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Simon Quan
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Poster Marty Offline
Posted 12/15/09 02:58 PM
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He is well known and highly respected in the community. His store, Simon Quan, on Queen Street in Belize City carries an extensive variety of goods at affordable prices. Today shoppers in the height of the Christmas Shopping Season may have noticed a black bow on the outside of the store. That bow has been placed in honor of the man who started the business in 1965. The legendary Simon Quan passed away last Friday while receiving medical care for heart complications in Guadalajara, Mexico. Quan was born in Mexico and then moved to China before coming to Belize forty-five years ago. He first worked for Augusto Quan before starting his own business on Queen Street. He is known by everyone from the average man on the street to high ranking officials and is a Justice of the Peace and Member of the British Empire. Despite his business success, Quan lived a humble life. He is the father of nine children and one his sons, Peter, spoke to News Five today about the passing of his father.

Peter Quan, Son, Simon Quan
“He fell ill last Sunday, which was December seventh and we had to take him to Belize Medical Associates. On Thursday we had to fly him out to Mexico, Guadalajara for urgent medical care. Thereafter, he succumbed to his illness, which was heart failure on Friday, December eleventh. With age a lot of things develop; from one thing to the next it started to multiply or to tell on him and then eventually everything accumulated to the heart failure. My father is an icon, in a sense he is like a legend in Belize and I'm sure he will make a lot of people follow in his footsteps as a true role model, as a Belizean, as a businessman, as a father and as a community leader.”

Delahnie Bain
“Have you made funeral arrangements and everything already?”

Peter Quan
“It is scheduled for Wednesday, December sixteenth at Fordyce Chapel Landivar. Ceremonies commence at two o'clock p.m. and his body will lie in state there from one o'clock p.m.”

The store will be closed all day Wednesday the funeral. Simon Quan…dead at seventy-nine.

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#361529 - 12/15/09 02:59 PM Re: Simon Quan [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Tonight we acknowledge the passing of a noted Belizean. Businessman Simon Quan passed away on Friday in Gudalajara Mexico where he was receiving treatment for a heart condition. The 79 year old Quan had first been hospitalized in Belize on Sunday December sixth and was then taken to Mexico for treatment when his condition did not improve. Funeral services for Quan will be held on Wednesday afternoon at the Fordyce Chapel on the Landivar Campus in Belize City.

Quan – seen here at the queen’s birthday honors in October of this year collecting his Member of The British Empire, MBE, came to Belize from China in 1959; his trip was sponsored by his cousin Augusto Quan.

In 1965 after re-paying his cousin’s sponsorship, he went out on his own and built his business with his wife Emily. At first it was a grocery store, but his daughter Lupita today told us that initially her father and mother were destitute and literally had to sell the clothes off their backs to start up the business. And the business was selling anything customers would buy – even if it meant running up the street to buy a bottle of kerosene for 24 cents just so that they could sell it for 25 cents.

With that hard working ethic – Simon Quan steadily built his reputation and his business to where it is today, one of the largest general merchandise outlets in Belize – with warehouses and residences occupying a large part of a city block in the commercial center of Belize. His daughter tells us the organizing principle of his business was simple: “you have to sell things that people can afford.” Simon Quan was famous for many things - not least of which was his bicycle cart which he rode around town for decades – a mode of transport reflective of his extreme modesty. Indeed, he was a small man at the helm of a big business, and his family tells us he was at work until the night before he fell ill.

Quan was a two term President of the Belize-Chinese Association and was well known for his generous community contributions and scholarships. Simon Quan, the father of 9, dead at 79.

Channel 7

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#361874 - 12/17/09 08:53 PM Re: Simon Quan [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
An incredible man who accomplished much since arriving in Belize in 1959. Was a wonderful funeral and he has left behind a great legacy and family who will carry on where their father left off.
_________________________
Belize based travel specialist
www.belize-trips.com
info@belize-trips.com

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#361896 - 12/17/09 10:52 PM Re: Simon Quan [Re: Katie Valk]
Marty Offline
The Legacy of Simon Quan

Written by Audrey Matura-Shepherd
Thursday, 17 December 2009

Simon Quan MBE, JP is known to every Belizean as he became an institution and now a legend. There will never be another Simon Quan – business smart, yet humble; accomplished yet giving; wealthy, yet a patron to the poor; busy, yet a dedicated family man. He will be dearly missed by his family who have lost a patriarch and by Belize who has lost a patriot. We can only hope that his children will carry on his legacy and tradition and through them Simon Quan will live on.

But few know the story of his life and the journey that gifted him to our shores, and that is because he was so modest he

never talked about himself but focused on what he could do for others.
Mr. Simon, as he became known in Belize, was born in 1930 in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico to immigrant parents fleeing from China, but when the Governor of that state rounded up the Chinese immigrants and deported them back to China, this Mexican born child would have to go back to his parents' native land. Simon’s family was poor and his father worked very hard to provide a modest life for them, but as opportunities were limited and he had four children and a wife to care for he eventually found his way back to Mexico with the hopes of better financial prospects. Simon was five years old when his father left and was never seen by them again since shortly after he died in Mexico of a serious illness.

Now widowed, Simon’s mom and her four children had to make life on their own and so at the age of six Simon found himself peddling cigarettes and homemade candies after school on the streets of Gaoguong. He was not fortunate to complete his formal education since when he was in third grade his education came to an end with World War II and the invasion of China.

Up to the age of ten he and his family spent it on the run from the Japanese occupation and thus they fled to the province of Guangzhou and later Hong Kong, where later he witnessed the atrocities of the Japanese invasion there. By the age of eleven, Simon was in the work-force as a servant boy delivering rice for a wealthy merchant in Hong Kong and he worked his way up the ranks to the position of Cashier. Simon was friendly, thrifty and jovial and educated himself on his own time and even mastered the various Chinese dialects of his customers and he became fluent in English, adept in mental calculations and formidable with the abacus.

He remained faithful to his mother and financially supported her along with a nephew since his older brother had died and left an infant son. So at the age of 28, he was still single but all of that soon changed when he met his wife through a lady who was a customer and then his mother-in-law. After two dates, he married his wife Bo Yee.

While still a new groom in 1959, he received a letter of invitation to Belize from his cousin Augusto Quan, who offered to pay him to enter a five year work contract at a salary of $80.00 (British Honduras Dollars) a month as a live-in helper. Wanting a better life for his family, Simon agreed and travelled to Belize leaving behind his pregnant wife to live with his mother in Hong Kong.
Belize was not what he expected, but he worked hard and lived frugally so as to be able to fulfill his contract while supporting the family he left behind. In 1961 when hurricane Hattie hit, Simon saw the devastation in Belize, but having survived so many tragedies, he picked up the pieces and worked to rebuild his life. After the five years of service, Simon decided to remain in Belize and saw an opportunity to open his own store.

He sent for his wife and daughter, Emily, and then he rented a house at #24 Queen Street which was already a store and began operating from there. He would later purchase that building to give rise to Simon Quan Store. He used his $200.00 savings and got $1,000.00 on some merchandise from his cousin Augusto. He lived frugally and his residence was a back room behind the store, but at times ends did not meet; so when his cousin was threatening court action he had to find a way to resolve his problem. This only made Simon more determined than ever to succeed and so he realized that he needed to be an importer. But that same year 1965 Simon welcomed his first son, Peter into their home.

By the following year, Simon had cleared his debts and got his first loan form Royal Bank of Canada and he has never stopped being a good client since even with the change of ownership at the bank. With every passing year his business prospered and so did the size of his family that saw the addition of two more sons, Antonio and Julian and five more daughters, Lisa, Millie, Lupita, Antonia and Marion. Simon wanted more for his children so he ensured he gave all of them the best education and sent them abroad to pursue further studies. However, from an early age, he served as their first teacher along with his wife Bo Yee as they both ensured that the children worked in the store in their free time. He wanted them to learn good work ethics and values and he wanted the experience to teach them not to indulge in frivolous activities.

As the children completed their education and could take charge of the business, Simon gradually handed it over to them, but he remained a fixture around and anyone who went to buy at Simon Quan store can tell of some encounter with him or sighting of him. He built a family business and despite his good fortune he never chose to live an extravagant and materialistic life.

You would always see Simon in his white t-shirt and khaki pants, except for those official occasions when he had been honoured like in October of this year when he received the Member of the British Empire medal for his hard work, community service and sterling example to all in social and charitable work. He has given scholarships to high schools, sponsored the Council of Voluntary Social Services, the YWCA annual Christmas fund-raising, the Belize Festival of Arts, and the Museum of Belize, among others.

Simon Quan dead at age 79 leaves behind his legacy and values through all those whose lives he has touched.

The Guardian

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#361952 - 12/18/09 06:41 AM Re: Simon Quan [Re: Marty]
seashell Offline
WOW!! I got tears in my eyes and I've never met Mr.Simon.

One incredible person. We are all so spoiled. I'm humbled by this amazing man.
_________________________
A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?


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