I Am Generation T: Martin Yeung
For someone who could justifiably spend a significant amount of time lounging around the beach at a resort in Cebu, Martin Yeung is surprisingly hardworking. And while you will definitely find him occasionally at Kandaya Resort, the property he founded and operates in the north of the Philippine island, he's exceptionally hands-on when it comes to running his property-development and construction business, MSY Holdings.
The Cebu City-headquartered company is responsible for a number of high-profile developments, from office towers to residential villages, public gardens to fitness centres, restaurants to farms.
It also has its own philanthropic arm, MSY Foundation, which creates learning centres, repairs schools, grants scholarships to underprivileged students and provides funding for the local chapter of Operation Smile.
Yeung found time to chat to Generation T about his inspiration, hopes for the future and the values he holds most dear.
Explain what you do in one sentence.
I am the president and CEO of MSY Holdings, a property development and construction company. My responsibilities generally encompass managing everything in the company – overseeing all aspects in construction, development, operations, marketing, accounting and so on.
What’s non-negotiable for you?
Integrity. A man’s word of honour is all he has in this world that defines his character and credibility as a person. You lose that, you have nothing.
What was your biggest 'A-ha' moment in life?
When I learned how to embrace failure, and swallow my pride. I realised when you accept humility, are humble and learn from your mistakes, you gain wings that allow you to thrive with limitless potential.
What’s your inspiration?
God and his beautiful masterpiece, life. Being surrounded by the natural wonders this planet has to offer re-energises, reinvigorates and strengthens my mental and emotional state of mind. In nature, you are reminded that we are just a tiny grain of sand living in this massive, infinite universe. It’s a very humbling and inspiring experience.
Who’s your hero?
My parents. My father, a self made man, who started with nothing but 10 cents in his pocket to become the man he is today. My mother is woman who truly has a heart of gold, like no other, and represents the true definition of what family is all about.
God blessed me with such amazing parents, albeit strict, but full of love and compassion. My father was my mentor in life and business, whilst my mother was my pillar of strength that taught me the meaning of love and family.
If you could go out for a drink with anyone in the world—alive or dead, real or fictional—who would it be?
Alexander the Great. I would love to know how his mind ticked.
You want something, you go get it. Be the master of your own destiny.
— Martin Yeung
If I had an extra hour in my day I would…
Read more books. Novels seem to be of the past in this day and age. Sometimes the simpler things are better.
What advice would you give yourself when first starting out if you could go back?
Own up to your mistakes, and learn from them. Knowledge is power.
Don’t let anyone ever tell you...
You can’t do or achieve something, You want something, you go get it. Be the master of your own destiny.
Name three things every young leader needs to be armed with.
Firstly, lead by example. Be committed, confident, dedicated and loyal. Second, be humble—embrace failure and learn from it. Lastly, have a “work hard to play hard” attitude.
What’s something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
I’ve been riding horses since I was 7 years old.
What’s the most important thing your parents ever taught you?
Humility. To learn to how to keep your pride in check, and be humble.