Making fantasy a reality

Making fantasy a reality

With her baby face and endearing forthright manner, Ms Ong Chih Ching, 44, gives no hint that she has headed a string of million-dollar businesses in traditionally masculine fields.

But that is how she has always lived her life, defying the norm by starting a law firm at the age of 26, breaking into the Middle East market in the late 1990s as a female lawyer and transforming fantasy - a luxury condominium with ensuite elevated car porch - into reality with Hamilton Scotts in Orchard Road.

She makes it seem normal, even mundane, that she was often the only female cutting deals in the company of captains of industry in the Middle East.

"They never talked down to me and, at that moment, I just took everything in stride."

Her long-time business partner Madam Geraldine Ong, 50, however, says: "Chih Ching gained the respect of sheikhs because of her tenacity and perseverance. They saw that they could trust and rely on her."

Lately, Ms Ong has been busy giving the iconic Fort Canning Centre a makeover.

The integrated investment company KOP Group, which she helms as chief executive, is planting an offshoot of the popular Parisian private art museum, Pinacotheque de Paris, there.

Other partners in the venture include the founder of Pinacotheque de Paris, art historian Marc Restellini, Singapore Diamond Exchange chairman Alain Vandenborre and Singapore Freeport chairman Yves Bouvier.

A teaser of their vision is on display at the centre in a pop-up exhibition, which features 19 masterpieces, including works by Rembrandt and Picasso.

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