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Category Archives: Politicians

Perhaps one of the most influential and powerful Hongkonger in the politics of China is Henry Fok. Since March of 1993, he sat as the vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Before the turnover of Hong Kong back to China in 1997, he played vital roles in politics and the entire economy. He was Standing Committee member of the 7th National People’s Congress, a member of the Drafting Committee for the Basic Law of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), vice-chairman of the Preparatory Committee of Hong Kong SAR and the vice-chairman of the Preliminary Working Committee of Preparatory Committee of the Hong Kong SAR. He is also best known for helping out Tung Chee Hwa, the first Chief Executive and President of the Executive Council of Hong Kong, out of bankruptcy which created his strong ties with the public figure.

When he died on October 28, 2006 he already amassed billions from his businesses. His life though was not one that’s devoid of challenges and showered with wealth. It was rather a story of rags to riches that is now seen as a reflection of how China dramatically changes its global position.  His family never had much and his schooling at Queen’s College was even interrupted because of the Japanese invasion in 1941.

His business interests lie in real estate, casinos, petroleum and restaurants. Rumors had it that he made his fortune by circumventing United Nations arms embargo in the 1950s. This he denied but admitted violating sanctions by smuggling steel and rubber and other items. He sat as chairman in his companies Yau Wing Co of Hong Kong and the Henry Fok Estates Ltd. He also served as the President of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and the Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong.

Henry Fok died of cancer at the age of 83. His family traces their roots in Nansha District, Guangzhou, Guangdong.

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In his school days, Robert Garrett said that “in a manner of speaking”, he has elected himself to the board of Princeton. In 1905, Garrett was invited to be a part of the board of John Hopkins, his former alma mater in his hometown in Baltimore. Because he esteemed Princeton and “his desire [was] to serve her and her only,” he sought the advice of President Wilson. He was advised to decline the invitation of Hopkins. In 1906, Garrett was invited by President Wilson to the Princeton board.

Garrett was only 29 when he became a Princeton trustee. He served the university for 40 years in which period he served as charter trustee. He served for another 16 years as trustee emeritus.

In his undergraduate years, Garrett was an excellent athlete, having participated in a few track and field events. In 1896, Garrett organized an expedition and financed its efforts to join the revived Olympic Games in Athens with three of his classmates. He became a standout in the Olympiad that year, with two first places and two second places.

Garrett also helped to organize an archaeological expedition to Syria in 1899. He started collecting Near Eastern manuscripts, which he donated to the university. Today, his keeps are known as The Garrett Collection of Near eastern Manuscripts.

Steve Forbes Jr. is a publishing executive. He is the editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine, and the president and chief executive of Forbes Inc. Forbes was a Republican nominee in the 1996 and 2000 presidential primaries.

Forbes was born on July 18, 1947 as Malcolm Stevenson Forbes Jr. He was born in Morristown, New Jersey, but grew up in Far Hills. Forbes studied in Princeton, where he created his first magazine, known as Business Today. Business Today is the world’s largest student-run magazine in the world today.

During the presidency of Ronald Reagan, Forbes was appointed into the Board of International Broadcasting as head of the office. He was also instrumental in crafting Christine Todd Whitman’s plan to cut New Jersey’s income tax by 30% over a three-year period. Forbes used the tax cut when he campaigned for the US presidency.

In his Republican presidential primaries, Forbes was known to campaign for flat income tax. In his 1996 nomination, he also wanted to re-introduce 4.5% mortgage and term limits, although he withdrew these issues in his 2000 bid because they were believed to be planks in his platform in the 1996 bid.

Forbes was forced to sell some of his voting shares in Forbes Inc. to support his bid for the presidency. In 1996, he won the Delaware and Arizona Primaries but fell short of securing the party’s nomination. It was believed that his defeat was brought about by his awkward campaign styles. In the 2000 primaries, he dropped out early and went back to his magazine business and Forbes Inc.

Forbes had other political activities as well. In the 1996 elections, he supported Ron Paul’s congressional bid for Texas’ 14th congressional district. In 2008 presidential election, he also supported John McCain and acted as Economic Adviser on Taxes, Energy and the Budget.

Thomas Coleman du Pont was an American politician and engineer. He was more popularly known as Coleman, his middle name. He founded and became the first president of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. As a member of the Republican Party, he represented Delaware on two terms in the US Senate.

Du Pont was born in Louisville, Kentucky on December 11, 1863. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he earned his degree in engineering. His first job was with the family’s business, the Central Coal and Iron Company. In 1894, du Pont pursued a career in the railways business and became the general manager of Johnson Street Rail Company in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Along with his cousins Alfred and Pierre, Coleman bought out the explosive business of the family and became the president from 1902 to 1915. During this period, du Pont was responsible for acquiring more than one hundred of the company’s competitors. Du Pont also played an important role in the formation of E.I. du Pont de Nemours Company, which eventually became the holding company. In 1914, du Pont sold his stakes in the company after he faced charges of antitrust violations in 1907.

Du Pont owned and co-owned a number of hotels. He had controlling interests in Wallick’s, Claridge Atlantic City, Hotel McAlpin, and a few other American hotels. With Lucius Boomer, Coleman co-owned New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Washington D.C.’s Willard Hotel and Philadelphia’s Stratford Hotel.

In 1915, Coleman dealt with J.P. Morgan to acquire the controlling interests of The Equitable Life Assurance Society. From there, Coleman built the Equitable Life Building, which became the largest in New York City at that time.

When du Pont retired from business in 1915, he became actively involved in the Republican political arena. He was a member of the Republican National Committee between 1908 and 1930. During his stint as part of the party’s leadership, he helped unite the Regular Republicans and the Union Republicans. The result was the modern Delaware Republican Party.

When US Senator Josiah Wolcott resigned in 1921 du Pont was appointed to take the vacant seat. He vied to finish the full term in a special election in 1922 but lost his bid. However, he was elected to the US Senate in 1924. He resigned in 1928 due to health problems.

Du Pont served two terms in the US Senate. He was with the Republican majority of the 67th, 69th and the 70th Congress. He served during the presidency of US Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge.

Du Pont died of cancer of the larynx on November 11, 1930.

Who wouldn’t have heard of the online news website, the Huffington Post? Indeed, almost everyone who has been exposed and has access to the Internet has heard of this eponymous site. However, not everyone may know who is the man – or woman, rather – behind it. Yes, this prestigious and well-known news site was established by a woman who deserves to be known by the world.

Arianna Huffington is a Greek-born journalist, author, politician, and entrepreneur. She established the Huffington Post with Kenneth Lerer in 2005, two years after she lost the governatorial race in California.

For 11 years, she was married to Michael Huffington, a known oil tycoon and then Republican politician. However, for Arianna, her political direction needed to take a different route. This gave birth to the Huffington Post as a political blog aimed at Democrats prior to expanding its content to news. As it did, it began attracting about 25 million visitors monthly.

Arianna was born in Athens. She moved to England at age 16. At Cambridge, she led the Cambridge Union debating society as its president before she graduated with a Master’s Degree in Economics in 1972.

She published her first book, The Female Woman, in 1973. After that, she wrote 12 more books with issues ranging from self-help to Greek mythology, biographies, and to political satires.

She got involved with several relationships including that with the late Bernard Levin who used to be a Times columnist. Their relationship lasted for about 10 years before Arianna moved to New York in the 1980s. In 1986, she married Michael Huffington. They moved to Washington where Michael pursued a political career. Arianna gained popularity as his husband ran – and lost the senatorial race in 1994. The marriage ended in divorce in 1997. She is now residing in Los Angeles with her daughters.

After losing the governorship in 2003 to actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, she focused in journalism and put up The Huffington Post. It opened more opportunities for recognition. In 2006, she was listed as one of Time’s 100 most influential people in the world. She was also ranked 28th on Forbes’s list of the world’s most powerful women.

Al Gore Jr. was US Vice President under President Clinton for two terms. After his stint at the White House, Gore became an environmental activist, having raised awareness of global warming as Co-Laureate for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Gore was born on March 31, 1948 in Carthage, Tennessee. His father was a US Representative for several years that’s why Gore was exposed to politics at a young age.

Gore took up BA major in Government at Harvard College and finished in June 1969. In spite of his opposition to the Vietnam War, Gore joined the US Army shortly after graduation. He spent the last seven months of military service in Vietnam.

After The US Army, Gore entered a divinity school at Vanderbilt. Then, he attended a law school. He was first elected as a Representative in 1976. In 1984, he won a seat in the Senate. He was Senator from Tennessee until he became America’s 45th vice president in 1993.

He ran for president against George W. Bush in 2000. He won the popular votes but lost to Bush in the electoral votes. Despite losing his bid for the presidency, Gore continued his public service by spending his time addressing environmental issues.

Bill Clinton was the 42nd US President. He served five terms as Arkansas governor before he became president. He was a popular president who advanced education, jobs and domestic environment. His foreign policy advocated international peace talks related to the Northern Island and Palestinian conflicts.

Clinton was born on August 19, 1946 in Hope, Arkansas. He was born as William Jefferson Blythe III. He grew up with his grandfather James Elridge because his father died in a car accident before he was born. His grandpa, whom he calls Papaw, was influential in forming the young Clinton’s mind. He was exposed early to jobs such as nighttime security guard in a local sawmill and as an attendant in a small grocery store.

The grocery store had a steady stream of black customers. At the time when there were racism issues between the blacks and the whites, Clinton saw his Papaw treat black and white customers the same. His grandparents, who were against segregation and racism, taught Clinton to respect Afro-Americans in the same way as he would white Americans. It was told that young Billy was one of the few white boys in town who would play with black children. These valuable boyhood experiences later shaped Clinton’s thinking and made novelist and professor Toni Morrison call him as the first black American president.

Joe Biden was one of Delaware’s longest-serving senators having served the state’s senate for a total of six terms. He represented Delaware in the US Senate when he announced his vice presidential bid as running mate to President Barack Obama in 2008.

Biden was born on November 20, 1942 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Biden studied hard as a student. He finished history and political science at University of Delaware. After his graduation in 1965, Biden studied law at Syracuse University where he received his Juris Doctor (J.D.).

His political career started when he was elected to the New Castle County Council in 1970. He ran for the US Senate in 1972 and managed to win the election.

As a US Senator, Biden served in various committees. He was the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations. He also served with a subcommittee of the Committee on Judiciary and co-chaired the Caucus on International Narcotics Control (CINC).

During his tenure at CINC, he helped reduce the proliferation of party drugs like Ecstacy and Ketamine. He also controlled the use of certain steroids by many baseball players. He also established educational aid and loan programs which allowed parents to take up a college education.