我的父亲唐仲英——唐嘉骧先生在唐仲英先生追思会上的发言

发表时间:2018-08-14

 

I would like to thank everyone for being here to honor the life of my father Cyrus Tang, Most of you have been touched by directly or indirectly - but most of you are unfamiliar with his story.

He was a man of few words, modest, understated and not one to brag or trumpet his successes. I’m here tell you a little about his amazing story, his accomplishments
and about his journey from a small village outside of Shanghai to the United States, and his reconnection back to China in later years.

China to US
-Dad was born in a village named Shenze near Shanghai in 1930.
-In 1937 the Japanese invaded China and took over Shanghai that year ( War from 1937-1945 war ended after atomic bombs) My Grandfather, my dad’s father moved the family to Chungking and then to Hong Kong -In December, 1941, same morning Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the Japanese invaded Hong Kong. Two weeks later Hong Kong, which was controlled by the British surrendered to the Japanese. My grandfather set up an escape route for Dad and family to Chungking. He and family members put on peasant clothes and traveled for weeks by foot, truck and boat to Chungking -After the war Dad ended up going back to high school in Hong Kong -In 1950 When he was 20 years old he boarded a slow boat to San Francisco and then took a long train ride to the city of Philadelphia in the state of Pennsylvania to attend what was the Penn Military academy and what is now Widener University.
-He attended college a couple of years, funds got cut off, and he moved to Chicago Dad met my mother in Chicago. They did not know each other before. My mother came to the US also for college at Duquesne in Omaha, Nebraska. She came to Chicago after she finished. They met, married, had me in 1954 then my sister four years later.

A. family
So Dad is in Chicago, he’s started a family and struggling to survive. But what has come of the rest of the Tang’s in China? A world war and a civil war in China has just ended. Most of the Tang family were able to leave mainland China and scattered to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Canada, Australia, and the United States. Dad was to bring together much of his family to the Chicago area working with him in the company. His brothers, sisters, and other relatives and friends came to Chicago to work for the company. Dad and Mom worked together to strengthen the family. Dad offered opportunity and tried to find a place for his family and friends, while Mom was the social glue that kept everyone together.

Life in America:
Dad came to the US in 1950. He started his first 100% owned company in 1964. What was he doing for 14 years before he started his own business. For the first two years he was attending university. His funding got cut off and he never finished. By the way he did not set a good example here - don’t follow his footsteps - finish your schooling! He moved to Chicago for better work opportunities. Life was a struggle. He started a small dry cleaning business, he worked in a ship year, delivered newspapers, he was a waiter and later a restaurant owner. The restaurant failed, no one really knew how to cook. He tried the import-export business, he imported wigs and purses and exported keychains. My mother worked and I remember they dropped me off during the day with a babysitter who took care of me until work was finished. We lived in a small apartment and took buses for transportation. By chance Dad finally got a job as a clerk in a steel stamping company that made electric motor and transformer parts. Then he started getting ideas how to start his own business.

B. business
-When describing CT business accomplishments you think of Tang Industries and National Material and the steel businesses. Since the start of the company in 1964 there have been over 150 companies started or purchased which span not only steel related business, but include businesses in aluminum, specialty metals, in office furniture, travel services, various trading businesses, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, biomedicine, insurance, auto parts, airplane parts, and many more.
-in 1964 he started his first wholly owned company, National Material which was a steel processing and distribution company. He bought companies that weren’t doing well and looked to turn them around. In 1971 he started Tang Industries. Dad was doing leveraged buy-outs before it became a common financial term. He was starting companies way before entrepreneurship became fashionable.
-I joined the company full time 36 years ago. All of a sudden Cyrus was not only my dad but my bosses boss. His idea of mentoring was to give me a responsibility, like a small company to run, and let me figure it out, sink or swim.
-What did I learn from him? Business was about people. How you built a business was just as important building the bottom line. Here are some of the values that have been passed on to me:
-Honoring a deal. “A deal is a deal”. He came from a time when a handshake was as good as a contract. He invested tens of millions based on a handshake.
-“Past is past” you can’t change the past, look to changing the future -Sense of urgency, get things done now, don’t wait -He had a profound sense of fairness, great sense of right and wrong and how to treat employees, partners, suppliers and customers.

C. philanthropy
Success in business gave him the ability to give to charity. But just writing checks was not enough. He looked for impact and value.
-Dad was always impressed by the generosity of Americans and the culture of philanthropy in the US. He started giving in US but got serious after he first returned from China in 1995. Very simply, he could do a lot more with the same amount of money in China compared to the US.
-since the start of the Cyrus Tang Foundation over 20 years ago the Foundation has been involved in over 65 major projects:
CTF has built over 250 grade schools in impoverished areas. It has funded a University Library, a medical center, a 1000 bed community hospital, a national level nano technology center, CTF has funded programs in archeology, cultural preservation, public health initiatives, rural economic development programs - and many more.
- Dad’s proudest philanthropic achievement are the scholarship programs developed for students. Currently CTF is helping to support students in 22 universities, students in 420 high schools, in 10 provinces. Since the start, there have been 100,000 scholarships granted for students from high school, university and in graduate studies. There are over 10,000 university alumni, and along the way there have been marriages and children among the alumni. Dad was honored to officiate many marriages.
-in 2010 Bill Gates and Warren Buffet started something called the ‘Giving Pledge”, where wealthy people committed to give to charity half of their wealth during their lifetime. Dad had already planned to do that years before; once dad was ahead of the curve. But he did it in Dad fashion, quietly without a need to tell others or make a big deal about it.

D. Who was dad?
-He was constantly creating something from nothing -he valued independence, self starters, those who could take advantage of opportunity -he operated by intuition, he had an incredibly strong will to succeed, but also recognized when to give up and turn another direction.
-Oh by the way dad seemed to be a quiet man except when he got angry then he got loud and scary -of course he wasn’t perfect:
He was not introspective until later years when he was hampered by declining mobility and energy. He first pondered what more could he have done.
I asked what was enough? Why are you unhappy with what you’ve done? No answer - it was his nature always to do more.
-A few years ago when he was relatively healthy he said “Michael, let’s take a walk” we got into the car, “where are we going?” “Don’t worry just follow my directions” a few minutes later we pulled up into the parking lot of a Target. Well we were in Las Vegas during the summer, so we weren’t walking outside. Inside I pulled out a shopping cart for him, which was the the perfect height for him to hold. He put his cane in the cart and we started walking up and down the aisles. He liked it there - it was air conditioned, clean, and there was a bit of people watching. We walked for a while and he said to me “Michael, I like it here, I want to buy one of these...” My mind was racing no please don’t do this. I don’t want to own a Target. It wasn’t the purchase that bothered me - I was trying to figure out who was going to manage a Target. Fortunately he forgot about it.... But Dad was still thinking about doing a deal!
-Toward the end he pondered family and friends, as family and friends started dying before him. Toward the end he realized the importance of family and friends and of emotional connections. He was able to say “I love you”.

Conclusion:
It’s still hard to think of dad in the past tense, but what has he left for the future?
What is Cyrus Tang’s legacy?
He’s left family, two children and 5 grandchildren, he’s left a living growing business, and he’s left a thriving philanthropy. His actions and deeds have influenced hundreds of thousands of people. Everyone here has been touched by him. Everyone here has been part of his story. I am proud, and grateful, and humbled to have him as my father, and to continue his legacy.

Thank you!

在此,我想再一次感谢在场的每一位客人特地赶来参加我父亲唐仲英的追思会。大家可能跟我父亲有过直接或间接的接触,但不一定熟悉他的生平。他是一个少言寡语的人,谦逊,低调,从不自吹自擂。我想用今天这个机会跟大家分享一下他不平凡的故事和成就,说说他是如何从盛泽来到美国,以及他下半生与中国重续前缘的点滴。

我父亲1930年出生在盛泽镇。

1937年日本侵略中国占据了上海。我祖父带着全家人先移居重庆然后再搬到香港。1941年12月偷袭珍珠港事件发生的同一天早上,日本军也占领了香港。两个星期后,英国政府投降,放弃了香港。我祖父设计了一条撤退线路,再次把我父亲和家人带回重庆。一家人换上农民装,用了几个礼拜时间,通过徒步,卡车和小船只等各种方式辗转到了重庆。战争结束后,父亲回到了香港读完高中。1950年他20岁,上了一艘前往旧金山的慢船,然后再转火车才从美国西海岸到达了东海岸宾州的费城。他当时上的大学叫宾州军事学院,也就是现在的Widener大学。

大学上了一两年后,来自家里的财源中断。父亲搬去了芝加哥,在那里遇见了我母亲。他俩以前不认识。母亲刚来美国时在内布拉斯州的奥马哈市读大学,毕业后搬去了芝加哥。他俩相遇,相知,恋爱,结婚,在1954年生下了我,4年后生下了我妹妹。

我父亲在芝加哥为了自己的小家庭在奋斗,唐家还在中国的其他成员呢?二战和中国内战刚刚结束。唐氏家族成员大多数都离开了大陆,分散到了香港,台湾,加拿大,澳大利亚和美国各地。爸爸帮助了弟妹们和很多亲戚朋友,让他们来芝加哥工作。爸妈一起合作来巩固大家庭。爸爸努力为大家提供工作机会为大家解决生计问题,妈妈是社交公关,确保大家族的团结。

我父亲1950年到美国,1964年创建了由他个人独资的第一家公司。在这14年里,爸都做了哪些工作呢?头两年他在大学念书,家里财路断了以后他辍学了。顺便提醒大家,在这点上,我父亲不是好榜样,所以请大家别步他的后尘,还是要把学业完成!他为了谋生而移居芝加哥。生活并非一帆风顺。相反,处处挣扎。他经营过洗衣店,做过修船工人,送过报纸,当过饭店服务员,后来还经营过自己的饭店。饭店失败了,主要原因是没人懂得如何烹饪。他也尝试过进出口生意,从海外进口假头套和皮包,出口钥匙圈。

我妈当时也需要工作。我还记得爸妈上班前把我送到托儿所,下班后再来接我。我们住在小公寓,外出都靠公共汽车。一个偶然的机会,我父亲去了一家钢铁冲压公司做职员。这家公司主要是做电动机和变压器。从这份工作中,父亲开始琢磨如何开创自己的公司。

大家说起唐氏商业上的业绩可能会马上想到唐氏工业和国际物资公司以及钢铁业务。其实,从我父亲1964年创业开始至今,唐氏创建或者收购了150多家公司。这些公司不只局限于钢铁行业,涉及到铝以及其它特殊金属,办公家具,旅行服务,各种不同交易业务,再生能源,医药,生化,保险,汽车零配件,飞机零配件等各种领域。

1964年我父亲开创了他第一家独资公司,国际物资,加工处理并分销钢铁产品。他会买一些频临困难的公司然后想办法扭转劣势。1971年,唐氏工业正式成立。我父亲在“杠杆收购”正式成为一个大众化金融术语之前很久,就已经在做这些融资举债收购了。他在创业成为一种时髦之前就已经创立了很多家公司。

36年前,我成为公司一名全职员工。唐仲英不再仅仅是我父亲,突然间,他变成了我老板的老板。他培养我的方式是让我去全权管理一家小公司,让我自己去摸索,自己去闯,成败全由我自己。

我从他身上学到了什么呢?做生意必须尊重对方。如何创办公司跟创造利润一样重要。他传给了我很多价值观,比如:
说话算数。答应别人的事情就一定要做到。他年轻的时候,双方握手就好比签了合同。他很多大规模上亿的投资都只依靠了一次握手。
过去的就让它过去。不能更改过去,那就面向改变未来。
紧迫感。不要等,要做的事情现在马上就做。
父亲是个非常公平的人,他用良心对待员工,合作伙伴,供应商和客户。

商业上的成功给了我父亲做慈善事业的物质基础。但光光写支票还远远不够。他更注重实际效应和价值创造。
我父亲对美国慈善体系和文化以及美国人的慷慨大方印象深刻。他开始在美国当地捐助一些项目,但是大规模系统化的慈善事业还是从他1995年第一次回中国归来后开始。简而言之,他觉得同一笔资金在中国可以做更多事情。
唐仲英基金会成立20多年迄今已经在中国捐助了65项重大项目:
基金会在贫困地区建立了250多所小学,捐助了一家大学图书馆,一个医药研究中心,一所拥有1000张床位的社区医院,国家级的微结构实验室。此外,基金会还捐助了考古学,文化保护,公共卫生,乡村经济发展等各方面的项目。

我父亲最引以为豪的慈善项目是我们资助学生的奖学金。目前我们基金会在中国10个省市地区22所大学和420所中学设立了奖学金。从项目开始到现在,我们已经给中学,大学学生发放了10万份奖学金。我们的大学本科毕业生超过一万人,毕业生中建立小家庭结婚生子的也不计其数。我父亲非常荣幸地见证了很多对毕业生新婚夫妇的婚礼。

2010年比尔盖茨和巴菲特开始一项叫做“捐赠承诺”的宣传活动,鼓励富裕人士把他们资产的一半用于支持慈善事业。我父亲在这很久之前就已经计划这样做了。他再一次领先于潮流,但是他以他一贯的作风做事,默默无闻,并没有感到有必要去告诉别人或者宣传。

我父亲到底是谁呢?
他不断地重复着白手起家的过程,从无开创到有。
他自立,自律,主动抓住各种机会。
他靠自己直觉办事做人,有着一种常人不一定能够理解的坚强意志协助他做成功每件事。他也知道什么时候该放手放弃。
哦,对了,我父亲看起来比较平静,但是他发脾气时也很可怕!
当然他也并不完美:
直到他上了年纪,体力不如从前时才开始考虑一些自省问题。他开始思索他在过去哪些地方可以做得更好。
我问他什么才算足够了呢,为什么你对自己所作的一切还不满意呢。他没有回答。我理解他的天性就是要做更多,要做得更好。

几年前爸身体还比较好的时候,他对我说,Michael,我们去外面走走。我说去哪儿啊?他说,别担心,你就听我的导航。不一会儿,我们到了一家美国大型连锁商场Target的停车场。那时是拉斯维加斯的夏天,在室外长时间走路是不太可能的事情。在商场里面,我拿了一辆购物推车,给爸爸推,与他身高相配刚刚好。他把他的拐杖放在了推车里,我们开始在店里散步。他喜欢在这个店里散步,有空调,干净,还可以看看来往的人流。我们走了一会儿,他说,Michael,我喜欢在这里,我们来买一家吧。我心里一下着急起来,求求你千万别买,我不想要Target商场。我并不担心购买的问题,而是在考虑请谁来管理一家商场。幸亏后来我父亲忘记了这件事情。这个例子可以看出我父亲在任何时间任何地方都会考虑到做生意的事情!

爸爸的一些家人和朋友渐渐开始离开这个世界,我父亲也开始思索一些关于家庭和朋友的问题。最终,他也意识到情感和家人朋友的重要性,能够大声说出“我爱你”。

现在还很难接受这种要用过去时来描述我父亲的方式。他为未来留下了什么呢?他的遗产是什么呢?
他留下了家庭,两个孩子和五个孙子孙女;他留下了一个还在日益增长的公司产业;他留下了一个正在蓬勃发展的慈善事业。他的一生影响到了无以计数的人。在座的每一位都跟他有着一段属于你们自己的缘份,都是他生命中的一部分。我为有这样的父亲并能够继承他的遗志感到很骄傲,很感恩。

谢谢大家!