Khoo Teck Puat

Khoo Teck Puat was well known for the Goodwood Park Hotel in Singapore, The Standard Chartered Bank as well as the Goodwood Group in London.  Born in 1917 and an estimated wealth of $4.3billion when he passed away. Mr Khoo started his career with the OCBC bank as a bank clerk but quickly got promoted and even became the Chairman for one of the most important government department in Singapore.  He was the Chairman of Central Provident Fund.   As history has it, Mr Khoo left OCBC Bank because of not keeping up with trend of other banks – and not expanding fast enough.  Khoo had 14 kids and of course, the most publicly known one is Eric Khoo the film maker.  Khoo died in 2004 and his children sold most of his majority shares to Temasek Holdings.

George Quek

For some they measure success with a lot of money but I loved the local success from home especially if it is someone who’ve started their own brand and own business with their own ideas.  And George Quek is one such inspirational person to me because he is from my home town and he is fondly known as the Food Court King.

Back home food courts are very popular and to manage one, you will have to have some skill because it involves getting a lot of cooks together but they are also their own bosses.  George Quek not only manages Food Courts but also is the MD for BreadTalk a well known designer bread shop in Asia.

Born in a humble family, George Quek I read was raised to earn his own keeps and that nothing is free nor does anyone owes anything to him.  Success didn’t come easy for George Quek, in fact, he was a man of many trades before becoming who he is today and he had many setbacks as well but that didn’t stop him from pursuing his dream and being creative.  Under his belt, George Quek had an ice cream business, a bak cho mee business, a chicken rice business, a dragon beard candy business and now of course managing some successful food court as well as Breadtalk.

For all his hard work and challenges, George Quek was awarded the EY Emerging Entrepreneur Of The Year 2006.  Yes, pretty impressive  for our home boy as the BreadTalk group has like  400 bakery outlets in 16 countries and also operates the well known Din Tai Fung restaurants.  Adapting to changes and willing them to his success, that is what I admire about Mr Quek and we all can learn a thing or two from him.

Charice Pempengco

I’ve come across Clarice Pempengco’s youtube videos lately by accident and was so intrigue with her story and success, I feel that I need to write about this 21 yrs old who’ve inspired the world.  Raised by a single mother, the youtube video tells a story of how Charice was discovered after many, many years of enduring hardship and perseverance from both mother and daughter.  They never gave up!  who would have known that this little philipino girl who have such a strong vocal would one day become an international star and travel the world.  Charice who would have never known what any musical instruments  once upon a time can now proudly tell you that she knows everything that is needed to know about becoming a singer, a tv actress and a recording artist. Charice has come a long way from her humble beginnings but she has taught many that if you believed in yourself, nothing is impossible.  Interviewed by Ellen Degeneres, Oprah Winfrey and singing with Celine Dion are a few of the dreams she never taught would have happened if she didn’t preserved.

Nina Wang

Nina Wang was one of the most richest woman in Asia – and was known for her eccentric ways of dressing up and her ponytail – that she insist on spotting during her later years.  Net worth of more than $4.2 billion at the time of her death, it is said that Nina loved investing in  silver ounce  and also shopping.   Nina Wang was the widow of chemical magnate in Shanghai Teddy Want – who was kidnapped and disappeared in 1990.

Nina Wang certainly had some traumatic years after her husband’s death, from fighting for the will of her deceased husband to the Feng Shui master that she was involved with.  Rumor has it that she died of ovarian cancer but it wasn’t confirmed.  But she definitely had a good head for business because she had taken over the helm of her deceased husband and built a property empire with it.

The media had claimed that she was really frugal but so was her deceased husband and there were so many mystery surrounding the wealth of Teddy Wang and how the came about so much money. Nevertheless, she and her husband did make a lot of good investment as you all can see and even though loads of ransom money was paid during those kidnapping, they still had so much left.

Dr Tahir

Networth of $805 million – Dr Tahir was named by Forbes as the #26 richest man in Indonesia.  This man has has holdings in a hospital chain and duty free shops but what’s most admirable about him is – he is giving a portion of his wealth to charity and good causes.  I’ve read that he is always thinking of how he can help society and give back to society – now tell me who can be this way – not thinking of himself but others.  Not many of us can do it – I hope that if I ever get rich, I will be like Dr Tahir too but of course, he gives to good causes like building schools and hospitals. One of the more well known causes that Dr Tahir is currently involved in will be the Bill Gates and his wife foundation.  He has committed more than $100 million into this foundation.  And though a millionaire, he still calls his mother everyday to ask how she is doing – a quality that I hope everyone will have.

Aburizal Bakrie

You might just be looking at the next Indonesian President here  – for Aburizal Bakrie is concentrating mostly on his political career since 2012.  Of course, you ‘ve also read a lot about his business and all the fiasco that was going around with Nathaniel Rothschild and he was finally ousted out from the partnership – so I’ve read a long time ago.  But Mr Bakrie is still someone to watch because as we see 2014 drawing nearer, you might want to re-look at the economy in Indonesia if you have investment there.

I’m particularly interested because my maternal grandmother is from Medan, so I try to learn a little more about Indonesia all the time.   Mr Bakrie is said to be a politician first and then a businessman – but we can see also see the business isn’t going as well as it used to be during his father’s time.  We all know that his wealth started during his father’s time during the reign of   Soeharto’s time.  And like everyone else during the Asia’s economic crisis some 20 yrs ago, Bakrie was able to get refinancing and turned things around.

Although not as successful in the business front at the moment, it is rumored that the company is based on borrowed money, Bakrie is still net worth at $890 million by Forbes.

Johnny Tri Nguyen

Born in Vietnam but migrated to USA California at the age of 8 with his parents and siblings – Johnny is very famous back home in Vietnam.  Known as the Brad Pitt there, Johnny definitely lived up to the expectations of his fans back home.  He is not only a stunt man but a television and film actor.  The most memorable double he did recently were of Spider man. Was married with 2 daughters, he now has little time with his daughters for they are in France for school.   Pretty successful in his own rights, Johnny is not looking to remarry, his believed of loving another person without needing to sign on the dotted line is just about what my spouse feels too.

Chew Hua Seng

You’ve gotta loved stories like Chew Hua Seng’s – a fisherman’s son – who became a multi-millionaire not by fluke of course but he wasn’t really planning to be the boss either.  In fact, the only reason why he became the boss was because no bosses wanted to hire him he confessed in one interview many years ago.  The 12 richest man in Singapore, Chew came from a poor family and he had to help out in the family by selling fishes in an outdoor market when he was a kid.

And even though he had to struggle because he didn’t come from a rich home, he managed to finish his university by selling insurance part time and even bought a motorcyle and a second hand car.  For those who lived in Singapore, you will understand that buying a car during those days even now is a great deal because of the COE that you have to pay for and they are at exorbitant prices.

Anyhow, Chew decided to become his own boss after he didn’t get any job offer and even though he did well, it was not without its ups and downs.  But even though he was hit the hardest when his business went sour due to no fault of his, he carried on and pull thru’ and is now the owner and founder of Raffles Education Corporation, the largest private education provider in Asia.

I just loved stories like that – and Chew didn’t forget to give back to the community and society like the indoor sport hall of Montfort Secondary School.   I loved his ” you cannot undo things but you can move on” motto.

P. Ramlee

Much loved by everyone in Asia – even though you might not be a Malay, you would still loved his movies. P. Ramlee was a legend, born in Penang, Malaysia – sadly he died when he was only in his 40s – very young by anyone standards of heart attack.   Winning a singing contest, P. Ramlee continued to be in the movies, a director and of course – his singing went a long way. Everyone loved his movies and his singing, he was charming and women and men around Asia just fell in loved with him.  He was very talented and was awarded many, many awards.  They even named a street and a house – made into a museum after him.