今天的《星期天泰晤士报》(The Sunday Times)，有一篇关于香港企业家David Tang和他女儿Victoria的专访。
David Tang何许人也？就是著名中国时尚名牌上海滩(Shanghai Tang)的老板邓永锵。
10）我对未来女婿的要求是：他必须比我有钱。当然，这算是半个笑话吧。(That’s only a half joke.)
David, 56, entrepreneur
I’m always accused of not spending enough time with my children. However, I don’t believe that the time spent with them equates to how much I love them. Both my present wife and my ex-wife think that’s rubbish, but they’re wrong. The physical presence is important for women, while for men it is not.
Victoria is my first child and I feel lucky. I always wanted to have a girl, even though the common desire among Chinese people is to have a son. Primogeniture doesn’t apply to me as I am not an emperor. Fathers always love daughters more: they are more vulnerable. It doesn’t matter how old a daughter is, a father feels protective.
The awful thing is, I wasn’t present when Victoria was born, at St Mary’s, Paddington. For nine months I had said to her mother [Susanna Cheung, a former TV actress]: “Of course I’ll be there.” Then, two weeks before Victoria was due, I got a new job, working for an oil company, and was sent to Ireland. I calculated it so I’d be back in time, but Victoria arrived a day earlier.
We doted on Victoria. I made a big fuss about going everywhere with my little baby daughter. I took her to weddings and to dinner parties. I even learnt how to change her nappy. That was how passionate I was. But after a month or two the novelty wore off and I left her with her mother. Victoria will say that I was never involved in the school run, but I do remember picking her up on a few occasions.
I was very pleased when Edward came along 18 months later. Having two puppies meant they could look after each other.
I find it absurd when Chinese children can’t speak Chinese, so it was imperative they grew up in Hong Kong. We spoke Chinese at home and I sent my children to a Chinese school. They came to England regularly and became bilingual. When you are young it is so important to be exposed to as many cultures as possible. This is why I also sent them to live in Tokyo for two years before they finished their education in Britain.
I do encourage Victoria to marry someone incredibly rich, so that it provides a safety net for me too
They lived there with their mother, whose new husband was posted there for work. We’d divorced in 1994. I don’t believe in acrimony; it’s boring, and it wastes so much time. I’ve been extremely lucky to have a very understanding second wife, who gets on with my children beautifully, and with my ex-wife.
At risk of sounding like an old fool spouting pearls of wisdom, I’m philosophical when I’m with my children. The most important thing to have is knowledge as opposed to information. Those two are often confused. I tell them that it is only through reading that they can expand their own horizon. It is the same in social situations: if you’re going to have people round for dinner, ensure they’re more intelligent than you so they can teach you a thing or two.
I don’t sit them down and deliver a lecture: I use humour to make my points. I joke with them all the time. My son is particularly sarcastic. Victoria is much more disciplined. I loaded her with all the serious stuff and slightly forgot the humour.
Nobody ever gave me any speeches when I was growing up. My parents couldn’t tell you who Plato was. I wanted to give my children what I didn’t have. It’s so important for parents to stimulate children through action: it instils aspiration and teaches them the meaning of risk and failure. Why would they listen to me unless I showed some ambition myself?
In spite of this — and perhaps it’s not a very modern idea — I can’t get out of my mind the fact that Victoria is not going to be a career woman: she’ll settle down and look after the husband. I wouldn’t have thought that was necessarily a bad thing, and I’m not suggesting she shouldn’t go out to work. She’s got very set ideas. Inevitably, there’s a bit of DNA there, and it is a secret source of pride that my daughter is interested in photography and graphic design. She has an artistic sense, which is what I love having —she goes through life with a sense of the visual. I deliberately let her go with the flow, and it is so important that I do, as so many young people today say: “I don’t know what I want to do.” Victoria always knew.
The path she has chosen is not steady, but I’m just incredibly fortunate to be her safety net, so that there isn’t a worry she might go on the dole. I did a law degree and set out on a firm path, only because I didn’t have a safety net. There was nobody saying to me: “If things go wrong you will still be fed.”
I do encourage her to marry someone incredibly rich, so that it provides a safety net for me too. We met a billionaire’s son once, and I said: “Why not go for him?” She said: “Daddy, he’s so fat and ugly.” My response was: “What’s that got to do with it?” Of course true love counts for something, but I have one qualification for my future son-in-law: he has to be richer than me. That’s only a half-joke.