A Loving and Strict Father

By Tan Yen Fong

Kuok believed the most important word in life is 奋斗 (strive).

Kuok’s daughter Kuok Hui Kwong shared, “When we were kids, our father would still care about us despite his busy schedule. He especially cared about our education. Hong Kong was still a British colonial then. hence, many of our friends from well-off families were sent to international schools or British schools by their parents. However, our father insisted we study Chinese, particularly, Mandarin, not Cantonese. At that time, the only Chinese school in Hong Kong was at North Point, which was about a 20-minute drive away and we finished our elementary education there. I must say we did whine about it as Mandarin is not as easy as English. There was a lot of homework. But now, we are thankful to our father for insisting we learn Mandarin.”

Kuok’s expectations for his children were no different from any other father’s – to live in a good family and develop their strengths.

“I hope my kids can contribute to the company. I know they won’t have to face a painstaking entrepreneurial process like I did when I was laying the foundation for the business, such as experiencing financial shortages and being held in contempt by banks. However, I really hope they will become outstanding leaders, build a happy family while developing their strengths and overcoming any shortcomings.”

So, who will succeed Kuok? That is perhaps the question on many people’s mind.

When Kuok retired in 1992, he appointed his eldest son, Beau Kuok Khoon Chen as his successor. However, during an interview with Bloomberg in 2013, Kuok refused to confirm if his business would be inherited by Beau. He believed that with the right successor, his business kingdom can be sustained and maintained in his glorious state for generations to come.

“I will only leave a legacy of precious teachings, but not wealth or fortune to my children. Our business empire can be sustained for many generations to come if they follow the precious teachings taught to them.”  

In an exclusive interview with Bloomberg, Kuok said, “I have never worried about inheritance. Everything on earth is dynamic. I can only give my children a message, not money. If they follow it, we can go another three or four generations.”

Extracted from ROBERT KUOK by Tan Yen Fong

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