The thoughts of Chairman Li? It's worth a read - for entertainment value

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 May, 2011, 12:00am


A leading Hong Kong publishing house has come up with a series on the famous sayings of such indisputably great men of China as Sun Yat-sen, Lu Xun, Zeng Guofan ... and Li Ka-shing?

So Asia's richest man has been elevated to the heights of the founder of modern China, the 20th century's greatest Chinese writer and one of the last great generals and Confucian scholars of the late Qing dynasty.

Li is no ordinary man, but the comparison may go a tad too far, showing the extent to which people in this town pander to the rich and powerful.

Just for my curiosity, I bought the Li volume, and it does not disappoint - for its entertainment value.

Here are some gems from one of our great property tycoons.

On human values: 'The greatest human value is in giving.'

'No building or gift should bear my name! I do not seek recognition.' Boy, really? On wealth and fortune: 'Success is, in reality, relative.'

'All over the world, many enterprises ultimately fail because they face too many opportunities, but do not have enough resources and energy. Therefore, the most important consideration is to judge your own capability properly.'

And on patriotism: 'What benefits the [Chinese] nation and its people is the most joyous task to perform.'

It all reminds me of what A.J.P. Taylor said about a collection of aphorisms from Metternich: 'Most men shaving in the morning can come up with better quotes.'