‘You’re my stupid child’: Lance tells JAZA how John and Martha Gokongwei raised their kids with lots of love and plenty of humor

‘You’re my stupid child’: Lance tells JAZA how John and Martha Gokongwei raised their kids with lots of love and plenty of humor

Bilyonaryo Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala is one of the people awed by how the Gokongweis have been regarded as having one of the best family dynamics among the richest clans in the country.

When JG Summit chairman Lance Gokongwei guested on his online talk show, “After Six”, Zobel talked about how the family behind Robinsons Malls and Jack & Jill chips were a “great example” of what a family should be.

“You can see the interpersonal in your family are superb. You all have self-deprecating humor, you’re always joking. Who has the sense of humor in your family?” asked Zobel.

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Gokongwei credited his parents – taipan John and Elizabeth Yu who died a week apart in 2019 – for mixing love with tender put-downs for embedding the family’s deep bonds.

“I think it’s probably a function of both my dad and my mom, maybe a little bit of the way, I guess from a Chinese heritage, the way parents bring up their kids,” said Gokongwei.

“Our parents would never praise us but they would also criticize us also. It’s all cariño brutal. They use Chinese words which basically mean ‘you’re my stupid child’. But it’s a term of endearment. That becomes part of the chatter. And my mom was really always laughing and making fun of her forgetfulness and all this stuff. I guess that and my sister, Robina, is I guess the foremost example of self deprecation,” he added.

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Gokongwei said his father made him spend his vacation in the family store during a break in his studies in Wharton School.

Zobel asked Gokongwei how it was growing up being the only boy in the family of girls.

“We’re a very close family but you’re right, you end up with often times as five versus one kind of arrangement. Being the only boy teaches you a few skills foremost is you have to be a little humble. You have to be a little bit of a politician to get things you want across,” said Gokongwei.

He revealed that Robina, Lisa, Faith, Hope and Marcia do gang up on him but these situations helped him hone his political skills to
divide and conquer the brood.

Gokongwei said he makes sure to spend time with his wife and two kids but also with his siblings and their families. His travels with the extended family are what he cherished most.

“I find that the travel enjoy, what’s more important is who I’m traveling with. In the last few years of my parents’ life, the family would take two weeks trips every year and those were great. Those were great times. Because there was like 20 of us from 90-year old down to five,” said Gokongwei.


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