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Robert Kuok Hock Nien notes on the past sixty years

August 22nd, 2013

Robert Kuok Hock Nien’s notes on the past sixty years

robert-kuokTan Sri Robert Kuok Hock Nien (born 6 October 1923, in Johor Bahru, Johor), is an influential Malaysian Chinese businessman. According to Forbes his net worth is estimated to be around $10 billion on May 2008, making him the richest person in Southeast Asia. He is media shy and discreet; most of his businesses are privately held by him or his family. Apart from a multitude of enterprises in Malaysia, his companies have investments in many countries throughout Asia.

His business interests range from sugarcane plantations (Perlis Plantations Bhd), sugar refinery, flour milling, animal feed, oil and mining to finance, hotels, properties, trading and freight and publishing.

Robert Kuok Hock Nien’s notes on the past sixty years
(On the occasion of Kuok Group’s 60th Anniversary 10 April 2009)

 Robert Kuok Hock Nien(1)        My brothers and I owe our upbringing completely to Mother. She was steeped in Ru-Jiao – the teachings of Confucius, Mencius, Laozi and other Chinese sages. Ru-Jiao teaches the correct behaviour for a human being on his life on earth. Mother gently, and sometimes strongly, drummed into the minds of her three boys the values of honesty, of never cheating, lying, stealing or envying other people their material wealth or physical attributes.

(2)        Father died on 25 December 1948 night without leaving a will. Following the Japanese surrender, he had re-registered the firm as a sole proprietorship. We went to court to get an appointment as managers, permitting us to continue to manage Tong Seng & Co. The judge said that, as there were two widows, the firm and the estate should be wound up.

(3)        We decide to establish Kuok Brothers Limited. In mid-January 1949, five of us met at a small roundtable in our home in Johore Bahru.
Present were my MOTHER, cousin number five HOCK CHIN, cousin number twelve HOCK SENG, my brother HOCK KHEE nicknamed Philip (a.k.a. cousin number seventeen), and myself (a.k.a. cousin number twenty). We sat down and Mother said, “Nien, would you like to start?” I said, “Fine, yes I will start.” To cut the long story short, we got started, and commenced business from a little shop house in Johore Bharu on 1 April 1949.

(4)        As a young man, I thought there was no substitute for hard work and thinking up good, honest business plans and, without respite, pushing
them along. There will always be business on earth. Be humble; be straight; don’t be crooked; don’t take advantage of people. To be a successful businessman, I think you really need to brush all your senses every morning, just as you brush your teeth. I coined the phrase “honing your senses” in business: your vision, hearing, sense of smell, touch and taste. All these senses come in very useful.

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