SIBU: HCK Group executive chairman Tan Sri Clement Hii said he drew his inspiration from late Brother Albinus Michael O’Flaherty, whom he regarded as a true educator.
Speaking at SMK Sacred Heart School’s Speech Day yesterday, Hii said he supported Albinus’ initiative of providing free tuition to poor rural students.
In fact, his own charity arm, Hiichiikok Foundation, has replicated the model in Peninsular Malaysia.
He added that Albinus’ values had guided him to subsequently venture into the education industry.
“I drew much inspiration from Albinus, whom I regard as an educator through and through,” he said, when sharing five short personal stories with the students.
In relating his first story, Hii, the guest-of-honour and patron of the school’s speech day, said he came from a humble beginning and lived at a village in Engkilo before moving to Belian Lane.
He had to fend for himself from young and this became his primary drive to seek a better life.
He attended a local college for an external law degree as a working adult at 32 because his parents could not afford to send him to further his tertiary education.
“When I completed my studies, I bought over the college and grew it into the biggest private tertiary education provider in this country.”
He also shared about going from one failure to another in his 20s, and mixing with some bad company.
“This period in my life wasn’t the proudest time of my life but it also taught me valuable lessons about friendship, loyalty and value of trust.”
He recalled the countless incidents of being looked down upon earlier in his career.
“There was a time when a printing press manager refused to print my business cards unless I paid the RM20 full price in advance. Another time, a bank manager declined to approve an urgent loan for RM5,000. Today, the printer is working for me and the same bank has loaned me a few hundred millions ringgit for some of my property projects.”
His final and fifth story was about his misdiagnosis by a doctor in Singapore and the complication from a surgery that nearly took his life.
“Having gone through that ordeal, I now look at life from a different perspective. I start to cherish the little things and small moments, which I used to take for granted before this.”
School principal David Teo Wu also spoke at the function.
At the function, awards were given out for invaluable contributions and excellent leadership, outstanding character, outstanding achievement in co-curricular activities achievements in quiz and academic competition, outstanding performance in school examinations, best
student for each subject, outstanding performance in public examinations, Rev Brother James’ Best Sport Boy Award, excellent school achievement and Brother Hilary’s Pastoral Award.
Clifford Hii, Fr Richard Lau representing SHS board of management chairman Bishop Joseph Hii, SHS board of management secretary Dr Hii Sui Cheng, Sibu Resident Hii Chang Kee who is Sacred Heart Old Students Association (Shosa) president, Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) chairman Dr Lau Ngi Chuong, Shosa past president Robert Lau, and Sibu Sacred Heart Secondary School Alumni Association of Kuching president Moses Wong were among those present.