Community, Stories

Season 2 Episode 5 Recap: Chinkee Tan on hardships as the stepping stone to success

As a Chinoy who is subject to stereotypical judgements, have you ever felt the need to prove yourself to other people? 

For the fifth episode of Season 2 of Chinese by Blood, Filipino by Heart, CHiNOY TV shares the remarkable story of the country’s Pambansang Wealth Coach Chinkee Tan and how his struggles with proving himself to other people taught him values that led to his success today.

Here are what viewers learned from his story:

Nothing worth having comes easy

Growing up in a small house in Tondo, Tan was not raised with a silver spoon. He recounts defining moments in his life such as when his father’s business collapsed and his parents would be humiliated in front of their neighbors or during family gatherings when he and his family would be the last to eat because the “rich” relatives should eat first.

It was these scenarios in the life of a young Chinkee Tan that at 12 years old, he made a vow to himself. “I want to become a millionaire before I reach the age of 35,” he promised.

As the saying goes, nothing worth having comes easy and Tan’s promise to himself was not a stroll in the park. It was a long, winding journey of bumps and cracks on the road before he got to savor the sweet taste of victory.

“I would sell whatever I could lay my hands on,” he said. As an elementary student, he sold toilet paper to his classmates, school principals and teachers. Despite being ridiculed and named as “Toilet paper boy”, Chinkee Tan persisted.

Eventually, he expanded and sold other sorts of products such as shirts, pads and shoes. It was at the age of 20 when he hit his first million, a testament that nothing worth having comes easy and it was through Tan’s hard work and perseverance that made him achieve this feat at a young age.

Never forget why you started

Since the road to achieving one’s dreams is never easy, there will always come a time of doubt and uncertainty, a time when abandoning what you worked so hard for sounds like a tempting idea. It is during these times that it is important to remember why you started in the first place. 

For Tan, there were two main reasons why he worked for his dreams. “Number one, I didn’t want my children to experience what I experienced when I was young. And second reason, I want to provide the best for my family, especially for my parents when they grow old so that they will not be discriminated,” he shared. 

These two reasons are what kept Tan going, especially during those moments when he felt like quitting and giving everything up.

Don’t be afraid to express your feelings

It is very common among Chinoy families that parents are not usually expressive of their love to their children. It is rare to hear young Chinoys share that they regularly say “I love you” to their parents or that their mom and dad hug them everyday. The same goes for Tan but in his case, the tug of receiving and showing affection to his parents was even harder, so it was him who made the first move.

During his dad’s 60th birthday, Tan gave him a tight hug in front of other people. It was uncomfortable at first but that was immediately replaced by the warmth and happiness that Tan felt when his father hugged him back.

“Ever since that day, whenever I visit him, he also hugs me back. He always tells me that he loves me. Even in his last moments of his life, he will always say ‘Son, I love you’ and then he will hug me. That’s the reason why I want to encourage my Filipino-Chinese friends. If you want to receive that love from your parents and from your father, you must give it first for them to give it back to you,” he said.

Your purpose is greater than yourself

Oftentimes, people’s goals are usually for the benefit of themselves and their loved ones. They set these goals so that they can secure a good future during retirement or to send their children to good schools or to be able to live a comfortable life in general. Although there is nothing bad about this, Tan reminds everyone that there is a purpose far greater than ourselves, which is what we can also include in our goals.

For Tan, being a financial expert is not just about him being able to manage his business and finances wisely. “The more you pursue money in life, the more money will run away from you. But if you pursue your calling in life, your purpose in life, your meaning in life, then money will follow. And what’s my purpose in life? Simple. I just want to help Filipinos to become wealthy and debt-free as I help other people to become wealthy and debt free,” he shared.

Seeing the thousands of Filipinos who would share their stories on how Tan played a huge role in getting themselves debt-free and helping them be more financially-wise, this is an emotionally rewarding feeling that can never be replaced by monetary income. With this, indeed it is also important to create goals that are beyond ourselves so that we are able to nurture not just ourselves but the Chinoy community and society as a whole as well.


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