Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Death of Singapore's Richest Man....

Ng Teng Fong (estimated with a net worth of US$8billion) passed away today. Well, it really means nothing to me or the people around me. In fact, one of my colleagues was saying that it would be interesting to see who would get the inheritance. I realized that nobody really cares about his death.
What has he done for the society? What was he remembered for? (Shrewd Businessman?? As written in the article) I knew nothing about Ng Teng Fong, except the fact that he was very rich. Period. Perhaps, he has done some charitable work in anonymity (I hope so).
I compare him to Iconic Tycoons like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett & Lee Ka-Shing. I would feel sad if anyone of them passed away. They have contributed much to the society, in terms of Philanthropic activities and Business Philosophy, and most importantly, being a role model. Then, I realised that there is NO charismatic person in Singapore (except for LKY). There is no Singapore leader who I could look up to. It is quite sad. Singapore is packed with efficient mediocre people (that includes myself).
People will remember previous tycoons like Lee Kong Chian and Tan Kah Kee, whom had contributed alot to the society. Interestingly, I saw a Tan Kah Kee Hall when I was visiting UC Berkeley.
I doubt anybody will remember Ng Teng Fong 10 years from now. I don't even know who was the richest man 20 years ago (I think should be Sam Walton of Walmart). Rich people is only influential during his/her time.
On the other hand, I would always remember inspirational characters like Ernesto Che Guevara, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, Deng Xiaoping, Einstein (who is more like a Philosopher than a scientist to me) etc... Their spirit is always around... inspiring us and the future generations.


IE5208 said...

This was on ST's Forum:

Singapore's richest man left a legacy of humility

I REMEMBER my first encounter with property magnate Ng Teng Fong, who died on Tuesday, when my good friend and his son Philip took me to Mr Ng's office in Far East Shopping Centre.

Mr Ng struck me as a simple man - he was having dinner in a tiffin tray. That image of him has remained with me since.

He was also a prudent man who knew what was important and had his priorities right. He was more interested in spending time with his children.

Even his home, which I visited for his wake, had not changed since the last time I was there 20 years ago.

When I told the cabby who was driving me back that I was at the wake of Mr Ng, he exclaimed the obvious: 'The richest man in Singapore''.

Then the cabby added: 'He was generous and gave a lot to charity and yet had neither plaque nor statue to his name.'

Mr Ng's philosophy reminded him of a Chinese proverb: 'The earth does not know, only the heavens.' Mr Ng left a legacy of humility.
This was in the Sunday times (partial reproduction)

Mr Ng, said to have been a stickler for rules in life, would probably have been happy with the way the procession was organised. No loud-hailers, no music, no banners, no running along the road, no wailing as the hearse drove by - these were some of the rules laid down for Far East staff, according to an employee.

By the time the procession reached Choa Chu Kang at about 4.30pm, the heat of the afternoon had given way to cloudy skies.

As the rain pelted down, a simple Christian burial service was held in a white tent closed to the public. There was no opulent mausoleum, no ornate family crypt.

In his final resting place, Mr Ng Teng Fong - tycoon, property visionary, Singapore pioneer - lay among the normal folk, an 'ordinary man' in an ordinary grave.

In spite of his success, perhaps it is his desire to be like any other ordinary man.

I've no knowledge of his philanthropic deeds if any, but I look forward to read about them.

IE5208 said...

Btw, while penning this, I did some 'impromptu' google research ' on Ng Teng Fong and philanthropy. Your blog entry came up on the first page :P

Oh, you spoke about Gandhi. Incidentally I just watched the 1982 Biography movie about him. I'm sure you'll enjoy it :) (100%)

Boon said...

Thanks Jon for sharing... I think I bought the VCD along time ago, but I had not watched it yet, may be I can watch it over CNY.

I just want to challenge the article
"Then the cabby added: 'He was generous and gave a lot to charity and yet had neither plaque nor statue to his name.'

If there is no news about Mr Ng's charity work, how would the Cabby know about it? Unless the Cabby is his relative or the recipient.