It's Father's day today and we found a very interesting article featuring one of the most famous successful father and son tandem in the Philippines, Chris Tiu and his dear father Jerry Tiu. Chris Tiu is a famous TV personality who's also a role model to the youth. He graduated from the Ateneo De Manila University with 2 degrees, one of which is Management Engineering. Ask any Atenean about that course and for sure they'll say it's hard. Chris was really a student athlete when he was in college. He made sure that when he improves on playing basketball he also gets high grades at the same time. All his achievements came into reality because of hard work and because of the support that he gets from his father, who's a good provider. I can say that he got his work ethic from his father because at such a young age his father worked really hard just to perfect his craft. He made his business successful through hard work. Chris owes a lot to his father and there's no other way to give back to his father than to be successful in what he does. If you want to know more about their father and son relationship, here's an exclusive interview conducted by Philstar.com.
Chris Tiu and his dad Jerry Tiu on fatherhood, basketball, music and success secrets
By Wilson Lee Flores (The Philippine Star) Updated June 20, 2010 12:00 AM
Noble fathers have noble children. — Greek playwright Euripides
Train up a child in the way which he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. — Proverbs 22:6
MANILA, Philippines - Philippine national basketball team or Smart Gilas athlete, Ateneo graduate of management engineering and applied mathematics degrees, GMA-7 TV host and youth icon Chris Tiu and his dad businessman Jerry Tiu recently agreed to give Philippine STAR an exclusive interview at Tagaytay Highlands about Father’s Day. This unique interview was arranged through Volvo Philippines, which has Chris Tiu as its brand ambassador. Though this writer is not a car reviewer, Volvo lent us their SUV model XC90 to drive from Quezon City to Makati City, then their other SUV model XC60 (which the Edward Mullen character in the last Twilight film used) from Makati City to Tagaytay City that Saturday, and those two vehicles are excellent in efficiency, comfort, safety features and understated elegance.
Chris Tiu’s great-grandfather Tiu Hun Chiong was a Mandarin or Confucian scholar from Fujian province, south China whose elder brother first migrated to the Philippines in the Spanish colonial era of the late 19th century and became a successful businessman. It was this elder brother who supported Tiu Hun Chiong’s high education, leading to the latter to take the imperial civil service exams and gaining a high Mandarin rank called kidin in Hokkien before the republican revolution. When he later migrated to Manila, the elder Tiu served from 1914 to 1918 as principal of the Philippines’ pioneer Chinese-language school called Anglo-Chinese Academy (now called Tiong Se Academy), which produced many future Philippine business leaders. One of this scholar-educator’s sons was the late self-made industrialist John Tiu Ka Cho, father of Jerry Tiu and grandfather of Jerry Tiu. Another son of Tiu Hun Chiong became an editor of The Fookien Times, a leading Manila Chinese-language newspaper founded by the late Jimmy Go Puan Seng. Both Jerry and Chris are fluent in English, Tagalog, Hokkien, Mandarin and both love basketball, golf and elegant but safe cars. Excerpts from the interview:
Philippine STAR:When did you become a father? What about Chris — when do you hope to marry and become a father yourself?
JERRY TIU: I was 25 years old, it was in 1983.
CHRIS TIU: Maybe I’ll marry five years from now. When I’m 30, I’ll be ready to become a father then.
How tall are you and your dad?
CHRIS: I’m 5’11” in height.
JERRY: I’m 5’9” and I think my late dad was also 5’9”.
What was the first car you ever drove?
JERRY: It was a Ford Galaxy of our dad, I was then 13 years old. Once I was in our village and drove my elder brother Ruben’s Mercedes Benz and I accidentally bumped it into the car of George Yang (future McDonald’s boss), who luckily is the first cousin of my future wife Lianne. Not only was I grounded by our dad because of that accident, I wasn’t allowed to have a driver’s license until I was 18.
CHRIS: I started driving at 16. It’s a Toyota Corolla 1991, white color, it’s still there.
What have you learned from your dad, either in basketball or in life?
JERRY: When Chris was a kid, there’s a ritual in basketball that I told him to do after every foul shot. Do you remember how I taught you that?
CHRIS: What? (Laughs)
JERRY: You see? He forgot already. (Laughs) Actually, much of what Chris is — his being cool-headed, very cautious, detail-oriented, very good at his studies — much of that came from his mother, Lianne. It’s all from my wife, who’s smart and organized, she’s a magna cum laude honors graduate. However, Chris’s knowing how to delegate, that’s from me, that’s why his mother complains. (Laughs)
Did you learn or imbibe your entrepreneurial spirit from your dad John Tiu Ka Cho?
JERRY: Oh, my gosh, yes, not only me, but most of us siblings got that from our late father. His entrepreneurial spirit, his having been so industrious, his work ethic, sense of responsibility and strength of character. When my colleagues go on vacation, I still work, even during my birthday — I got that from our late dad.
CHRIS: I think even me, I got that entrepreneurial spirit from my late grandfather. Our dad really never takes a vacation, even during holidays he is still working.
Your late dad worked during holidays?
CHRIS: Due to our late grandfather’s work ethic, I heard dad had to work even when he was still a student.
JERRY: My dad would work even on Sundays. There were no Christmas or summer vacations when we were kids. After the last day of school when my classmates would be so excited, the next day we siblings had to go work in our dad’s business. I had to escape to play basketball for our school team. Our late dad was very tough, he was a disciplinarian.
Is it true you always give time for Chris and your other kids even if you’re busy?
CHRIS: Yes, even if dad is super busy, he’ll always be available and be there when we need anything. He always replies to our texts. Even if he’s super busy, we don’t feel neglected. Dad always picks me up from the airport, even if it’s 4 a.m. in the morning.
JERRY: My mother died when I was only six years old and our eldest brother Ben was then 10 years old, so I promised myself that when I grew up, I would be a very good and caring parent who will always be there for my kids.
Is it true you’d even fetch Chris at 4 a.m. from the airport?
JERRY: Yes. Once when I brought him to the airport for his flight, he was already inside and he told me he badly needed antibiotic medicine for his swelling chin. I went all the way from the airport to Baclaran to look for a drugstore, then I rushed back just in time before he was about to board the plane, because he can’t leave without the medicine.
What are your favorite activities together? How do you relax?
CHRIS: Golf. We also like eating, and if dad is with us we need not worry about our bill. (Laughs) Both of us love Chinese food, especially the Highland Chinese Palace resto, also the Steakhouse at the Mall of Asia.
JERRY: During holidays, we spend time as a family together, but we plan around Chris’s busy schedule. (Laughs)
When did you start teaching Chris to play golf?
JERRY: He was around eight or nine years old when I taught him how to play golf. I would take him to the driving range. I had a pro teaching me and then I’d teach him, but now it is Chris who teaches me. (Laughs)
You’re famous for basketball. Do you also like golf very much?
CHRIS: I like golf, it’s relaxing. It’s a mind game.
JERRY: Oh, let’s play na tomorrow?
How do you keep yourself fit and healthy?
JERRY: I try to exercise regularly. I jog and exercise two to three times a week in the village. I also do occasional light weightlifting, because I’m competing with my two sons, so I have to also look good. (Laughs)
CHRIS: As a basketball athlete for the national team, I have to train daily doing both weights and cardiovascular exercises. Two hours of running and ball practice skills. I also do weights three times a week with the team. I go to gym on my own, too. Exercising has become a lifestyle, and I eat healthy by trying to avoid fried and oily foods. No vices for me, no cigarettes.
JERRY: Same here, I try to avoid oily and fried foods, but I have no choice and eat a lot of steaks because I help run a steakhouse. I have to often eat steak in order to check on the quality of the steak and the cooking, also wine and lobster. (Laughs)
What were your ambitions or dreams as a kid?
JERRY: I’m very simple, I just wanted to be successful as a businessman like my late father was, and to love my family. Our late mother had two favorites, me and my younger sister Evelyn. We were both middle kids, so one of my dreams was to someday be a father who shall give my kids all the love that I never fully had because my mother passed away early. Our father was a good father, but he was then too busy expanding the business.
For both of you, what are your success secrets?
JERRY: Chris is the one who’s successful…
CHRIS: No, I’ve still a long way to go…
Who are your heroes?
JERRY: My late father. He was a great father. I was 30 years old when he died in February of 1987.
CHRIS: Both my parents. They are closest to us kids, they are people you can really see through their daily lives, while other heroes you only read about them. As for our kongkong (grandfather), I was about two years old when he died.
Your father’s best advice to you?
JERRY: He taught me, “Knowledge is power.”
CHRIS: Even if Dad didn’t say it explicitly, I learned from his example of never neglecting to give time to the family, and I admire his care for his employees. He is very concerned about them, their personal lives. Dad is a softie inside, but tough on the outside.
Why is Volvo your favorite car brand?
JERRY: I think it’s a very safe car to drive in, it’s not too flashy, and it’s very comfortable. I also think its diesel engine is very impressive, not like the early diesel engines of the cars before.
CHRIS: For me, I like Volvo because safety is No. 1 for me. The fact that when I first opened the door of a Volvo and the door was so sturdy and heavy, and the vehicle has so many air bags, I feel safe. A Volvo is not only sturdy, it is also very stylish.
Favorite place for both of you to vacation together?
CHRIS: Tagaytay Highlands, maybe also Hong Kong to eat, and also Vancouver.
JERRY: Any place with perfect weather.
Your favorite music or musicians?
CHRIS: Jay Zhou. His Mandarin songs are not just love songs, but he also writes songs on filial love for his mother and another song about love for his grandmother and on other positive topics, that’s why he’s my favorite. Jay Zhou’s upcoming concerts in Shanghai and Singapore are all sold out, I couldn’t buy any ticket. It’s sad that in the US, many of the pop songs are mostly just about drugs and sex.
JERRY: You’ll laugh at the songs that I like. I prefer songs by Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, such as the song Poker Face. (Laughs)
What else in life do you hope to achieve?
JERRY: For me to beat Chris in golf. (Laughs)
CHRIS: For me to make more money than him. (Laughs)
JERRY: You already are…
Advice to people on how to be successful?
JERRY: Drive a nice car, look good, feel safe, maintain a low profile. Be fuel-efficient in a powerful car.
CHRIS: Agree, agree…
What was the happiest moment in your life?
JERRY: When I saw Chris for the first time make a shot in a basketball game, when he was in Grade 4. That was for Milo’s Small Basketeers of the Philippines or SBP.
CHRIS: For me, maybe it was in 2008, when I played for the Ateneo and we won the championship, it was my last year at the Ateneo. Then hopefully next year, when I and our Philippine team can make it in the FIFA Asia championship, then hopefully we, the Philippine team, can make it also to the Olympics.
How would you like to be remembered?
JERRY: Basically, I like to touch people’s lives, especially people who have less in life. If I can make others happy, be of help to others and make a difference, that is good enough for me.
CHRIS: The same also for me. I also want to be remembered as an Olympian, that I have done something good for the Philippines.
How do you feel when most people, if not all, refer to you as “the father of Chris Tiu”?
JERRY: How do I answer that… Pride? I must say that Chris took after the mom, really, my wife Lianne. She’s the real secret to Chris’s success, she’s the secret of our whole family, she is a great mother and wonderful wife, she’s our MVP (most valuable player).
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