Week on week, CHiNOY TV has been surpassing its previous peaks to reach its latest record of 1.7M Accumulated Views on its episode featuring Chef Sharwin Tee! This season of 1CH1NOY: Chinese by Blood, Filipino by Heart, is already the highest ever in the company’s decade-long history and with the upcoming episode, this summit may yet be beaten.
“I’m a communicator,” introduces Francis Kong.
In more ways than one. He has lived many lives from being an entrepreneur and fashion retailer, to being an inspirational speaker and trainer, radio personality, multi-awarded columnist and author of multiple bestselling books.
Not bad for someone who admits to being called “The Dumbest Kid in School.”
Pain to Power
Kong spent 6 years in high school instead of the required four, and this was due to his “rebel without a cause” phase. Opening up to CHiNOY TV, Kong talks about his very difficult childhood, not just combating financial instability but more so gas lighting and verbal programming from his own mother.
He explains, “My mom was deprived of life experiences, world perspectives, and world views. She would just look at her friends and use that as a benchmark. ‘How come my friend got so successful and got married and got so much business and money and you don’t?’ So that became a continuing repeating remark I keep on hearing all the time.”
Every time Kong would pick up a trade or hobby, whether it was guitar playing or basketball, his mother would always have sharp words against them. He confesses, “My mom has a very strong character. One day when I came home because I began to discover the beauty of the guitar as an instrument and I start strumming it and playing it. I had to borrow that instrument and when she saw me she immediately said, ‘So you like to play the guitar?’ I say ‘Yeah, why?’ She says ‘Why don’t you put on a pair of sunglasses and get a tin can and then play it in front of Quiapo church because that’s what you’re gonna be when you grow up.’ Then one day I discovered the beauty of the sports so I came home, I was dribbling the ball and my mom so amazed, ‘So you love basketball?’ and I say ‘Yeah Ma, why?’ And she says ‘The very content of that ball will be the same content in your head.’ And I thought about it before and I said, ‘That’s air.’ And she says, ‘Exactly!’”
Instead of being discouraged though, he channeled his energy towards disproving these disparagement. Kong would become a band member (“combo” during his time) and also a varsity player for his school’s basketball team. However, he overextended his stay in UNO Highschool and this led to another transformation for Kong.
PhD or Passing High school with Difficulty
Kong has a clever quip about his time in high school. Being a “repeater” was a form of rebellion for him but later he realized the social consequences of that. His then sweetheart (and now wife) would be discouraged by her relatives from being with him. And it triggered him again to go beyond expectations.
He decided to change course and soon after, with newfound diligence, he finished college at the top of his class. To this day, he recalls the pride in his parents for his turnaround, “I’ll always remember when I walked up the stage and my mom had to I think borrow to make a new gown made and my dad brought me out to stage and they had to pin all those heavy metals on my chest that made me lost a little bit of my posture. And I still remember the smile on their faces and pride and everything else it is a smile and a lift of disbelief and yet delightfully surprised that I have a future after all.”
With this vindication, Kong found the calling that would drive his life. His mother was extremely tough on him but now he explains, “Recently, somebody asked me how come you can speak so well? How come you speak so fluently in public? I said I have years of sharpening debating with my mom all of the time so that got me to where I am.” Kong also shares, “I developed the love for communicating, public speaking, writing, meeting people, developing my communication skills, and developing my people skills. Which I now consider as essentials towards doing business. But I never knew that then.”
Today, Kong is sought after for his leadership advice. And perhaps most remarkably, his troubled past has also allowed him to advise on parenting.
Stopping the Cycle
Kong has a children’s education program and a successful speaking series entitled “Practical Parenting” and recently, “Parenting the Pandemic Generation.”
In spite of or maybe precisely because of his life experiences, Kong says, “It is not the children’s job to understand the parents. It’s the parent’s job to understand their children.”
And on top of his many many achievements, Kong is proudest to be father to Bryan, Hannah and Rachelle.
Find out more this Sunday on “Chinese by Blood, Filipino by Heart 1CH1NOY.” Catch it only on CNN Philippines via Free TV Channel 9, Sky Cable Channel 14, Cignal Channel 10. It will also simultaneously air on CNN Philippines’ webpage www.cnnphilippines.com.