Category Archives: Captains & Legends 传奇

THE RENAISSANCE MAN 商贸复兴者

Alex Hooi Kiang Lim

President Of The Chinese Chamber Of Commerce Victoria

维多利亚中华总商会会长

The ancient Chinese were famous for their inventions and great feats of engineering like the Great Wall of China amongst many. Another forte of the Chinese, ancient or modern, is trade and commerce. Standing staunchly behind this philosophy is Alex Hooi Kiang Lim, President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce Victoria (CCCV).

Committee Members  of Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Victoria

Hailing from Klang, Malaysia, near Port Klang, the world’s 12th busiest port, he was not always born to trade although he came from a family of trading background.  Graduating from Monash University with a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Geography and Planning, he was a bit overwhelmed when his professor finally told him that he was a qualified Urban Economic Planner. That was because he was probably a handful of Malaysians that enrolled in the Arts faculty as most were  always in Engineering, Economics or Law and it was a stigma then not to be part of the mainstream!

Unsure of his footing, he went back to Malaysia and moonlighted with architectural, finance and insurance companies. Over the years he wore many hats and was even a Director of Nexnews Bhd. Nevertheless during the financial crisis in 1997, a good friend from Sabah landed him smack on a lucrative land deal in East Malaysia. “At that time during the financial crisis, there were lots of land but no interest in Sabah. My brother and I bought a large tract of land at an unbelievable price then and started planting oil palm. It was an expensive learning curve as we had no previous experiences in Palm Oil Cultivation. We made lots of mistakes and costly ones too but ultimately we made good.” After 12 years and an irresistible offer from a leading plantation conglomerate, the Lim brothers cashed in and Alex migrated to Melbourne, Australia.

“I made the decision to come to Australia mainly for my eldest son, who was very slow in learning but after migrating here he was diagnosed positively for Autism. Australia indeed provides a better environment for his area of autism. I chose Melbourne because I studied here thus quite familiar with the set up and indeed Melbourne has more support and education for autistic children. The community at large is also more caring and understanding towards people with disabilities. I am indeed very grateful to God and also the caring nature of the Government ”

“I hope to see the CCCV becomes more involved cross culturally, networking with the Italian, Israeli and Greek chambers of commerce to enrich the business community in Victoria. Regionally we are developing bilateral relationships with other Chinese Chamber of Commerce particularly in Malaysia,Philippines, Thailand and other Asean nations as our market threshold is relatively small therefore we need to encourage more investments both ways.”

Even in a land so far down south, Lim’s entrepreneurial fire burned within. He collaborated with Mammoth Empire Melbourne and developed a piece of land at the corner of Elizabeth and A’Beckett Streets. Together they completed MY80, 54 levels of 350 apartment units which sold out very quickly. Lim’s reputation as a property developer and consultant was then cemented and they soon developed Empire Melbourne which also sold out within six months. ‘Our timing of selling and final settlements were just right”.

Alex’s family photo

To Alex apart from his business, his wife Li Har and and his 4 sons are most important to him. He spent plenty of time partnering with Li Har in grooming their boys to be of good character and values. He always stressed on attitude and mannerisms.” What is the point of being smart and wealthy but has no character and insensitive to people around you”

“I love to entertain. Our house was built for entertaining and to host people from all walks of life. I work out at the gym almost every morning and am passionately involved in world evangelical missions. I have been to Pakistan, India, Nepal, Xinjiang, Myanmmar and Laos for short term missions and more so to be exposed to the challenges faced by the people. It was a humbling experience.” When asked to describe himself in three words, this renaissance man thought carefully and chose “integrity, sincerity and simplicity”.

The irony of Lim’s ascension to the CCCV Presidency is that he is not Chinese educated background but yet was elected. So he struggles with Mandarin.” I always make good with my visions through speeches and sharing in English and Teochew and building good relationships with a good interpreter” he quipped.

He currently sits on the boards of a few development companies both locally and overseas providing consultancies and still looking at a few potential sites and will pounced on it when it meets the criterias. Finally, Alex stressed that his journey was never easy but were filled with lots of challenges be it relationships or businesses, and very grateful to his wife Li Har, his brother Hui Seng, Dato Tong Kooi Ong and Dato Seri Maximus Ongkili who has stood by him through those tumultuous years.” 

中国古代以伟大的发明和建筑工程著称,比如万里长城。至于华人的另一个强项-商业和贸易,从古至今依旧源远流长。而维多利亚中华总商会(CCCV)会长Alex Hooi Kiang Lim也是商贸理念的坚定秉承者。

他出生于马来西亚巴生港附近,这是全球排名第十二繁忙的港口。虽然成长于商贸背景的家庭,但他并非一开始就踏上从商之路。Alex自莫纳什大学毕业并取得城市地理和规划技术学士学位,而当教授最终告知,他已经是一名合格的城市经济规划师时,他却显得有点不知所措。那是因为他可能是少数进入文科系的马来西亚人,一般人总是选择在工程,经济学或法学领域进修,因此非主流是有点羞耻感!

由于对本身立足点的不明确,他回到了马来西亚,在建筑、金融和保险公司兼职工作。多年来,他身兼数职,甚至曾是Nexnews Bhd的董事。1997年金融危机爆发之际,一名好朋友在马来西亚东部帮他敲定了一笔交易。“当时正历经金融危机,那时在沙巴的土地很多,人们却毫无投资兴趣。我和兄弟以不可思议的价格买下了一大片土地,开始种植油棕。这是相当昂贵的学习曲线过程,由于缺乏油棕种植经验,我们犯了许多错误,付出一些代价,但最终我们也成功且创造利润。”十二年后,在一家大型种植园集团展开不可抗拒的银弹攻势下,两兄弟转手了事业并兑现资金,Alex移居澳大利亚墨尔本。

“移居澳大利亚是为了我的长子,他在学习吸收过程中反应迟缓,后来诊断患有自闭症。澳大利亚在自闭症区域这块提供了相对更好的环境,所以做出决定后我们就彻底执行落实迁离。至于我选择墨尔本是基于留学经历,这里对自闭症儿童有更完善的支持和教育。而社会对身障者的爱心和理解亦与日俱增,政府的关怀也令人感激。”

即使在如此遥远的南方,Alex的创业热情也在内心持续燃烧。他与帝国集团墨尔本(Mammoth Empire Melbourne)合作,在Elizabeth与A’Beckett街的拐角处买了一块地。他们携手打造了MY80项目,这栋54层的350套公寓深受欢迎,火速售罄。作为一名房地产开发商兼顾问,他的声誉得到了巩固,紧接着开发帝国墨尔本(Empire Melbourne)项目,6个月内宣布楼盘卖光。“我们售卖和最终结算的时机恰到好处。”

对Alex来说,除了事业,妻子Li Har和4名儿子对他来说是最重要的。他花了大量时间与妻子培育孩子们具备良好的品格和价值观。他总是强调态度和言谈举止;“一个人即使再聪明富有,但没有个性主见,而且对周围的人麻木不仁有什么意义?”

他把本身的爱好列为社交和与人交往,“我喜欢交际。我的房子是为款待人们而构建。我每天早上都去健身房锻炼。另外,我热爱全世界福音传教活动,曾在巴基斯坦、印度、尼泊尔、新疆,缅甸和老挝等执行短期任务,并且感受当地人面临的挑战,这是令人体验谦卑的历练。”当被要求用三个词来描述自己时,这位商贸复兴者仔细思索了一下,选择了“正直、热情和简单”。

而他荣任CCCV主席的出乎意料之处在于,他虽然没有接受过正统中文教育,但仍然当选了。所以他努力学习华语,“我总是用英语和潮州话来实现梦想,建立良好的人际关系和进行融洽的传达。”他目前是在本地和海外数家开发公司作为董事会成员提供咨询服务,同时还在考察几个具有潜力的开发点,当确认符合标准就会伺机出击。

最后,Alex强调他的人生一路走来并非平坦顺畅,而是充满了许多挑战性的人际关系或业务,因此感谢他的妻子、兄弟Hui Seng,拿督童贵旺和拿督斯里Maximus Ongkili曾在动荡不安的年代支持着他。

By Sloane Patterson     

From Success to Significance 从成功到真谛

Simon J. Costa

Humanitarian, AO

人道主义者, AO

Nelson Mandela once said, “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice.” In this perspective, Simon J. Costa is the judge, jury and executive power. 

The 52-year-old Australian has been recognised for his services to the disadvantaged within Australia and internationally with the Pride of Australia Medal, appointed a Senior Officer of the Order of Australia and awarded a Global Humanitarian Award by the United Nations. 

Costa describes his life journey as being separated into two distinct halves. “During the first half I was driven by a relentless pursuit of success. In my second half, I still have the same determination, but I am now pursuing significance.” 

“Everywhere I went, the priority was studying the problem – not solving the problem. There was severe malnutrition in regions where tonnes of food was being produced and never consumed; the result of inefficient agricultural and supply chain practices.”

Never a person to settle for mediocrity, Costa is always pushing boundaries. At age 37, he became the head of one of Australia’s largest private organisations, controlling multiple companies and employing over 13,000 people. He had wealth, power and influence. At age 44 Costa began reflecting on his purpose in life and the legacy he wanted to leave behind. “I did not feel a meaningful legacy would be represented by the amount of money I had in my bank account or the number of properties I leave to my children. I began exploring ways in which I could use the gifts I had been blessed with to benefit others.” 

In 2011, Costa made the life-changing decision to step away from all corporate responsibilities and tackle two of the world’s most significant problems – starvation and poverty in developing countries. Costa joined the United Nations as a volunteer, focusing on improving the lives of people in sub-Saharan Africa whose existence revolved around agriculture. “I never expected the work would become such a passion for me, nor did I anticipate I would stay involved for over seven years.”

“I did not feel a meaningful legacy would be represented by the amount of money I had in my bank account or the number of properties I leave to my children. I  began exploring ways in which I could use the gifts I had been blessed with to benefit others.” 

The compassionate businessman was initially shocked to discover the scale of the food loss in the region and the lack of urgency to address the causal issues. Working with the UN World Food Program, Costa and his team launched a pilot program involving 2000 farms in East and West Africa. The success of the project attracted strong donor support and expanded to involve over 100,000 farming families over the following years. 

A study conducted by MIT University (Boston) revealed the education and technologies introduced by Costa’s team resulted in a staggering 98% reduction in food loss and provided a pathway towards global food security, greatly reducing poverty and starvation.

Since returning to Australia at the end of 2018, Costa has remained highly active. His new company, Inspiring-Leader, supports CEOs and executives in becoming more effective business leaders. Not surprisingly, Costa gives 100% of his fees to charity. 

前南非总统 Nelson Mandela 曾经说过:“战胜贫困不是慈善的任务,而是正义的行动。”从这个角度解析,Simon J. Costa同时集法官、陪审团和行政力量于一身。

这名52岁的澳大利亚人最近因在澳大利亚国内和国际上为弱势群体所做的贡献而获得“澳大利亚荣誉勋章”,任命为澳大利亚勋章高级官员(AO),同时被联合国授予全球人道主义奖。

Costa将他的人生旅程分为两个截然不同的部分。“在我的上半生,对于成功的不懈追求成为我的驱动力。在后半生,仍然具备同样的动力,但我现在着重于生命意义。”

“我觉得有意义的遗产并非银行账户里有多少钱,或者要留给孩子多少资产,而是开始思索如何利用我所被赐予的一切来造福他人。”

他从来不是一个甘于平庸的人,总是在挑战极限。37岁时,身为澳大利亚最大的私人组织之一的负责人,掌管着多家公司,手下拥有超过1.3万名员工,可谓是财富、权力和影响力兼具。 而44岁时, Costa开始反思他的人生目标和名下的财产。“我觉得有意义的遗产并非银行账户里有多少钱,或者要留给孩子多少资产,而是开始思索如何利用我所被赐予的一切来造福他人。”

2011年,Costa毅然做出改变人生的决定,放弃和解除了所有的企业管理职,积极投入解决世界上两项最严重的课题——发展中国家的饥饿和贫困问题。他作为一名志愿者加入了联合国,致力于改善撒哈拉以南非洲地区以农业为中心的人们生活。“这份工作出乎意料之外的点燃我的激情,从没想过会在这里工作超过7年。”

“我的所到之处,优先考虑的似乎都是学习,并非解决问题。由于供应链效率低下、农业和贸易问题,在那些生产数吨粮食却从未消费的地区,造成了严重的营养不良。”

这位极富恻隐之心的商人最初为粮食损耗问题的严重性感到震惊,并且意识到解决因果问题的紧迫性。他与团队携手联合国世界粮食计划署展开合作,启动了一个涉及非洲2000个农场的试点项目计划。该项目得到了捐助者的大力支持,并扩大到1.6万个农业家庭,第二年持续延伸至4.2万个农场。

一份来自波士顿麻省理工大学的详细报告显示,Costa团队引进的教育和技术从中减少了98%的粮食损耗度,从而为全球粮食安全开辟了一条有效通道,很大程度舒缓了贫困和饥饿。

自2018年底回到澳大利亚以来,Costa一直保持活跃状态。他新成立的公司Inspiring Leader,提供支持和咨询予企业的首席执行官和高管们,让他们成为更高效的领导者。当然,毫无疑问,所有相关收益100%捐献慈善机构。

By Billie Ooi-Ng Lean Gaik

The Thor of Real Estate 房地产之雷神

Toni El-Helou
Director & Senior Auctioneer of Biggin & Scott Boroondara
Biggin & Scott Boroondara董事、高级拍卖商

Acclaimed pianist and composer Vladimir Samoylovich once said, 

“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is practice.” Learning to manage an auction is no different. 

As powerful as Thor with his hammer, award-winning auctioneer Toni El-Helou knows that better than anyone else as he pushes himself with endless drills and practice. “Motivation gets you started, habits keep you going.”

‘Sold!’ is a word he uses regularly, closing deals with ease for buyers and sellers alike. As director of Biggin&Scott Boroondara, El-Helou is a respected name in the real estate industry. Skilled in negotiation, sales, real estate and business development, he is a strong real estate professional with a master’s degree in architecture, finance and real estate from BHS. Co-founder of a successful mortgage brokerage business with his wife Kris, his professional background includes a wealth of knowledge in finance, properties, commercial and residential developments. “We believe in creating relationships not transactions.”

His lean and slim built come from a love for sports. El-Helou enjoys tennis competitions and is an active member of the Royal Melbourne Tennis Club. His wife and four kids ensure he strikes a balance between work, pleasure and family life.  This state of happiness and equilibrium makes him more connected to his clients.  He can understand, consider and listen to their needs more effectively and appreciates that everyone has different goals and ambitions.

Motivation gets you started, habits keep you going. Believe and you will achieve.

A local resident of Boroondara for the last 20 years, Tony lives and breathes the local lifestyle of fantastic restaurants, cafes, reputable schools and sporting facilities. He brings passion and an exceptional understanding of what clients want in the Boroondara precinct and surrounding areas. Delivering results and a personalised service, he is known in the industry as an excellent communicator and has a reputation for ‘not leaving any stone unturned’. As a community-minded individual and family man, El-Helou has been described as ‘a dedicated breath of fresh air to the real estate industry’. 

We believe in creating relationships not transactions.

闻名的钢琴兼作曲家Vladimir Samoylovich曾说过:“平凡与非凡的区别在于实践”。至于拍卖的管理学问也出自同样原理。

手执与雷神一样强大力量的锤子,屡获殊荣的拍卖师Toni El-Helou会比任何人都清楚这一点,因为他以不间断的努力和实践来推动自己。“动力让你开始,习惯让你前进。”

我们相信建立关系,而不仅是交易。

“卖出!”他的这句常用词撮合了众多买卖双方轻松达成交易。而作为Biggin & Scott Boroondara 的董事,Toni El-Helou 在房地产领域还是一个备受尊崇的名字。他擅长谈判与销售,房产和商业开发,身为颇具实力的房产专业人士,拥有BHS的建筑、金融和房地产硕士学位。他妻子Kris共同创立了一家成功的抵押贷款经纪公司,而他丰富的学识背景运用在金融、房地产、商业和住宅开发方面更是得心应手。“我们相信建立关系,而不仅是交易。”

动力让你开始,习惯让你前进。相信,就会有收获。

Toni El-Helou的标准身材源于对运动的坚持不懈。他热爱网球比赛,是墨尔本皇家网球俱乐部的活跃成员。而妻子和4名孩子也是他确保在工作、娱乐和家庭生活之间取得平衡的重心。这种幸福平衡的状态使他与客户的联系更加紧密。他能更有效与深刻的理解、考虑和倾听客户们的需求,并清晰知道每个人都有不同的目标和抱负。

20年以来安居于Boroondara,他享受着当地写意舒适的生活方式,无论是一流的餐厅、咖啡馆或者是著名的学校和体育设施。他对Boroondara区域和周边地区的客户需求推动有着极大的热情和更深层的了解。至于效率和个性化服务方面,他在业内以出色的沟通者著称,处事态度讲究全力以赴。作为同时具备社区意识的个人和居家男性,ToniEl-Helou 被誉为“房地产业界的一股清流”。

Text by Billie Ooi-Ng Lean Gaik