• Jeremiah Silvano

Power of giving is SpeedWind’s way of caring and sharing


Dalton Wong and his wife giving away home-cooked food and drinks to parents and children waiting outside the hospital. Supplied

When companies are building a strong money safety net to weather the storms that Covid-19 pandemic is creating, SpeedWind Distribution Co., Ltd executive chairman, Dalton Wong comes with a stronger CSR social conscience to share his gains with society in need. A different version of this was published on April 26 and due to popular demand, publish herewith, a Q & A format of Dalton’s CSR activities.


1. What set you off on the CSR journey of giving back to the society in which you work and beyond?

There is nothing philosophical or mystical about the CSR activities that SpeedWind Group of Companies have undertaken over the past years. There are so many others who have contributed so much more, and that is why I have always resisted such interviews. But since a personal friend kept cajoling me to do so, that it would encourage others to also give, I agreed to the previous interview. Now, this second interview, my friend said it has worked as many more are now giving, so I agreed to this one, which I hope will be the last (laughing).


You must bear in mind that there are also many more unsung heroes who give back to the community but are never acknowledged or appreciated. I am certain, many of your fellow Cambodians and some of the expatriates here have also given generously to those in need. In fact, for those who have given even though they are not wealthy or well off, they are really the ones that Khmer Times and other newspapers should sing praises about.


Sorry if I have deviated from your question, but basically, as I’ve said before, I first started doing CSR solely to give back to society, extend a helping hand to those in need, which I think is a basic moral responsibility of any human being. That’s all. No other agenda or reason.


2. What is the single most important factor or incident for this, the trigger if it may be said?

Well, I remember when I was much younger, I got myself into a series of serious troubles. A few of my friends whom I have only known for a very short period of time, extended their help to me unreservedly. They helped me pick myself up, without any agenda or expect anything in return. It was a very benevolent action from them. So having benefited from the generosity of others, I made it a point to pay it forward wherever and whenever I am able to, having been at the point in life when I really needed help.


3. What is the single most important moment in your CSR endeavours that cannot be forgotten till today and why?

A few years ago when my wife, who is a Cambodian, and I were looking around for a hospital to deliver our daughter, we came across the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital near Wat Phnom, where we saw long lines of people queuing up to get their children checked outside the hospital. She told me that this hospital provides free medical help for those in need; many people who can’t afford medical fees would visit this place to have their children treated or attended to. Right after she delivered our daughter safely, she decided that she would cook for those people as they spent long hours under the sun or rain, and most of the parents and children who waited there might not have had anything to eat during the long wait.


So, we went there with about 100 packets of home-cooked food and bottles of water. But when we saw the plight that some were in, we also gave money to those who needed help or could not afford the transport back to their homes. You could tell from their eyes the true happiness and relief they felt, and we were so glad we were able to play a small part that day. I was very touched and at the same time relieved. After that incident, we again repeated several rounds of similar activities until I realised the needs were too much for just my wife and me to handle, and I thought it might be a good time to get my Group of Companies to be involved and have these CSR activities done more systematically.


4. Any plans for an endearing establishment that will keep the CSR mantra self-generating?

If you mean whether we intend to institutionalise our CSR activities through a foundation or similar structure, the answer would be no. We are not doing CSR to make a name for ourselves or to be recognised or seen; as I’ve always reminded my colleagues and friends, we do so from the heart, whether the year has been good or not. No one in my Group of Companies has been unhappy with this philosophy; they give their time, money, and resources willingly. Come to think of it, this mindset of giving that we have inculcated in SpeedWind Group of Companies and their employees is perhaps the best form of self-sustaining CSR culture….


SpeedWind Distribution Co., Ltd executive chairman, Dalton Wong. Supplied


5. Do you have a corporate philosophy of setting aside a portion of your profits or revenue for CSR?

We don’t particularly set a budget for CSR, I personally believe we do what we can within our means, and not put a number or commitment to spend. But our commitment has been to do so regardless of whether a year has been good for SpeedWind or not, we give whenever there’s a need. Donation or charity drives should be based on demand, and ultimately, it must come from the heart.


6. What brought you to Cambodia and what made you stay?

I came to Cambodia slightly more than 10 years ago, it was a good friend who brought me here and supported my business venture in Cambodia. Someone once told me that if I could survive my first six months in Cambodia, I could likely end up growing my roots here, that I would live here for good. I wasn’t quite sure at that time but I’ve been here for 10 years now, and I have my family here.


7. What would be your message for hesitant or would-be aspirants of CSR?

Cambodia is a very beautiful country with huge growth potential and tremendous opportunities. In general, Cambodians are very friendly and welcoming people. Although it is still an emerging economy and the country’s infrastructure and systems are still developing, the positive developments and changes over the past 10 years have been nothing short of amazing. I believe it will continue to grow to become an international city.


This pandemic has brought a lot of uncertainties and challenges to many, but it is even more of a nightmare for those who have been unfortunate or are in need of help. We should therefore all try to help as much as we possibly can. As an analogy, we can be like a beam of light; no matter how dim or bright the light is, it is hope to those in darkness. Acts of charity or donations don’t have to be big; there is no measure in kindness, be it passing on bottles of water to the police officers who stand at the checkpoints or sending a box of gloves or masks to the hospital nearby.


8. What is your message to university students on the CSR philosophy?

For the students or the future of our economy, always be compassionate, persevere, and be motivated to do the best for yourself and your families, so that in good time, you can also give your best to your community, your people and your country.