Excerpt from Lim Goh Tong's autobiography

Published On: Nov 15 2011 12:39:33 PM EST
Updated On: Nov 15 2011 12:44:43 PM EST

Lim Goh Tong

The following is an excerpt from "My Story," the autobiography of Genting Group founder Lim Goh Tong:

"The Genting project basically fitted my idea of an ideal business: no one was interested in it, which meant no competition." 

"To be sure, I do have a healthy appetite for risk taking that is quite uncharacteristic of a Chinaman businessman. The fact that I was game enough to take the plunge into the cruise industry when I was 75 years old testifies to this. I believe that to succeed in business, one has to be what the Chinese say dan da xin xi, be bold but cautions. Once a decision is made with sound reasoning, the rest is hard work, determination and perseverance to see it through to fruition. Cutting corners and resorting to trickery and deceit are never my cup of tea. I firmly believe there is no shortcut to success."

On his parents:

"While my father was busy with his business of dealing in vegetable seeds, rabbits and other items, my mother held the fort at home, caring for her brood of seven children. Despite her bound feet, she had to do a lot of heavy work. But she never complained."

"I love and respect my parents. Even now, when I am already a silver-haired octogenarian, I still miss both of them deeply, especially my mother. Her words, her loving gaze, still live vividly in my mind. Those who know me well know I have a picture of her in my office and my bedroom."

"My parents also reminded us constantly to be down-to-earth in life and that "modest wealth comes from frugality and great wealth is Heaven’s will." Right from childhood, my mind has been etched with the values that I should stay on the right track, work hard, avoid cutting corners and achieve my goals in a progressive, pragmatic way."

On leaving his native China for Malaysia:

"On the eve of departure, my mother kept reminding me that being in a foreign land, I must be tolerant. Any situation that degenerated into a dispute or a fight would only result in both parties getting hurt, not matter who had the upper hand in the end, she said, Her words, ingrained in me ever since, were to have a great influence on me in my dealings with others in later years.

As the ship sailed away, I had very little idea as to what I wanted to achieve. My attitude then was to take things as they came along. I told myself that I would be content with being able to earn enough to send home some money to feed my family. Anything beyond this was a remote, extravagant dream.

It never occurred to me in my wildest dreams then that one day, 59 years later in February 1996, I would be able to return to my native country on board Superstar Pisces, a brand new 40,800-tonne luxury liner of my won cruise company. As it sailed majestically into the Chinese port on its inaugural Hong Kong-Xiamen run, I could not help wondering at the vicissitudes of life and feeling grateful that fate has been so kind to me."

On Family:

"I cherish the family that my wife and I have built up together. My family has been the driving force behind my struggles. In the Chinese language, guojia, the bi-character word for nation, and the character jia, meaning family. This means that country and family are inseparable and one cannot exist without the other. So I set great store by not forgetting my ancestral roots. Though all in my family have lone become Malaysian citizens, I have, on many occasions, visited my native place in China with my children and grandchildren to pay homage to our ancestors.

After all these years, what gratifies me most is the fact that under the meticulous, loving care of their mother, all the six children—three boys and three girls—that Heaven has blessed us with, have grown up and have had the opportunity to receive higher education."

"Even during those hectic days when I was struggling to build up my business, I made it a point to spend a fair amount of time with my family. I believe a warm, harmonious family is more important to a man than his career."

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