisals, “Please do not tell me you are good at your job, because you are supposed to be good at it.” 

The Group’s philosophy is founded on hard work and making straightforward, honest business transactions without short-changing anyone in the process. Still, we are able to maintain our efficient cost management and in that process make a profit and then share the value. To me, that is important. 

 

I always say to my younger colleagues in my yearly appraisals, “Please do not tell me you are good at your job, because you are supposed to be good at it.” 

 

What the company is always looking for is the little initiative that an employee takes over-and-above the normal requirements of their job. It’s important that when you do the work, you do it without seeking credit for it.

Rozina Amin

Executive Director, Shangri-La Hotels Malaysia

He looked at me and said, “Nobody is going to help you. You either sink or swim.” But that spurred me on. I said, “I will take on this challenge and learn as much as I can.”

I remember my first day at Perlis Plantations Berhad: My boss welcomed me and I said to him, “I will take on the challenge, but I just hope somebody will show me the ropes.” He looked at me and said, “Nobody is going to help you. You either sink or swim.” But that spurred me on. I said, “I will take on this challenge and learn as much as I can.”

 

That was the start of my career with the Group.

 

I am also very fortunate to have been able to work alongside great people. It is very important, to achieve your professional goals, that you give and receive honest feedback.

 

In my position, every day is a challenge and no two days are the same. I’ve made sacrifices to build my career. It was an ongoing struggle, every day, balancing my focus and time between work and family. I didn’t get to be as active as I would like to have been in my children’s lives when they were growing up. 

 

All these lessons put together have shaped me. In my current position, the challenge each day is to be steadfast, grounded and measured when the pressure is on.

Steven Ho

Chief Executive Officer, Kerry Properties

Without a certain level of chaos, you cannot get the energy out of things.

As a property development man, my job is addictive, because each project comes in before the previous one is completed, so you start designing and you fall in love with one after the other. 

 

I often talk about ‘energetic harmony’. You need to keep a very fair balance, a harmony, between groups and teams and people. But without a certain level of chaos, you cannot get the energy out of things. So the management of controlled chaos is very important. It takes wisdom, anticipation, power, experience, and qualities like trust and reliability. 

Franz Donhauser

General Manager, Island Shangri-La

You couldn’t find a better work ethic anywhere else.

My wonderful colleagues at Island Shangri-La have inspired me the most. Because of them I returned to Hong Kong from Sydney when other people at my age would have retired. 

 

It starts when I arrive at the hotel car park with the first friendly “Good Morning” greeting from Siu-Yin, who diligently cleans the company cars, and it never stops until the evening when the GROs challenge me, asking “Why are you still here?”  

 

During my first assignment at Island Shangri-La, we had an EXCO team working together for quite a few years; it was the best team I have worked with in my career – colleagues called us the Dream Team. You couldn’t find a better work ethic anywhere else.

Gerald Seow

Chairman, PCL

Chief Executive Officer, POSH

One of the ways I could see the world was to go to sea. I have always been fascinated with things that float...

 

Here, people are very humble and kind. There is a higher calling than just making money, and that has touched me.

I started out at sea as an apprentice when I was a young teenager, and by the time I was 27 I was a qualified master mariner.  I joined Pacific Carriers in January 1996.

 

I love the sea. In the 1960s in Singapore we were all poor, but it's a huge world and I wanted to travel. The opportunity to travel was only for the very rich or very privileged, so one of the ways I could see the world was to go to sea. I have always been fascinated with things that float. I did a lot of sailing when I was in school. I love looking at boats and yachts and pottering around with boats. I spend my holidays on a sailing boat as well. So it is a passion.  

 

I’ve had a blast. I enjoy my work, and I love the people. I am especially grateful that the Group has given me the opportunity and the trust to do the things that I wanted to do. Here, people are very humble and kind. There is a higher calling than just making money, and that has touched me. I believe that I have become a better person working for the Group. 

David Pang

Chief Executive Officer, Kerry Group Kuok Foundation

‘Heart’ is very important. That is pretty much everything in my life, that is what I believe in and that is what we emphasise for the Foundation. 

A humble person is more grateful, and a grateful person is more content. It is easy to work with somebody who is humble, grateful and content. Normally it means they have a bigger heart.

 

‘Heart’ is very important. That is pretty much everything in my life, that is what I believe in and that is what we emphasise for the Foundation. 

 

Charity is nothing new. For thousands of years people have been doing charity, but the world has not yet become a better place. To me, a simple reason is that people don’t put their hearts into it: They are willing to give the money, but they are not willing to spend the time.

 

If you want to form a foundation, you have to have a mission that you can work on for a hundred years, two hundred years, so the Foundation will last a hundred or two hundred years. Your mission has to be big enough. 

Oh Siew Nam

Chairman, PPB Group

I have had the opportunity to gain experience in so many industries, and to tackle things that I had no idea about. When the boss kicks you into the swimming pool, you learn to swim like hell. It was really fantastic for me.

I have had the opportunity to gain experience in so many industries, and to tackle things that I had no idea about. When the boss kicks you into the swimming pool, you learn to swim like hell. It was really fantastic for me.

 

Culture is very important. In the beginning, the Group’s culture was that everybody followed the leader. RK was not an armchair critic, but one who was seen to be working harder than us. He used to talk to all of us, so he knew how we felt. When he started MSM, he would talk to all the workers. Every job we did was hands-on. Everybody did everything for the company.

 

On top of that, it was fortunate that there was a great camaraderie among staff members, such that wherever we went, we could get full assistance and co-operation from members of the Group. All these things combined together gave us a very strong and cohesive team that could be mobilized at any moment. 

 

The Group today has still not lost that early spirit. During those days, there was so much to do and the focus was to get the job done. There was just no time for any airs or frivolities.

Lim Siew Hong

Senior Executive, Kuok Singapore

There were two big tables on the fifth floor of the company’s first office, at 15 Carpenter Street in Singapore, and we all ate together like one big family.

When I started work in Mr. Robert Kuok’s department, I was very young and ignorant, but eager to work hard and learn.  

 

I spent most of my time manning the telex machines. At that time, sending and receiving telexes was one of the fastest modes of communication.

 

I remember in the early days, when the company was small, we had lunch provided by an old cook we called “Ah Pek”. He would prepare a typical home-cooked lunch. 

 

There were two big tables on the fifth floor of the company’s first office, at 15 Carpenter Street in Singapore, and we all ate together like one big family. I have fond memories of those days.

 

I am always humbled when I think of Mr. RK’s personal touch and his kindness, especially when I know he is occupied by so many other important things and weighty matters.  

 

I feel truly blessed to have worked for Mr. RK personally. From him I have learned kindness, compassion, prudence, integrity, diligence and trustworthiness. These are values I try to emulate and to pass on to my children.

Chan Swee Hong

General Manager, Kuok Brothers

I always say to my younger colleagues in my yearly appraisals, “Please do not tell me you are good at your job, because you are supposed to be good at it.” 

The Group’s philosophy is founded on hard work and making straightforward, honest business transactions without short-changing anyone in the process. Still, we are able to maintain our efficient cost management and in that process make a profit and then share the value. To me, that is important. 

 

I always say to my younger colleagues in my yearly appraisals, “Please do not tell me you are good at your job, because you are supposed to be good at it.” 

 

What the company is always looking for is the little initiative that an employee takes over-and-above the normal requirements of their job. It’s important that when you do the work, you do it without seeking credit for it.

Rozina Amin

Executive Director, Shangri-La Hotels Malaysia

He looked at me and said, “Nobody is going to help you. You either sink or swim.” But that spurred me on. I said, “I will take on this challenge and learn as much as I can.”

I remember my first day at Perlis Plantations Berhad: My boss welcomed me and I said to him, “I will take on the challenge, but I just hope somebody will show me the ropes.” He looked at me and said, “Nobody is going to help you. You either sink or swim.” But that spurred me on. I said, “I will take on this challenge and learn as much as I can.”

 

That was the start of my career with the Group.

 

I am also very fortunate to have been able to work alongside great people. It is very important, to achieve your professional goals, that you give and receive honest feedback.

 

In my position, every day is a challenge and no two days are the same. I’ve made sacrifices to build my career. It was an ongoing struggle, every day, balancing my focus and time between work and family. I didn’t get to be as active as I would like to have been in my children’s lives when they were growing up. 

 

All these lessons put together have shaped me. In my current position, the challenge each day is to be steadfast, grounded and measured when the pressure is on.

Steven Ho

Chief Executive Officer, Kerry Properties

Without a certain level of chaos, you cannot get the energy out of things.

As a property development man, my job is addictive, because each project comes in before the previous one is completed, so you start designing and you fall in love with one after the other. 

 

I often talk about ‘energetic harmony’. You need to keep a very fair balance, a harmony, between groups and teams and people. But without a certain level of chaos, you cannot get the energy out of things. So the management of controlled chaos is very important. It takes wisdom, anticipation, power, experience, and qualities like trust and reliability. 

Franz Donhauser

General Manager, Island Shangri-La

You couldn’t find a better work ethic anywhere else.

My wonderful colleagues at Island Shangri-La have inspired me the most. Because of them I returned to Hong Kong from Sydney when other people at my age would have retired. 

 

It starts when I arrive at the hotel car park with the first friendly “Good Morning” greeting from Siu-Yin, who diligently cleans the company cars, and it never stops until the evening when the GROs challenge me, asking “Why are you still here?”  

 

During my first assignment at Island Shangri-La, we had an EXCO team working together for quite a few years; it was the best team I have worked with in my career – colleagues called us the Dream Team. You couldn’t find a better work ethic anywhere else.

Gerald Seow

Chairman, PCL

Chief Executive Officer, POSH

One of the ways I could see the world was to go to sea. I have always been fascinated with things that float...

 

Here, people are very humble and kind. There is a higher calling than just making money, and that has touched me.

I started out at sea as an apprentice when I was a young teenager, and by the time I was 27 I was a qualified master mariner.  I joined Pacific Carriers in January 1996.

 

I love the sea. In the 1960s in Singapore we were all poor, but it's a huge world and I wanted to travel. The opportunity to travel was only for the very rich or very privileged, so one of the ways I could see the world was to go to sea. I have always been fascinated with things that float. I did a lot of sailing when I was in school. I love looking at boats and yachts and pottering around with boats. I spend my holidays on a sailing boat as well. So it is a passion.  

 

I’ve had a blast. I enjoy my work, and I love the people. I am especially grateful that the Group has given me the opportunity and the trust to do the things that I wanted to do. Here, people are very humble and kind. There is a higher calling than just making money, and that has touched me. I believe that I have become a better person working for the Group. 

David Pang

Chief Executive Officer, Kerry Group Kuok Foundation

‘Heart’ is very important. That is pretty much everything in my life, that is what I believe in and that is what we emphasise for the Foundation. 

A humble person is more grateful, and a grateful person is more content. It is easy to work with somebody who is humble, grateful and content. Normally it means they have a bigger heart.

 

‘Heart’ is very important. That is pretty much everything in my life, that is what I believe in and that is what we emphasise for the Foundation. 

 

Charity is nothing new. For thousands of years people have been doing charity, but the world has not yet become a better place. To me, a simple reason is that people don’t put their hearts into it: They are willing to give the money, but they are not willing to spend the time.

 

If you want to form a foundation, you have to have a mission that you can work on for a hundred years, two hundred years, so the Foundation will last a hundred or two hundred years. Your mission has to be big enough. 

Oh Siew Nam

Chairman, PPB Group

I have had the opportunity to gain experience in so many industries, and to tackle things that I had no idea about. When the boss kicks you into the swimming pool, you learn to swim like hell. It was really fantastic for me.

I have had the opportunity to gain experience in so many industries, and to tackle things that I had no idea about. When the boss kicks you into the swimming pool, you learn to swim like hell. It was really fantastic for me.

 

Culture is very important. In the beginning, the Group’s culture was that everybody followed the leader. RK was not an armchair critic, but one who was seen to be working harder than us. He used to talk to all of us, so he knew how we felt. When he started MSM, he would talk to all the workers. Every job we did was hands-on. Everybody did everything for the company.

 

On top of that, it was fortunate that there was a great camaraderie among staff members, such that wherever we went, we could get full assistance and co-operation from members of the Group. All these things combined together gave us a very strong and cohesive team that could be mobilized at any moment. 

 

The Group today has still not lost that early spirit. During those days, there was so much to do and the focus was to get the job done. There was just no time for any airs or frivolities.

Lim Siew Hong

Senior Executive, Kuok Singapore

There were two big tables on the fifth floor of the company’s first office, at 15 Carpenter Street in Singapore, and we all ate together like one big family.

When I started work in Mr. Robert Kuok’s department, I was very young and ignorant, but eager to work hard and learn.  

 

I spent most of my time manning the telex machines. At that time, sending and receiving telexes was one of the fastest modes of communication.

 

I remember in the early days, when the company was small, we had lunch provided by an old cook we called “Ah Pek”. He would prepare a typical home-cooked lunch. 

 

There were two big tables on the fifth floor of the company’s first office, at 15 Carpenter Street in Singapore, and we all ate together like one big family. I have fond memories of those days.

 

I am always humbled when I think of Mr. RK’s personal touch and his kindness, especially when I know he is occupied by so many other important things and weighty matters.  

 

I feel truly blessed to have worked for Mr. RK personally. From him I have learned kindness, compassion, prudence, integrity, diligence and trustworthiness. These are values I try to emulate and to pass on to my children.

Chan Swee Hong

General Manager, Kuok Brothers

I always say to my younger colleagues in my yearly appraisals, “Please do not tell me you are good at your job, because you are supposed to be good at it.” 

The Group’s philosophy is founded on hard work and making straightforward, honest business transactions without short-changing anyone in the process. Still, we are able to maintain our efficient cost management and in that process make a profit and then share the value. To me, that is important. 

 

I always say to my younger colleagues in my yearly appraisals, “Please do not tell me you are good at your job, because you are supposed to be good at it.” 

 

What the company is always looking for is the little initiative that an employee takes over-and-above the normal requirements of their job. It’s important that when you do the work, you do it without seeking credit for it.

For more pioneer stories, contact kuokgrouparchives@kuokgroup.com