Mr. Goh Cheng Liang - Founder - Wuthelam Group
A Tale Of Two Men With Totally Different Personalities
Today’s Straits Time Report on the philanthropy of Goh Foundation which was founded by Mr. Goh Cheng Liang of Wuthelam Holdings fame reminded me of two men whom I came across while working at Jones Lang Wootton (now known as Jones Lang LaSalle) in 1978/1980. Jones Lang’s office, Wuthelam Holdings/Liang Court and an Off-Shore Bank were on the 39th floor of OCBC Centre.
Mr. Goh was the Big Boss of Wuthelam while the British Off-Shore Bank had a young Caucasian Manager. To me, their personalities could not be more different. Let me elaborate :
On each floor of OCBC Centre were two sets of doors which led from the lift lobbies/toilets to the offices. Whenever my colleagues and I met Mr. Goh either lift lobby, he would be the first to greet us : “Good morning/Good afternoon, young men (as we then were), “ He did not know us personally. But he probably recognised that we were staff of a neighbouring Company. Somehow he was always faster than us in making the greeting. We will return the greetings, somewhat embarrassed and in humility. After all he was the Big Boss and we were just still wet-behind-the-ears young grads fresh out of university.
He also always insisted on holding open the lift lobby doors for us to walk through before him, We were greatly humbled by his gestures.
The Caucasian Manager behaved totally differently. He ‘looked through us" as if we were transparent, if we did meet along the office corridor. At the lift lobby doors, he would fold his arms and expect to have the doors opened for him to pass through. We did not mind doing so for a few times. When it was clear he expected the “door-holding service” from us as a given, we slammed the doors after passing through.
While my colleagues and I held Mr. Goh in highest esteem and we were contemptuous towards the Caucasian Manager, until the latter’s office relocated to another building.