Feb 01, 2011
The author with Lance Y. Gokongwei

Last month I dropped by the office of Lance Gokongwei to have this photo taken with him since he missed attending the book launch.

It had been more than two decades since the last time I saw Lance in person. That was during a cocktail party at Far East Bank & Trust Company in the 80s where I was an analyst and he attended as the companion of his father, Mr John, one of the bank’s shareholders. After more than two decades, Lance still possesses that humble demeanor but of course he looks very confident and “CEO-ish” now, being on top of the vast Gokongwei business empire.

During my brief chat with him at his office, he mentioned to me about an article on Wall Street Journal, “There’s a big reaction to a book written by a Chinese mother about her parenting style, you might find that interesting. I’ll forward to you the article.”

“I think I should forward that email now so I won’t forget.” he said while he looked for the article in his computer. When he couldn’t find it right away, he said, “Well, I’ll just look for it later and email it to you.”

We also talked about his two kids, the parenting styles then and now, how he and his wife Jay met, how Marvin and I met, the debut party they had to attend which coincided with my book launch date; all these in a brief 25 minutes or so including the photo op. His secretary Buena came in to say he had to leave for his dinner appointment in Makati. She said, “Sorry ma’am, ha,” after she took the last of the four shots I requested her to take.

The following day when I checked my mailbox, I saw Lance’s email about the Chinese mother article forwarded to me as he promised. The time he sent the email was probably three minutes or so after I left his office. Then it struck me, it’s really true when they say, “If you want something done, give it to a busy man.”

Because he is so busy, maybe he has made it a habit to reply to emails right away, do what he promises to do right away.

Then I recalled once again, among all the interviews with the parents of successful men in my book, it was my interview with his mother Elizabeth Gokongwei which gave me the shortest turnaround time – the period from the time I sent my initial letter to the time I finally received her answers to my questions.

To know more about how Lance was when he was a young boy, as narrated by his mother fondly called as Mrs. John, read Chapter 10 of Raising Pinoy Boys.

I promise to write about the controversial Wall Street Journal article Lance forwarded to me in the next few days. It’s quite exciting. The book is entitled Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua. She is a Chinese American mother whose parents are Chinese immigrants from the Philippines! For a sneak preview of the huge reaction on the Wall Street Journal article, check this link:

Even I gave my two cents’ worth of comment. Thank you for your time.

Cheers to Pinoy kids, their parents and other formators!