Taoke (Business)

#1CH1NOY hits 10,000 Youtube Subscribers and continues the Modern Chinoy story with Steven Tan, SM Supermalls President

Continuing its successful streak, CHiNOY TV is also conquering the Youtube platform with its latest season! Hitting the 10,000 Subscribers mark for its channel, CHiNOY TV adds this feather on top of the cap that includes 1.3 Million Views for its #1CH1NOY Pilot Episode that premiered on CNN Philippines and its Facebook page.

On the next episode, the show focuses on the proudly Chinoy but global citizen Steven Tan, President of SM Supermalls. An alumnus of Chiang Kai Shek College, the son of an admittedly strict father and a person of the world who has lived in Hawaii and studied in Taipei and Paris, Tan has a unique lens shaped by his traditional roots but sharpened with the training of the world.

“There are no odd jobs, only experiences”

While Tan has already achieved what might call the pinnacle of success, he opens up about the very humble beginnings in his career. He shares his early days working for Hilton Taipei, “When I finished college and I moved to Taipei they asked me to undergo a management trainee program. I waited tables, I had to clean bathrooms, change bed sheets. I was peeling onions or garlic in the kitchen but you know these are all things that I believe that you have to go through.”

Even as a child, Tan was trained under the very disciplined eye of his father and this has informed his work ethic and filial piety to this day, “My dad is a disciplinarian. We would wake up like 6 o’ clock in the morning whether it’s a Monday or a Sunday. Then 7 o’ clock dinner time you had to be there. There’s no such thing as nowadays where kids can just eat whenever they want.”

On Being Chinoy

Tan is fully aware of the multiple facets of being Chinoy, from a language perspective, from a cultural perspective and even from a physical perspective, he credits it for his current role, “I think being Chinoy for me with what I’m doing right now has helped me so much because first you know if you are a Chinoy, you really speak English, because you studied in a  good university here in the Philippines. Then you also speak in Tagalog. At the same time you also have exposure of speaking Fukkien and Mandarin ‘no. And good thing that you know it added ah I think to my resume the fact that I speak fluent Mandarin. I read and write Mandarin. So that also aided me in understanding and doing business in China which we are currently expanding a lot. And now we currently have 7-8 shopping centers in China. We’re opening 2 malls next year.”

Under the mentorship of first his father, then of Mr. Henry “Tatang” Sy, Sr., Tessie “TSC” Sy-Coson and Hans Sy, Tan has had some of the greatest Chinoys to learn and grow from. It was TSC who called him while he was in Paris to ask him if he would be willing to work for SM. And from starting with Podium then the smallest mall in the portfolio, the Mall of Asia, the most ambitious, the trust given to Tan is a testament to what he brings to the table.

On Tatang’s mentorship, Tan correctly calls it “more valuable than an MBA from Harvard,” and shares, “Every afternoon around 2 or 3 o’ clock he will be at SM Mall of Asia. He will wait for me at Starbucks and ask the secretary to call me or to message me to go down and see him. And when we were seated together he’d always share with me his life experiences. You know what we should look out you know how the shopping habits or the habits of our customers their behaviors, those are things you can’t learn from school.”

Paying It Forward

To Tan, it is deeply important to impart his lessons to the Chinoy community and to the next generations. “ I had so many interview proposal but I have said no to a lot of them. But when this was presented to me immediately, before that sentence was even finished and I said yes. You know why? Because I wanna make sure that the tradition and the culture that all these things I’m talking about could be passed on to our younger generation. So there would be continuity.”

There are many lessons and colorful anecdotes from Tan’s globe-trotting and mall-building life in the next episode of 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.

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