Loh Boon Siew
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Boon Siew was born in Hui'an County, Fujian, China. He spent his childhood collecting pig dung (used as fuel) to make a living. Aged 12, he arrived in Penang from China with five friends, among them Loh Poh Heng and Loh Say Bee. He could speak only Hokkien and had virtually no formal education. He worked as an apprentice car mechanic upon his arrival.
At age 18, Boon Siew purchased 11 buses using his $2,000 in savings. He reconditioned the buses and sold them for $12,000. Next, he used the money he earned to buy another 39 buses. In 1942, during World War II, his money was confiscated by the invading Japanese army. After World War II ended in 1945 and the Japanese were defeated, he started selling bicycles, tires and motorcycle accessories, and soon he expanded his business to used cars, transports and buses.
In the 1950s, Boon Siew went into property development with his friends Say Bee and Poh Heng by building residential villas in Taman Saw Kit in Penang. His work is continued by his Boon Siew Group.
The first Malaysian Honda showroom was set up on Pitt Street in Penang, very near the home of Boon Siew. The Japanese Honda Motor Co Ltd soon appointed Boon Siew the sole distributor for Honda motorbikes in the country, as the first 50 units of Honda 4-stroke Cub were being imported into Malaysia.
A factory was built in Penang to assemble the Honda Cub and the Honda motorcycle assembled in Malaysia was renamed the Boon Siew Honda. The Honda Cub became the best selling motorcycle in Malaysia and Boon Siew was recognised as the first person to bring the Honda Cub motorcycles into Southeast Asia. The popular Cantonese word Cub 仔 (transcribed as "kapchai" in informal Malay), which means "small (Honda) Cub" and is now a generic for small underbone motorcycles in Malaysia, originates from the Honda Cub.
Honour of Malaysia
- Aznam, Kamarul (March 23, 2003), "Dream machine from Honda", New Straits Times, – via HighBeam (subscription required)
- "Boon Siew makes it into records book", Business Times, Malaysia: – via HighBeam (subscription required), August 3, 2001
- Chew, Melanie (2015), Leaders of Singapore, World Scientific, pp. 46-, ISBN 9789814719452
- Emmanuel, Marina (February 25, 2000), "Antiques of the 'Honda King'", New Straits Times, – via HighBeam (subscription required)
- Ghazali, Fadzil (July 18, 2000), "The King of Bikes continues to reign", Business Times, Malaysia: – via HighBeam (subscription required)
- Kok, Cecilia (3 January 2015), "Oriental Holdings enters new era", The Star
- "Life after Honda", Malaysian Business, – via HighBeam (subscription required), September 16, 2001
- "Motorcycle King", Sunday Mail, NSTP Research & Information Services – via HighBeam (subscription required), March 27, 2005