Symbiosis | Sharing | Harmony
symposium design-02


  • —Thoughts on A Study of the Corporate Family Exemplified by Prime Group International

    PGI’s healthy growth demonstrates that the two opposing forces of family and corporation can be combined for enhanced effect. Only by expanding the family enterprise can we strengthen the family bond, and only by upholding family values can we strengthen the family enterprise. Tan Hong Khoon has innovated Confucian politics towards a non-political governance of family and enterprise, as embodied in the Taisheng corporate philosophy.

    This past spring Lee Eng Lock sent me a copy of a Study of the Corporate Family Exemplified by Prime Group International by Professor Chung Yun-ying. I have attempted to summarize my impressions of this groundbreaking essay below:

    Professor Chung Yun-ying believes PGI and its distinct corporate philosophy merit further study because the idea of family is the bedrock of their entire enterprise; the Tans have incorporated Confucian ethics into the management of the family business, and now the corporate family. PGI founder Tan Hong Khoon governs the family in accordance with Confucian ethics and values, whereby peace is achieved through non-political governance of the family and the nation. The focus of Chung’s study is how Tan Hong Khoon has reimagined Confucian tradition and primogeniture to create a win-win situation for family and enterprise.

    In Section 2 – Family, Order, Women and Identity – Chung describes in detail the tradition and evolution of appointing a family leader and establishing a set of family rules and a welfare system for the entire clan. While researching their sense of identity, Chung discovers that family and enterprise are inextricably linked, and that (in their eyes) the only way to reinforce the family bond is by strengthening the family business, and the only way to strengthen the business is by reasserting the family bond.

  • —The Goethe-Institut Education

    Only by bringing out the intrinsic qualities of each student do we give meaning to the word education. The Goethe-Institut method is an organic approach to teaching with a focus on fostering a child’s innate abilities at each stage of development. This style of teaching merits further research and application within the current education system.


    The Goethe-Institut was founded in Stuttgart in the fall of 1919 as a response to the ossification of learning institutes in Germany. Rudolph Steiner articulated his holistic view during a lecture in the spring of 1920: “We need a spiritual understanding that really unlocks the nature of humanity to make a true practice effective.” Steiner’s emphasis on a better understanding of human nature towards an environment more conducive to learning merits further study and application within the current education system.

    What made Steiner’s view on education so significant was how he brought the conversation back to the human side of learning, to the person as a whole. Steiner believed that in order to engage students, one must know and understand their physical, mental and spiritual sides.

    But once we understand this, the question of education remains. The Goethe-Institut style of teaching requires that we know what makes children tick. To do this we must come down to their level and really observe them. All parochialisms must be discarded. All lessons must be progressive and correspond to each stage of child development.