Labor Hero, Entrepreneur Le Van Kiem: “As long as I am Fine, I will still work…”

10:56:26 AM | 1/18/2022

Today, success in work and in life has become a prerequisite to personal happiness. For Labor Hero, Entrepreneur Le Van Kiem, wealth and career success is just an instrument and means to support and help those less fortunate. That is also the way that he has pursued his own well-being because he always thinks that if he lives wholeheartedly for everyone, he will feel happy deep in his heart.

Gloriously soldierly life, entrepreneurial life

Kiem’s soldierly and entrepreneurial life is full of glorious and bitter stories. Like many other successful entrepreneurs, he experienced many hardships and indigence. When he was only one year old, he followed his parents who were soldiers to the war zone in Ba Long - Quang Tri. That very harsh but love-filled environment built his noble virtues: Kindness, steadfastness, discipline but affection, integrity and faithfulness. Going through a long time of learning, experiencing and growing, he became a courageous soldier who always fought hard for his ideals and aspirations for peace until national reunification day.

The country moved to a new chapter. Veteran Le Van Kiem and his wife also moved to a new front - the economic front in the renovation period. He and his wife tried a lot of trades, from processing animal feed and pressing dry rubber seeds to extract oil for paint companies to producing pigments for the construction industry. This important turning point led him to the top of glory, starting with resounding success with Huy Hoang Garment brand - one of the first private companies established in Vietnam. With its investment into the most advanced production lines, equipment and technology imported from Japan and Italy, Huy Hoang Garment quickly became the largest and most modern garment manufacturer in Vietnam in 1987 - 1990. The company employed thousands of workers and helped Vietnam gradually integrate and adapt to the world's age of machinery and technology.

From the foundation built on Huy Hoang Garment Company, Kiem and his wife decided to try completely new but also potential areas like transport infrastructure construction (Hang Xanh intersection helps solve traffic jams in Ho Chi Minh City), real estate business, banking, golf course, resort, mining and renewable energy. He founded Long Thanh Golf in 2005, an enterprise that plays a pivotal role in the KN Investment Group ecosystem.

In his business life, he earned great glory but also suffered numerous humiliations. He had to trade a lot of things, to accept joy and sorrow, smiles and tears, pressure from work and fierce competition in the market. However, above all, it was the belief in the future, the passion for work and the destiny of all employees that added wings for veteran Le Van Kiem to overcome all obstacles to lead Long Thanh Golf to success.

Living is giving, not receiving

Besides his own efforts, he is also lucky enough to marry his beloved wife who always sympathizes, understands and shares with him in every event, every milestone in life, and readily moves forward with him on all philanthropic paths. In the journey full of love and humanity, they work hard to help the community, assist people in need and the less fortunate, and express his gratitude to his old comrades and people with meritorious services to the nation.

On each step they take, many houses of love and gratitude have been built to shelter relatives of their comrades whose remains lie in the trenches forever. Many scholarship funds have been established to help poor and studious students. Typical funds included Scholarship Fund for Water Resources University, Study Promotion Fund for Vietnamese Veteran Offspring, and “Tran Cam Nhung - Wings of Dreams” Scholarship Fund.

In particular, responding to the Government's call for the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic, Kiem donated VND500 billion to the COVID-19 Vaccine Fund. Previously, he and his wife presented nearly VND100 billion for COVID-19 epidemic prevention through the Vietnam Fatherland Front, the Vietnam Veterans Entrepreneurs Association for the Border Guard and other people on the frontline to control the epidemic. These noble gestures not only show the sense of responsibility to the community and society of Kiem and his wife, Tran Cam Nhung, but also the assistance for the Government and Prime Minister in the war against the pandemic.

In recognition of his great contributions to charity, in 2019, the world's leading business magazine Forbes announced the list of 30 Charity Heroes in the Asia-Pacific region. Vietnam for the first time had veteran Le Van Kiem and his wife Tran Cam Nhung, who ranked 7th in the Top 10 most generous philanthropists in the Asia-Pacific region. On November 28, 2020, in the Commemoration Ceremony of "Silent examples for the community", they were also honored to be named Heroes in the renovation period by National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan on behalf of the Party and the State for particularly outstanding achievements in labor and creativity, and contributions to the cause of national construction and defense. This was the first time that the couple had the honor of being recognized together and the second time that businessman Kiem had this noble title.

Doing charity is not boasting but coming from a selfless heart, unconditional sharing. That is a very positive life concept of veteran Le Van Kiem because he always wants to take humanity in every Vietnamese person as the core of his business culture. “To be successful, you must put yourself in the shoes of others to have the same thinking, understanding and sympathy as them. In other words, if you live wholeheartedly for everyone, deep down inside yourself, you will feel happy. That is the highest realm of enlightenment,” he shared.

Listening to his thoughts, I sense a strong sympathy. I suddenly realize that a veteran, even in peacetime, always seeks to collect and mend painful fragments of war. For a labor hero in the renovation process recognized by the Party and State, Kiem has been living with all the energy in his body, with extraordinary effort with only one aspiration: To devote himself to the community and the homeland. While the whole country is struggling to fight against the raging epidemic, many entrepreneurs and enterprises are silently giving "sweet honey" to life like him.

Sharing his wishes about the future, he did not hesitate to say that, despite his old age, he still aspires to dedicate himself to his work. “The water rises and the boat is still floating above it. As soon as the company grows, employees’ lives will be better as a result. For me, the concept of retirement does not exist at all. As long as I am fine, I will still work. I do my best to make the country richer and stronger, employees’ lives more fulfilled, the community more civilized and progressive,” he confided.

By Van Luong, Vietnam Business Forum