WRIT LARGE: Ch 12, Part 2
The Infallible Test
Lim Keong Hui, Lim’s eldest son, and Loui Lim, his youngest, are already seated at a private table with magnificent views of the course and Resorts World in the distance. They rise to greet me while their father makes the introductions and then takes his leave.
“Welcome,” says Keong Hui. “How did you enjoy your game?”
The resemblance with his father is striking. Solid and filled with a kind of wired energy, it is easy to understand how he followed in his father’s entrepreneurial footsteps. His smile is wide and his eyes take in everything around him. I wonder if he is subconsciously ensuring that everything is immaculate and running smoothly. His brother however, in complete contrast, is laidback, his clothes classily elegant as though he will be heading straight from brunch to pose for a spread in Tatler. His handshake is warm, his smile genuine. Despite the clothes, I do not get the impression that he is trying to impress, simply that he likes to wear tasteful clothes. Leann would love him.
I tell Keong Hui that they will need to order another shipment of golf balls and ask if either of them has lost five balls to the ravine at hole 7 or whether I can happily claim the title.
Loui laughs as the waiter sets menus in front of us and fills our cups with steaming coffee. “The title is all yours. Wear it with pride.”
“Our father tells us that you will be writing his biography,” says Keong Hui. “Has he told you a little about the family feuds?”
My gaze shifts between the two brothers. Keong Hui is sitting forward, eager to discuss the family situation, while Loui reclines in his seat, sipping his coffee, the breakfast menu in front of him. “You will have to forgive my brother’s eagerness,” he says. “He doesn’t seem to understand that some of us need caffeine before we can hold a regular conversation.”
I laugh. I have decided that I like them both and that they are both a reflection on Lim’s family values. I sip my coffee and tell them that I understand a little about the lawsuits and how they must have divided the family – uncertain whether to add Lim’s concerns that there are more battles to follow, I leave it at that.
“I guess it is a downfall of large wealthy families,” says Keong Hui. “All families have their squabbles, but the larger the empire, the farther there is to fall, and the more people who wish to remove some rungs from the ladder. It is disappointing because my grandfather would not have wished for this to happen.”
“I wish,” says Loui, setting the menu aside, “that certain family members would learn to respect the hard work my grandfather put in to raise himself from being a farmer in China, to the exalted position he held in his later years.”
On cue, a waiter attends to take our orders and remove the menus from the table.
I tell them that Lim’s great respect for his father and the legacy he left behind, shines through in everything that we have discussed, and that the biography will do the same. It is clearly the driving force behind the family empire, and I believe there is much to be learned from it.
“We all work hard,” says Loui. “I hold my hands up, I am not a morning person although I am coming round now with this excellent coffee, but I work hard, and I work long hours, because I believe that is the only way to be successful.”
Keong Hui nods. “We learned from the best. Well, most of us learned from the best. Unfortunately, as our father has no doubt made you aware, there are some who wish to claim the substantial rewards with very little effort, or at least very little effort in the right places.”
Feeling the rush of caffeine myself, and inspired by the way the brothers have welcomed me to join them, I ask Keong Hui about his latest venture since stepping down from Genting Hong Kong.
“I have acquired a nightclub brand, Zouk,” he says, his eyes lighting up. “I felt that I had taken Genting Hong Kong as far as it could go, and I was impatient to follow my other passions. I know my father wanted me to stay, but I work best when I am excited about a venture. And this is exciting.”
Loui smiles at his brother. “We share our father’s intuition for giving visitors an exciting vacation where they can escape everyday life. But, unlike our father, both Keong and I have grown up in a world where the nightlife is fizzing with energy, where people can lose themselves in the excitement of the roulette wheel or dance the night away beneath a neon ceiling. I love Tokyo. I cannot wait to return there when the world settles a little back to normality. My brother loves Vegas.”
Our food arrives and I realise that my round of golf has worked up my appetite; I am eager to tuck into my Eggs Benedict. The waiter offers salt and pepper, and we wait for him to leave before resuming the conversation.
“I would love to show you around my new resort,” says Keong, “should the opportunity arise. It is on a larger, more vibrant scale to Genting. It is a huge enterprise, a fully integrated resort in Vegas, but I am so proud of what we have already achieved. It is everything under one roof. It is loud, it is exciting, it is sexy.”
Loui raises his hands. “Whoa there,” he says to his brother, “are you allowed to say sexy before 11am?”
I laugh. I understand Lim’s concerns over his relationship with his eldest son, but I have certainly seen no hint of it over brunch. They have inherited their father’s passion and energy which is reflected in their own ventures, but I am also getting the sense of loyalty and respect that Lim is so determined to preserve. I certainly don’t feel that he has anything to fear from his sons. I tell Keong Hui that I would love to visit this new resort and that I am impressed by what I have seen so far at Genting.
“I would say you’ve seen nothing yet,” says Keong. “Let me guess, our father treated you to his karaoke experience last night?”
I nod and Loui groans aloud. “So predictable.”
I tell them that I was actually rather impressed.
“You are easily pleased,” says Keong. “Do you have any plans for this evening?”
I tell them that I am only here because their father’s employees were so generous in inviting the party across from Singapore, and that I am happy to go along with any suggestions they would care to give.
They share a glance. “You’re coming with us,” says Keong. “You need to experience all that Resorts World has to offer, and it will give you a taste of what my new venture is all about.”
I ask if we’re talking food, casinos, nightclubs.
“The works,” says Loui. “You might want to take a nap this afternoon. We don’t want you missing out on anything. And I think I might just know someone who will want to meet you this evening.”
I suggest that if it isn’t the golfing police, then I am looking forward to joining them.
After our meal, they arrange for a chauffeur driven Mercedes to take me back to the resort as they both have meetings to attend.
As I walk through the lobby, I stop to inquire after the package I am expecting to be delivered by DHL from the Sydney office – it contains Leann’s signet ring and welcome pack, which I need before I leave for the writer’s retreat in Langkawi. The lengthening of my trip has meant I won’t get to spend time in Sydney before heading to Langkawi.
The receptionist informs me that nothing has yet arrived and places a call through to DHL. When she returns, she says, “I am very sorry, but there has been some difficulty with your package.” I ask if they could tell her what difficulties? Delay I could understand; difficulty suggests an altogether different issue. “They were most vague,” she says. “Possibly a problem with Customs?”
I am keen to get the problem resolved as soon as possible and to have the ring and welcome pack in my possession. Another call to DHL will achieve nothing, so I ask the receptionist what she would advise in these circumstances.
“They said that you should travel to their office in Kuala Lumpur to speak with them. Would you like me to arrange a taxi for you?”
There is no time like the present, I say. My afternoon siesta will have to wait.
What a subtle yet powerful cliffhanger! Can't wait to read the next chapters to learn about the issue and to experience this nightlife that was talked about! The passion of the characters really shines.