I inadvertently discovered that Chinese Kapitan in Malaysia Yap Ah Loy and American oil magnate John D.Rockefeller were figures of the same Age.
Yap was born in 1837 and Rockefeller was born two years later. Both had experienced very difficult childhood. Yap was a cowherd while Rockefeller raised chickens.
When Yap was travelling all the way from China to Malaya, Rockefeller had to suffer humiliation before getting his first job as an assistant bookkeeper.
Yap got his first tin mine in his 20s and started to make rapid advances in his career; while Rockefeller got his first oil well and started to make fortune.
Yap had become one of the most power and wealth concentrated people in Malaya while Rockefeller rose as the richest man and the greatest philanthropist in the US.
There are so many similarities between Yap and Rockefeller but at the same time, there are also great differences between the two of them.
Today, the Yap family has declined but the Rockefeller family is still so wealthy with more than US$300 billion assets. It is expected to continue being wealthy in the foreseeable future.
The objective of such a comparison is not to belittle the Yap family. On the contrary, I have full appreciation of Yap's great grandchildren who are open-minded and contented with the ordinary. However, the contrast still tells us some life principles.
Perhaps, Yap was limited to his personal factors and had neglected the management knowledge of sustainability. He had also failed to grasp the transformation trend of social change and as a result, his wealth turned zero.
Meanwhile, Rockefeller started from oil exploitation and expended his business to the oil refining market, as well as the financial and manufacturing industries, reaching all aspects of the US economy.
He was specialised in using levering power to expand the industrial development under his business group and from industrial production, he accumulated capital to control the financial network.
Rockefeller's success was the success of the US capitalism. He said that: "If I am broke and thrown to a desert, I can still rebuild the dynasty as long as there is a camel caravan crossing."
Rockefeller and Western enterprises believe in professionalism and industrial power, that is why their wealth and status can be maintained. This is the condition lacked by Yap and many Chinese entrepreneurs.
The Rockefeller is able to pass its wealth to the sixth generation and it is actually closely related to its family education.
Although he is the richest man in the United States, Rockefeller still required his children and grandchildren to do house work in exchange for their pocket money. His eldest grandson recalled that his first business trade was made when he sold his rabbit to a scientific laboratory.
Rockefeller told his son that the starting point is not the end. Regardless of a person's origin, his success or failure in the future lies on his own efforts.
Therefore, his children and grandchildren do not use the family wealth to buy British castle, French manor or Italian fine arts. Instead, they accumulate the money and made contribution to hospitals, universities and global philanthropy.
Rockefeller's story of success and wisdom of life do not only educated his children and grandchildren, but have also affected the values of the Americans.
From the decline of the Yap family and the attitude of a parvenu's son in China who hit a person to death with his car but still said arrogantly that: "My father is Li Gang", we know where the problems lie.