Monday, November 5, 2007

Not the Uncle Lim next door


90 years ago in a small village in Anxi, Hokien, China, the Lim family welcomed what soon-to-be the owner of one of South East Asia's most famous and popular entertainment destination, and one of the riches man in Malaysia in the future.

Uncle Lim, which i often address him, owned the Genting Group. Everybody knows that, and everybody knows that Genting is the place to go if you want to get away from the hussle and bussle of life. The founder of Genting Group -Uncle Lim passes away 11 days ago --- 23.10.2007. I was deemed to write a post as a tribute to him, as he (indirectly) helped (still helping) me a whole lot! Thank you Uncle Lim for everything...

At the age of 19, with USD 2.00, and some clothings, Uncle Lim bid adeu to his parents and home, followed what everyone did and dreamed - to strive for a better life and came to Malaya, they call it "south sea"... You can now imagine yourself, with RM 2.00, leaving Malaysia, where you have lived for the almost 20 years and go to an unknown place, and don't forget, you don't have internet or handphone to call home!!! (i still can't imagine how they could do it!) But according to my dad, life was really really tough those days. People were poor, and sweet potatoes were the only daily food available. For your info, my dad came to Malaysia when he was 7 (should be around 1960+), along with my grandma. he viewed rice as delicacy when he first came here!

Coming back to the story of Uncle Lim, I bet that at that time, no one would have believe that this young fellow would later on open a casino on top of a mountain, or build a few world-class hotels in the middle of no where in some thick monsoon rain forest! But it was what that happen!

He started his career by selling scrap metal, old machinery, basically all sorts of odd jobs. According to the papers i read, Uncle Lim is a person that never give up easily. Savings were accumulated day by day. He started buiding Genting from scratch, even when he had finished using all his savings and almost bankrupt, he didn't give up. Sheer determination and hard work continued. The people around him thought he was crazy. "Where got people want to go up mountain play wan???"

His life and fortune changed when the late Tunku issued him a casino license. Genting prospered. Genting Highlands became the City of Entertainment. It's one of the biggest business in South East Asia. Genting Group had the financial strength to branch into other fields e.g. Star Cruise, LNG, power utility..... Uncle Lim became the 3rd riches man in the country!

The opening ceremony for Genting Highlands, with Tunku, almost 40 years ago

"Trash mountain become Gold mountain"

But unlike those typical big bosses or directors, he was simple and generous. I can't count how many charitable organization he (was) financialing. Donations, job opportunities, funds for different types of organization, NGOs, scholarships, all are his contribution to the society. The Malaysian economy depends on Genting too. Every year, billions of ringgit are being brought in by tourist to Genting and Malaysia. Don't forget those live conserts by famous singers too... Lots of them are held at Genting too!!!

Uncle Lim run the company well. He always looked after his workers and always help them when he could. He son Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay is now the new Chairman of Genting Group, and is doing as well and keeping up the good work. Wish him more success in the future!

Uncle Lim and Uncle Lim Jr.

This post is to acknowledge the help that Genting gave me, which i hope to repay them one day. Yes, he (was) helping me paying my fees, giving me some pocket money, and the note-book i am using now. Genting Sanyen Power is currently helping me a lot by reducing the financial burden of my parents, and i can't explain my gratitude in words. If it was not for Uncle Lim's determination and hard work, we won't get to go to Genting and enjoy ourselves! I owe a lot to Uncle Lim, that's why i wanted to go to Genting tomorrow and drop by some flowers for Uncle Lim. But disappointingly, the timing is just not right....

So last week when the news broke out that Uncle Lim had passed away i really wanted to "send" him off but i was in the midst of my finals... I couldn't make it.

It was in the headlines!!!

The funeral was one off the grandest the country has ever seen. Politicians, businessmen, adults, old folks, teachers, all sorts of organization, even big "dai lou", people from all walks of life attended it. Estimated around 10000 people attended the funeral! Of course, our PM and DPM were the guest of honour... Li Ka Sing sent his condolences from Hong Kong too!

TAN SRI LIM GOH TONG (1918-2007): A life that inspires

1918 - Born in Anxi, Fujian Province, China
1937 - Arrived in Malaya at the age of 19
1944 - Married Lee Kim Hua, now Puan Sri Lee
1945 - Post WWII, ventured into second-hand machinery trading, then iron mining and construction
1963 - Hit on the idea of building the Genting Highlands casino resort while working on the Cameron hydro-electric dam. Initial idea was a 38-room hotel with basic tourist facilities
1965 - Established Genting Highlands Sdn Bhd on April 27 with Tan Sri Mohd Noah Omar. Started work on access road to Genting on Aug 18. Began applying to Pahang and Selangor governments for land
1969 - Foundation stone of the Highlands Hotel laid by then-prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. Applied to the government for casino licence
1971 - Completed access road. Faced bankruptcy at one point because construction of the road generated no income. Started operations in May.
1978 - Set up the family charitable foundation Yayasan Lim
1979 - Conferred the title of Tan Sri
1989 - Set up Resorts World Bhd to be listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange
1999 - Estimated to be worth US$2 billion (RM7.6 billion) by Forbes Magazine, after taking into account impact of the Asian financial crisis
2000 - Star Cruises listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange; acquisition of Norwegian Cruise Line was completed
2002 - Built the world's then-largest hotel, the 3,300-room First World Hotel, which was opened by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, then prime minister. The resort registered some 12 million visitors annually
2003 - Handed chairmanship of Genting group to his son, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay
2006 - Genting won bid to build Singapore's second integrated casino resort. The highland resort catered to more than 18 million visitors
2007 - Estimated to be Malaysia's third richest man, worth US$4.3 billion (RM14.6 billion) by Forbes. Transformed into the City of Entertainment, the crown jewel Genting Highlands Resort now has more than 10,000 rooms, more than 90 dining outlets, 80 retail outlets, convention facilities and indoor and outdoor theme parks

Some people are born great, some people are not. Some people had greatness thrust upon them. For me, Uncle Lim is neither of them. His believes in "bu4 qu1 bu4 rao2" (never give up) has proved to be the main factor behind his success. He is really a role model for all of us. He made all of us proud and proof that only the sky is our limit!
May Uncle Lim rest in peace and his thoughts and way of life be remebered...
PS: Anybody feel like going to Genting and pay some respect to Uncle Lim or drop by some flowers please let me know, because i plan to go too.


Evil-Lip said...

gosh... dude, u seriously write fantantic in this blog... especially the following phase u mention,
"Some people are born great, some people are not. Some people had greatness thrust upon them. For me, Uncle Lim is neither of them. His believes in "bu4 qu1 bu4 rao2" (never give up) has proved to be the main factor behind his success."
tis very very meaningful la... Uncle Lim really b a great n perfect model for us youngster sia...