On a hot Sunday morning (3 Mar 2013), I had the privilege to meet China multi-millionaire philanthropist Chen Guangbiao (陈光标) for breakfast at Bedok interchange Hawker Centre. Together with me were four other bloggers, Smith, Claire, Tech and Darren.
You can read their respective blog posts via omy Blog Club to find out the questions they posed to Chen and their impressions of him and his way of doing charity.
For a quick background read on who Chen Guangbiao is, please this previous blog post.
I did not sat down with Chen as I was with the working crew from omy.sg, facilitating the bloggers’ breakfast meeting.
Nonetheless, from my limited interaction with Chen, he come across as a rather sincere and earnest person, determined to do what he think is right, regardless what others have to say about him.
Claire asked Chen what is the most expensive item he bought for himself.
Given his showy way of doing charity, I was quite surprise when he answered saying it is probably a Patek Philippe wrist watch he was wearing:
The watch was said to be given to him by a fan and he do not know if it is even authentic.
Chen added he do not go for branded goods and advocate the same principle to his wife and family members. He also do not indulge in vices like gambling and his biggest “vice” and hobby is doing charity.
He mentioned if he were to visit Singapore again, he is considering going to the casinos to tell the high-rollers to donate their money to charitable causes instead.
I am impressed. Really.
I do hope Chen will visit Singapore again and follow through with this plan.
During the short one hour, we witnessed him gave 3 x US$100 notes on-the-spot to an old auntie selling tissue paper who approached his table and two elderly cleaners:
There is a sizable number of rich elites in this world like Chen who have amassed immense fortunes which the majority of us can never make in multiple lifetimes.
This video below about the income gap in the USA was released late last year and has gone viral. It shows how bad the income gap is in the USA by taking the ratio of the wealth and income of the top and comparing it with the bottom:
Isn’t it good that some like Chen choose to give back to society?
Borrowing a phrase from Deng Xiaoping: “”It doesn’t matter whether a cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice (不管黑貓白貓,會抓老鼠的就是好貓)”.
In other words, why bother how one is donating as long as he/she is giving back to society.