Robert Kuok’s memoir a frank narrative
Mahbob Abdullah | 09 Feb 2018 00:30

It is a rare treat to get a book like Robert Kuok: A Memoir. I sat down to enjoy every word. In the past, one could only hear about him, that he was attentive to all that was told, he was classmate to top politicians. He did not forgive a slight, and he would not forget a friend. He is loyal to those who gave him service and made sure they stayed on long after retirement age.

He was the top trader in rice. He was the Sugar King. His hand would appear to help friends in need. He delivered when it was in the national interest. He was secretive.

Now this book is a tell-all, blow-by-blow account of his childhood, his family, his business, and the problems that many other writers would prefer not to say. He was caned more than 50 times by his mother, who pointed out his faults. His mother had warned him that he tended to take away the bridge after he had used it, and therefore he had to be more helpful to others. There was not enough money at home, it showed in the clothing he wore to school, then there was the war, and hiding in a pineapple plantation in Johor, followed by the Emergency, and the loss of a brother shot by the security forces. He did not get on with his father. No other writer I had read had revealed so much about himself and his flaws. But his mother was there to guide him.