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替天行什么道?— 看华校生骆锦地如何回馈社会
Turning Wealth into a Charitable and Artistic Legacy
Elizabeth Lie
Photos courtesy of Mr Loke Gim Tay
Published: EduNation, Issue 5, September-October 2013
Mr Loke Gim Tay is a Malaysian-born Chinese businessman who made good in Singapore, and who is now known as an extraordinary entrepreneur with a heart for the community. Because of his altruism he is particularly well-known in the arts and education circles in Malaysia, Singapore and China.

“Everything fell into place and I have been given more than I need,” mused Mr Loke. “Since I have been blessed, I can now be a blessing to others around me.”

An Extraordinary Life

Born in 1958, Mr Loke spent his early years in his hometown in Penang, Malaysia and studied at the Chung Ling High School there. He arrived in Singapore in 1979 on a Singapore government scholarship to study Building and Estate Management at the National University of Singapore. Upon graduation, he joined the civil service.

But after seven years, he realised it was not what he wanted — not if he wanted to make a name for himself. So he stepped out of his comfort zone and left, at the age of 32.

“When you build something up with your bare hands, it will mean so much more to you, so that was what I did. Back then, I was all alone in Singapore. I had left my loved ones behind in Penang and I wanted to do them proud. I wanted to be able to provide for my family. I wanted to feel a greater sense of independence. I figured that the fastest way to achieve all that would be to go into business,” explained Mr Loke.

At the time, his altruistic spirit had not manifested itself. “Even if I had wanted to help the community then, I was in no position to do so. We must be realistic. How can I help others if my own life is not in order? I had to make things right for myself first before I could make a change in society, influence others to do their part to help the community, and pass on this spirit of giving back to the next generation.”

He was willing to try anything, as long as it gave him an opportunity to gain business experience. “It didn’t matter what was behind the door. What mattered was that there was an opportunity waiting for me behind the door. I just needed an opportunity and I would make the best out of it and be the best at it,” said Mr Loke.

From the civil service, he joined the glass industry.

He started work in a glass curtain wall company and did everything that he was asked to do. It was no walk in the park but he quickly learnt the ropes. He even made use of what he learnt from his time in the civil service. “You have to be clear about what you’re doing and what you have to do. Establish the steps you need to take to achieve your goal, and follow the steps,” recounted Mr Loke.

But a year in, he decided to set up his own company. Taking a risk, he ventured into the glass manufacturing business. At the time, many people said it was a sunset industry but Mr Loke was undeterred. He did his research, realised that there was a market for high-tech glass systems and set his heart on transforming the industry.

“When there is a problem, you shouldn’t focus your attention on it. You should think of a solution. You were not the one who caused the problem but you can solve it, so channelling all of your energy into finding a solution is a smarter move. And if you put your heart and soul into it, you will most definitely succeed,” said Mr Loke.

Today, Mr Loke is the owner and managing director of Flamelite, a specialist high-tech glass company. He is recognised as a local pioneer in the manufacturing of a variety of high-tech glass products, including radiation-resistant and fire-resistant varieties which are used in hospitals, science laboratories and military camps. Mr Loke even experimented with the making of bullet-resistant glass. His competitors were selling bullet-resistant glass that was eight to ten inches thick but the specimen that Flamelite came up with was twenty times thinner — a complete breakthrough in those days.

The Secret to Success

Although his success was partly due to the pro-enterprise business environment in Singapore, Mr Loke also attributes it to his school teachers, and particularly those from his alma mater Chung Ling High School who drummed his values into him.

The Chinese-medium school is one of the top schools in Malaysia and its teaching is steeped in Chinese culture. The wisdom that he gained in school coupled with the school environment accounts for his tenacity in trying situations. “Nothing fazes me,” he said. “I am thankful to the School for giving me an invaluable set of life skills. That is the wonder of a Chinese education that builds character development by cultivating one’s morals, virtues and values. It teaches you how to treat others, what to do in the face of failure, to face each challenge head on, to be aware of your strengths, to have fighting spirit and to never hang your head in defeat even when the odds are against you. You learn to decide what you want and go about doing it, knowing that you can do it.”

He revealed that when he struck out on his own, he earned more in a month than he would in a year if he had remained a salaried employee. But Mr Loke is modest about his commercial success. Instead, he looks at it as a vehicle for him to carry out his community work.

“When you have achieved a sense of stability in your life, that’s when you can and should contribute to the betterment of society. Rather than accumulate material possessions, you can help those who are in need and make a difference in their lives. That’s much more meaningful,” said Mr Loke.

As such, he is quick to help those around him and those who matter to him. Since Mr Loke strongly believes that it was his education in Chung Ling High School that not only made him who he is today but also gave him what he has today, he has done a lot by way of giving back to the School.

He explained that this was the rational choice. “Charity begins at home. Is there a need to head off to far-flung places like Africa to do charity work when you are unsure of what you can do to help them? Start with what you’re familiar with. For me, it was my alma mater.”

Giving Back to Chung Ling High School

As the Honorary President of Chung Ling High School Alumni in Singapore he does his best to ensure that the School gets what it needs, and there is no limit to what he donates in any one year.

When he became a successful businessman, the first thing he did for the School was to pay for 30 IBM (International Business Machines) computers for the School’s computer lab. These were the best computers in the 1990s. He also fitted the lab with air conditioners and bought better tables and chairs. As a former athlete, Mr Loke donated more money to build a gymnasium for the School. These donations came to more than $200,000.

He decided to “give back” in another more direct way when he made a simple observation: “My former teachers were old and retired, and were leading such simple lives. I thought that they deserved much more than that.”

As a result, every Chinese New Year, Mr Loke gives these retired teachers a red packet as a mark of his respect and gratitude. Other alumni have also joined in the practice.

“This was even covered by The Star, a local English newspaper that doesn’t usually write about Chinese schools. I guess they were also touched by our gesture. It’s not about the money that we’re giving our teachers. It’s more of a token of gratitude, to show that we appreciate and recognise their efforts in teaching us well,” explained Mr Loke.

In addition, Mr Loke has bought books for the school library and also, over the years, raised money to expand the covered walkway and renovate the canteen. “This is only the beginning for myself and the other alumni members, to bring Chung Ling High School to greater heights,” he said.

But it is not just Chung Ling he donates to. As Mr Loke is close to the many Chinese associations in Singapore he also actively helps the Chinese schools here through a yearly contribution of about $40,000.

Promoting Chinese Culture and Art

Apart from giving back to education, Mr Loke is also well-known for his zeal in promoting Chinese culture and art.

He recalls that the spark of his love affair with Chinese culture was lit when he was given a copy of the Chinese classic novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, in school.

Inspired by the historical novel even as an adult, he set about looking for oil paintings of it. Unfortunately, there were none in the market at that time so Mr Loke commissioned a young and relatively unknown artist, Mr Xue Jinyong, to paint scenes from the novel. It was a process that took more than a decade but Mr Loke now reportedly owns the biggest collection in the world with 88 Romance of the Three Kingdoms paintings.

Each painting is worth an estimated $300,000 but to Mr Loke, each and every one of his paintings is priceless so he does not intend to sell or give any of them away. Instead, they form part of a travelling exhibition. His collection made its first appearance in 2007 in an exhibition at the famous Millennium Monument in Beijing in response to an invitation from the Chinese Ministry of Culture. Soon afterwards, in recognition of his contribution to Chinese art, Mr Loke was invited to sit, as an honorary member, on China’s Arts Appraisal Committee.

His art collection, which he started in 1989, has also been on display at the Joint Exhibition of the History of Chinese-medium Schools that was held in Hwa Chong Institution in 2008.

Not only does Mr Loke want to promote Chinese culture and art through his collection, but he also collects art pieces to preserve Penang’s heritage and, he hopes, to give Penang artists greater international recognition.

Accordingly, Mr Loke owns paintings by prominent Penang artists like the late Mr Khaw Sia and Mr Ang Swee Hin. The late Mr Khaw Sia is a renowned artist who painted in oil, pastel and watercolour with equal artistry, and is known for his paintings of orchids, while Mr Ang is one of the first few Chinese brush painters in Penang and is known for his landscape paintings.

“Mr Ang actually came to me, and told me that because he was getting old he was hoping that I could keep his paintings and display them in art exhibitions. Of course, I agreed,” said Mr Loke.

A Penangite at Heart

Even though Mr Loke is based in Singapore he returns to Penang at least once a month. He is proud of his roots and does his part in preserving the rich history of his beloved hometown by investing in heritage property in George Town. “There’s no other place that’s quite like Penang. Its vibrancy is the result of its colourful history. Its unique architecture reflects its colonial past and is a mixture of Western and Asian influences. I very much enjoy entertaining my guests, especially my Singaporean guests, in the heritage houses that I own,” said Mr Loke. To date he owns more than 50 of these properties.

“To lead a meaningful life, we must use our money to bring about positive changes in society. Respect can’t be bought so if you want others to respect you, lead an exemplary life. My education in Chung Ling High School allowed me to make good on my promise — to help my community when I’ve made it in life.”
 


精选文章 > 替天行什么道?— 看华校生骆锦地如何回馈社会
替天行什么道?— 看华校生骆锦地如何回馈社会
盛耿捷
图:骆锦地提供
刊载:《新学》, 第5期,2013年9月-10月
今年55岁的防辐射、防高温,高科技玻璃制造商骆锦地是地地道道的马来西亚槟城人,在槟城出生、长大,读完小学、中学、先修班,获得新加坡公共服务委员会(PSC)奖学金,1979年来新加坡大学,就读建筑系。毕业后在新加坡政府部门工作,完成奖学金合约后从商,从事具创意性的高科技玻璃制造工业,一举成为成功的企业家。

骆锦地接受《新学》新加坡教育双语双月刊专访,畅谈他在事业蒸蒸日上、生活安定后,如何不忘造福人群、回馈社会,在教育、文化艺术领域热心奉献。他说:“我们要弘扬的,不是事业成就,而是生活安定之后,能对人类作些什么贡献。”他认为钱赚得多了,只为满足自己物质的需求,是徒劳的。做人要知道感恩,要饮水思源,从中,他特别感到受益于教育。

“今天我吃得饱、穿得暖,都是因为受了良好的教育。我觉得老天给我的超越了我的需求,大概是想让我替天行道,做更多善事。老天不会出现在我们的面前,把鱼送给我们,既然我有了这么多鱼,大概是老天要我去分,那我就感应天意,去回馈社会吧。”

骆锦地知道世上需要帮忙的人太多了,自己只能有多少的力,做多少的事。“我只能够替天行道,至于行什么道,由天决定。天要我做什么,必定给我有这种能力,我就多做。”

身为一个华校生,骆锦地让我们知道,他从华文教育里学到的智慧、精神,是可以贡献社会的。他希望用自己的故事告诉大家,什么人都有能力为社会尽心尽力。“我做的事情如果能对社会有帮助,并不需要得到赞许,我只求自己没有白活。生命到了最后一天,在闭上眼睛之前,我能够坦然地告诉自己,这一生是值得的,我的生命没有白费。”

骆锦地的故事,从头说起:

法律与管理——我在政府部门的日子

骆锦地大学毕业后,在新加坡政府部门服务了八年。在这期间,政府部门的经历给了他很大的启示。从新加坡政府的运作,他开始了解法律的重要性,因为有法律、条规的存在与执行、管理,社会才会如此有条不紊、安定安宁。政府部门真正教给他的法宝,是管理的精髓。他看到法律是神圣、严肃的,不可亵渎。在执行、管理时,必定要立定原则,凡事都要坚定不移地执行,不能够摇摇摆摆、反复无常。这样,事情执行起来就会有非凡的效率,也就不会出乱子了。

这八年的经历,也让他决定留在新加坡发展。他说:“新加坡政府所做的事,让我心服口服,给我信心,让我看到将来。这里讲究实力,不必太多其他的招数,玩法跟其他地方不一样,实在是个好地方,应该留下来。”

弃公职从商,探索自己的路

离开新加坡政府部门是骆锦地开始自我探索的一个路程。成家立业,便是他在这段期间的头等大事。他毅然决定经商,先是在一家玻璃幕墙公司上班,由于他凡事都尽心尽力,任何事情都要做到最好,为公司带来了很大的利润。他表示,这一切都归功于新加坡政府部门的训练。公共服务的训练,让他了解到办事不过就是那么一个流程,先立定条规、三申五令,然后是第一、第二、第三步骤,再来是执行、管理。不管什么领域,都是同样的道理,这样什么事做起来都没问题。

为什么会选择玻璃工业呢?其实,他并未作出任何选择,只是刚好有人把他引领进门,他就紧紧把握住机会,全力以赴。“当时我根本不知道自己要做什么,我要的只是一个商机,是饥不择食,毫无选择。那时候,我就像一个软弱的小孩,少林寺接受我,我就学少林功夫;峨嵋派接受我,我就学峨嵋功夫。谁收留了我,我就学他的功夫,然后使出浑身解数,努力练习,成为宗师。要是我一直在研究少林、峨嵋、武当哪一个更好,最后什么也学不好。”

在公司工作了一年以后,骆锦地发现公司的理念和自己不符,就当机立断,离开,自己创业,研制高科技玻璃。当时一般人已经说玻璃工业是夕阳产业,骆锦地却在深思熟虑后,认为高科技玻璃仍有许多发展空间,自己开始研究防火、防弹、防辐射等高科技玻璃,另辟新径,终于打出名堂,创业的第一年已经赚取了为人打工10年的薪水。

他独树一帜的是,在制造高科技玻璃的过程中,除了玻璃原料是进口,所有研发都来自自己的创意,决不参考别人的产品,也不找专家咨询,或者看书找答案。

他表示:“你的问题是你的问题,我的问题是我的问题。我不要了解你的问题,不想花时间去了解你的问题、你的过错,我只是锁定目标,解答自己的问题。我平日只看几本中国古典名著,专业的书我是不看的。我认为书看多了,思想就被定型了。我不想死读书,人家说什么,我总想来个突破。其实发明东西是很容易的,只要肯动脑筋,处处是商机。

“我的目标是要解决吃饭的问题。肚子饿了,即便你给我一块石头,我也要把它挤出一点肉汁来喝,把我有限的精力尽力发挥出来就对了。”喜欢思考,思考自己要解答的问题,而不去模糊焦点,使得他在高科技玻璃这一行业占有了一席之地。

痛苦的训练好过战死沙场

骆锦地把自己练就的一身好本领,归功于在槟城钟灵中学所受的严格而且繁重的教育。

当时,他要修读华文、英文、马来文三科语文,生物、化学、物理三门科学,地理、历史,还有两科数学。现在说起来,他也觉得恐怖,但是当时学生们都照单全收,没有人埋怨,因为他们知道这些都是必经的道路,没有人敢讨价还价。

骆锦地说:“痛苦的训练好过战死沙场。在学校里,大家都接受同样的训练,不管多么严峻,也不要求特别待遇。大家明白,减少付出,就不能要求和别人有同等待遇。当时学校要我练铁砂掌,我就练铁砂掌;要我练铁布衫,我就练铁布衫,把我锻炼成武功高强,百毒不侵。这是我非常感谢钟灵母校的。”

博大精深的中华文化

在钟灵中学,学到的不仅是在严峻环境下的成长,骆锦地还感受到了中华文化博大精深的奥妙。他谈到几个对他影响很大的中华思想体悟,让他培养出永不言败、永不低头的底气。

首先就是“庖丁解牛”,比喻经过反复实践,掌握了事物的客观规律,做事就能得心应手,运用自如。他认为只有了解自然规律,才能找到正确的途径去处理事情、解决问题。许多问题都是由于人们不懂得自然事物规律,又自以为是而引起的。罔顾上天赋予的智慧,事情就难以解决了。他指出地球已经运行几亿年了,没有发生问题。现在面对的问题是不懂得自然规律的人在胡搞、乱搞才发生的。

再来,就是“夏虫不可语于冰”,意思是指不和生长在夏天的虫谈论冰,比喻不和见识短浅的人论事。与人交谈时,说不通的人就不必勉强说清楚。在做事方面,也要知己知彼,知道自己的能力所在,做自己力所能及的东西。目标设得太高、太远,好高骛远,只会引向毁灭和失败的道路。

这几个体悟,仅仅是博大精深的中华文化中的冰山一角。骆锦地说:“华文教育教给我们的是几千年中华文化的智慧,就好比蘸酱,随手蘸一蘸便能品尝到无穷的美味。蘸一蘸这种酱料,就足够让我们奋斗上一段日子了。”

新加坡的优良环境

骆锦地也推崇新加坡的健康和优良的环境,让他有办法使出浑身解数,做出一番事业。

他说:“新加坡优良、健康的环境,仿佛给了我一个完美的厨房,加上接受良好教育给我的原料,有鱼、肉、菜、鸡、虾等,让我能够随心所欲地下厨,炖、焖、烤、煮、煎、炒,烹饪出一道道美味佳肴,这是我要感激新加坡的。

“很多人也有鱼、有虾、有鸡、有鸭,一身好本领,可惜周遭只有三块石头、几根火柴、一个破锅。只能炒、只能煎,却不能蒸、不能焖、不能炖、不能烤,就怀才不遇啦。”

人生有什么意义?要做更有意义的事

弃公职从商后,骆锦地便不停地努力奋斗,原本只不过是图个三餐温饱。后来自己创业,生意做起来了,第一年就赚到为人打工10年的薪水。生活有了保障,让他开始思索人生的真谛。他想,钱财维持生活固然重要,但是再赚下去只为充实物质生活也没什么意思,倒不如用它来做更有影响力、更有意义的事情,让自己的生命更充实、更多姿多彩,让自己的精神更加富足。

什么样的事情,才是有意义的事情呢?他深思:“我今天能够顺顺利利、轻轻松松,一切都是教育的动力、魔力和法力,是教育改变了我的生活。”于是,骆锦地有了一个新使命,他开始回馈社会,在教育、文化事业上奉献自己。

爱吾钟灵,豪宅建在心里

首先,他回到自己最为熟悉的钟灵中学,进行回报母校的事业。“回到母校与老师交流、发现老师都愁眉苦脸,校内的设备很简陋,都还是自己二三十年前用过的烂桌子、烂椅子。相比新加坡,新加坡的学校可说是‘富二代’了,设备仪器都美轮美奂,在物质上尽量要给学生舒服。马来西亚的华文学校因为得不到政府的关照,只有靠自己想办法才能生存下去。钟灵母校的物资虽然匮乏,好学向上的精神却非常饱足。我觉得这才是训练营。训练营重要的是提高学生的素质。训练营的草地够不够绿,没什么重要。训练营不是展览厅嘛。”

话虽这么说,他还是致力改善母校的环境和设施。他鼓动校友合力捐钱,进行扩展、提升学校有盖走廊、食堂等硬体设施的工作。2002年,他又捐出马币13万元(约新币5万元),为母校购置25台IBM电脑。这使得钟灵中学成为全马第一所配有IBM电脑系统的学校。这间电脑室后来命名为骆锦地电脑室。之后他再捐马币5000元(约新币2000元),给电脑室增添两台冷气机。

2004年,他捐出马币6万元(约新币2万3400元),协助钟灵中学北海分校增建健美室,让学校成为全国惟一一所健美设备最完善的中学。骆锦地说:“我从前在学校是运动健将,跳高、打空手道,又是童子军,很活跃,我明白运动的重要性。”

钟灵中学在槟城有三校,分别是钟灵独立中学、钟灵国民型中学和北海钟灵国民型中学。校方有任何需求,骆锦地都热心帮忙,基本上做到有求必应。为母校付出,不仅能让学弟学妹们有更好的学习环境,也增添了许多欢乐与奇迹。他并不在意自己花了多少钱,但心里却感到非常满足。他说:“很多人说我捐给钟灵的钱,可以买几栋房子,我并不在意。其实在我心里,已经建了许多豪宅。”

感谢师恩,传达心意

骆锦地也感恩曾经教过他的老师。2008年1月,为了对教过自己的老师表达谢意,骆锦地发动了“谢师感恩新春红包庆典”,邀请43名退休老师出席,将几位校友筹获的马币5万多元(约新币2万元)回馈给他们,每位老师都获得马币1100元(约新币430元)的大红包。这样的举动,轰动全马,也获得各大报章的表扬。

他说:“我们给老师的不是钱,而是一份心意,我们要让他们了解他们的努力并没有白费。一个人,除了衣食住行、吃喝玩乐,能有多少欢乐与激情的时刻?非常少。我们就制造了几个。看到老师们脸上真诚、亲切的笑容,人人看了都很感动。虽然这不算伟大,不过总算看到自己又做了一些有用的事情。”

撒下金钱的种子,种出一片树林

1994年,马来西亚华文学校校长为了争取华文源流中学合法的基本权益与发展空间,成立了马来西亚国民型华文中学校长理事会。然而,他们并未有充足的资金储备,许多要做的事情,由于得不到政府的赞助,都难以展开。于是,在朋友槟城恒毅中学校长吴文宝的提议下,骆锦地为校长理事会捐助了马币15万元(约新币5万9000元),他们用这笔钱来改善与促进马来西亚华文国民型中学的学习环境和条件。

骆锦地感叹道:“金钱只是一颗种子,他们却能种出一片树林。我因此很惭愧捐得太少。以后我还会再接再厉,继续捐钱。”

此外,骆锦地也参与新加坡一些教育活动,赞助了新加坡华校校友联合会的一些经费。在2008年11月,24所新马华校校友联办的“华校校史联合展”,骆锦地大力支持,出任联合展筹委会的副主席,同时也借出所珍藏的65幅《三国演义》油画,用于展览用途,协助推广中华文化。

从藏画开始,推广中华文化艺术

骆锦地也是一位收藏家,他从小就非常喜欢《三国演义》,认为《三国演义》是中华文化几千年来的精髓。他想在绘画中寻找三国人物的形象,却始终不如愿。1993年,他遇上一位名叫薛金拥的中国画家,两人志同道合,便开始合作,骆锦地赞助、薛金拥作画。一画下来,两人合作已有十多二十年,至今已绘有88幅《三国演义》油画,均由骆锦地收藏。

2006年,这组油画第一次在新加坡华侨中学举行的“华校校史联合展”中展出。2007年即受到中国文化部的邀请,到北京著名的中华世纪坛展出,骆锦地更获得中国文化部文化市场发展中心艺术品评估委员会颁发荣誉委员的殊荣。这一系列油画是全世界第一次以西方画技来表现中国文化精神的创作。这一系列油画将中华文化推往世界,让西方人认识到中国的英雄。这些画作是他心中所爱,对他而言,收藏画作是上天的恩赐,如果老天眷顾他,他还要继续收藏,直到不能收藏为止。

除了三国油画系列外,骆锦地还收藏了槟城画家翁树欣和许西亚的许多画作,在槟城积极开展文化艺术事业。自己位于槟城维多利亚草场路的独立洋房免费租借给槟城水墨画协会作为永久会所,让画师们在那里交流、作画。他说:“老天让我有能力不为房租烦恼,那就将它借给他们。我做这些事情,没有感到压力,那是老天在背后支持我,我就大方贡献,在我的生命中留下一个价码。”

购置老洋房,保护文化遗产

槟城是东南亚最早接触到西方文明的城市,至今仍保有许多文化古迹与文化遗产。英国殖民时期,为槟城带来了西方的医学、教育、法律、宗教,以及建筑。英国人离开以后,所遗留下来的建筑物非常珍贵。

“在槟城,你能够看到图样、模型都是西式的建筑物,但是在栋梁的尾端,却可以看到两只小狮子,柱子下面有一些花纹。这应该都是中国师傅的艺术点缀,当你去看时,你会感觉到他们的精神还活着。”

因此,骆锦地在槟城陆续购买了许多栋的古老建筑,如位于海chinese%20word_path.tif路的德国天利洋行旧址、牛干冬街的刘福仔故居“南华旅社”等。2012年,骆锦地耗费巨资,将位于牛干冬街的“南华旅社”重新修复,保留房子内的各个细节,希望打造成别具特色的古迹酒店。

他认为槟城有一股很大的潜力,那就是古迹历史的动力,这股动力是世界许多国家不能取代或竞争的,保留槟城的文化及古迹建筑物就是为槟城保留竞争的财富。

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