QUIRKY BUT RICH: Fifty-three-year-old Foong Bang Loy never wears a shirt to work and wanders around barefooted. However, looks can be deceiving. Foong is actually a millionaire with a diverse spread of businesses, ranging from vegetable farming to sand mining.

HULU SELANGOR: He can easily adorn himself with Gucci belts and Bally shoes, but this millionaire from Serendah walks around town shirtless and barefoot, with his shorts held up by raffia string.

Meet farmer and entrepreneur Foong Bang Loy, 53, whose eccentricity makes him look more like an over-aged ragamuffin than the towkay that he is.

As if his choice of attire is not bizarre enough, he sometimes dons a long, curly wig or hats made from newspapers – whenever it strikes his fancy.

“People think I am crazy. Let them talk. I am living life my way. I am happy, I hurt no one and more importantly, my wife and children accept me the way I am,” said Foong, the father of four grown children.

Wife Seck Sow Yan, looking adoringly at Foong, described him as the same kind, hardworking and loving person she had known since she was 10.

“He has disliked wearing shirts and shoes for as long as I can remember. When he was young, the only shirts he wore were for school.

“While he may not dress to convention, he is really likeable. He showers me with affection and we love to sing karaoke together,” said Seck, who is in her 50s.

Folks in Serendah have become accustomed to this barefooted millionaire –who has no qualms riding his horse to town shirtless or walking into the bank to see the manager in his usual shirtless and shoeless self.

While this may raise eyebrows, it is his wealth that is the talking point.

Foong is one of two licensed sand miners in town, and he owns the largest vegetable farm in Serendah. He also owns a mini-market, three shoplots, a Mercedes and a BMW.

HARD AT WORK: Foong operating his excavator at his sand mine in Serendah recently.

The locals remember him and his wife coming from Ampang to farm in Serendah more than a decade ago. They were poor then and many believed he had struck lottery.

“Nonsense!” said Foong. “Whatever we have, my wife and I earned it the old-fashioned way – through hard work.”

“We did everything ourselves to save money. We planted vegetables, transported them to the market and sold them there.

“We were tired to the bone but kept working to make more money. We invested with the money we had, such as in the sand mine,” said Foong.

The couple still work hard. Seck sends the vegetable to the Selayang wholesale market at 1am and returns home around noon to sleep.

Foong keeps his morning busy tending to the vegetable farms and the sand mine. He learned to operate the excavators and repair the machines to save on labour costs.

“My children work for us. We pay them wages. Some say we are tight with the children. I believe they should earn their keep.

“What I have will eventually become theirs. However, they must know that our wealth did not fall from the sky, lest they squander the money,” said Foong.

Wise words from one who wore a plaited wig that day.


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