Lippo Group founder Mochtar Riady, center, during the launch of his autobiography titled 'Mochtar Riady: My Life Story' at the Mandarin Orchard hotel in Singapore on Wednesday (05/10). ( Photo/Suhadi)

'Mochtar Riady: My Life Story' Launched in Singapore


OCTOBER 05, 2016

Singapore. Lippo Group founder Mochtar Riady, 87, launched his autobiography "Mochtar Riady: My Life Story" at the Mandarin Orchard hotel in Singapore on Wednesday (05/10) by calling on people to never stop learning about technology and to always keep their eyes on the future.

"I really fell in love with technology, because this is what defines change and the future," Mochtar told the audience during the book launch.

Among the high-profile guests at the launch were Halimah Yacob, speaker of the Singaporean parliament; former Singaporean foreign minister George Yeo; and former Singaporean diplomat Kishore Mahbubani, who is a professor in public policy practice and dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.

Mochtar reiterated something he said during a recent visit to the offices of BeritaSatu Media Holdings in Jakarta, in response to a question from a young businessman on whether the textile industry was in decline.

The Lippo Group founder said that while clothing factories might be in decline, such businesses would never decline as long as the technology is renewed and upgraded, because "people will always need clothing."

Mochtar said he loves technology and never gets bored talking about it, whether to his grandchildren or to Lippo Group employees and that this makes him never experience an age gap between himself and them.

Professor Mahbubani said Mochtar is a legendary figure.

"At such age, he fluently speaks about technology, such as biotechnology and nanotechnology and how to master technology and develop a number of sectors. That is incredible," he said.

Mochtar was accompanied by his family, including his sons Stephen and James and his grandsons John, Henry and Brian, during the book launch, which was attended by about 1,000 people.

Top Lippo Group executives also appeared during the event. This included Ginandjar Kartasasmita, Theo L. Sambuaga, Sinyo Harry Sarundajang and Emirsyah Satar.

(BeritaSatu Photo/Suhadi)

Family Values

Mochtar also delivered his perspectives during a question-and-answer session in Mandarin language.

He said he learned about family values and responsibilities from a young age, when his mother passed away when she was 40. His father decided not to marry again and focus on raising the children.

"All success is due to hard work; there is nothing you can get in an easy way. We need to have discipline and learn a lot," Mochtar said, referring to some of his father's advice.

Former Singaporean foreign minister Yeo said Mochtar's book is inspiring and that it provides plenty of wisdom.

He said the book is an appreciation for three people who have had a strong influence on Mochtar's way of thinking. They were his father, his teacher Luo Yitian, and his wife.

"His father wasn't only a father, but also a mother. [...] The part of his life with his father really influenced his life. His father is the one who taught him lots of things," Yeo said.

From his teacher, Mochtar learned a lot about finance and banking.

"This book is the story of a man who had gone through many things and finally succeeded in building a wonderful family and a successful business empire. This book is full of legacy and thoughts," Yeo said.

Mochtar's grandson John said the family sees his grandfather as a role model.

"He is a disciplined person, full of principle, full of dedication and most importantly, he is a futuristic person," John said.

Lippo Group deputy chairman Ginandjar said Mochtar is a "builder" and a visionary with a number of projects, including hospitals and property, the group developed that have positively impacted on many people's lives.

"He is also a trailblazer. He likes to read books [...] always wants to know new things," Ginandjar said, referring to Mochtar's passion for research and technology.

(BeritaSatu Photo/Suhadi)

Mochtar is also an icon, not just in the business community in Indonesia, but also in Asia. He is involved in many philanthropic activities.

"One day I was invited to an area in Papua; in the middle of nowhere, to which even the government doesn't really pay attention. Lippo built a small health clinic and school there," he said.

Halimah Yacob, speaker of the Singaporean parliament, also delivered some notes about Mochtar, whom she said is a very inspiring person.

She referred to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's comment in Mochtar's autobiography, which states that he hopes the book could "inspire the young generation to be bolder and not easily satisfied, but willing to compete, fight and struggle for their beliefs."

The Jakarta Globe is affiliated with the Lippo Group.