Prima founder 'worked hard, cared for staff'

Prima founder 'worked hard, cared for staff'

THE man who set up Singapore's first flour mill and made Prima a household name did not mind getting his hands dirty.

Colleagues at his wake, which took place earlier this week, recalled Mr Cheng Tsang Man rolling up his sleeves to carry and stack 70kg bags to show them how to lift the bags without hurting their backs. He died on Sunday, aged 97, and was cremated on Thursday.

Prima founder 'worked hard, cared for staff'

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    Hundreds of people turned up for the cremation of Mr Cheng Tsang Man, the founder of Prima Group.

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    The family of Mr Cheng pay their last respects to him before the cremation.

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    An undertaker hands out flowers to bereavers at the funeral.

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    Mr Cheng Tsang Man can be seen on the right in this 1967 photo of him at a press conference.

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    Mr Saik Ah Har, 76, has been a staff of Prima for many years.

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    "He would often visit the mill to make sure we could cope," said a tearful Mr Saik Ah Har, 76, who worked alongside Mr Cheng from 1963 as an electrical engineer.

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    The funeral at Mandai Crematorium was attended by about 300 Prima staff, dignitaries from across the globe and well-known names in the food industry such as billionaire Sam Goi, the Popiah King.

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    President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka, where Prima has operations, also sent his condolences to the family while Singapore ministers attended his wake.

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    Mr Saik Ah Har paying respects at the wake of Mr Cheng Tsang Man.

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    Mr Cheng, who was a widower, leaves behind six children, 12 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Grandson Lewis, 42, an executive director and general manager at the firm said: "We want to keep his legacy going and do him proud."

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    In this 2011, Mr Cheng can be seen with Mr Primus Cheng (right).

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    Mr Goh Keng Swee (centre), then Minister for Finance, at the official inauguration of Prima's flourmill on Aug 18, with Mr Cheng Tsang Man (far left)

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"He would often visit the mill to make sure we could cope," said a tearful Mr Saik Ah Har, 76, who worked alongside Mr Cheng from 1963 as an electrical engineer.

"Once, when he saw workers seated on the floor eating, he ordered the technical department to build them chairs. He was a very kind man."

Mr Cheng's fourth son Primus, 65, is now chairman and chief executive of the Prima group. He said his father "worked hard from young and spent some of his youth repairing watches and bicycles to make ends meet".

The funeral at Mandai Crematorium was attended by about 300 Prima staff, dignitaries from across the globe and well-known names in the food industry such as billionaire Sam Goi, the Popiah King.

"A lot have come to pay their respects because he has made an impact on all our lives," said his former secretary of more than 20 years, Madam Lim Lek Sze, 52.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka, where Prima has operations, also sent his condolences to the family while Singapore ministers attended his wake.

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