Being born into luxuries is not a choice but people get used to it with time. Privileges like that of a private jet, houses in three continents, round-the-clock security guards and staff to be at your beck-and-call at every instance. One such heiress who was quite fortunate to grow up with these extravagances left everything for love. Yes, daughter of Malaysian tycoon Kay Peng, Angeline Francis Khoo gave up her inheritance and married her long time beau after her rich and famous father disapproved their union.
Peng, Chairman of Malayan United Industries, an investment firm has substantial stakes in renowned lifestyle brand Laura Ashley in the UK. Her father is one of Malaysia’s richest men and, according to Forbes, his net worth is a whopping $300 million.
She moved to England in 2001 for higher education and started spending hours in various departments of Laura Ashley as part of her work experience, it seemed her life was completely planned and she would eventually be part of the business. However, things changed when she fell in love with a man of humble origin. Khoo met Jedidiah Francis while she was doing her Master’s at Oxford in 2008. The Caribbean-born data scientist was then a junior dean at Pembroke College. When eventually, she told her father she wanted to marry Francis, he did not grant them his blessing.
“She knew if she decided to follow her heart she would end up losing any financial inheritance and any contact with her own family. But that did not deter her from marrying her love. “I believed Dad’s stance was wrong, so there was no question about what was right. I’ve been fortunate to have that perspective: you can have money and it’s a blessing; it allows you to do things and gives you options, but there are also things that come with it, such as control,” she told Daily Mail talking about her decision.
She further claimed ditching money and luxuries were actually easy as she never considered it. “Money amplifies negative characteristics and that can cause problems. To walk away from that was actually very easy. I didn’t even consider it.”
The couple tied a knot at a ceremony that had only 30 guests and no one from her side attended the wedding. “The wedding took place at the Pembroke College Chapel was conducted on a shoestring as she thinks they spent about £1,500. Once married, the newlyweds lived in Francis’ college lodgings and she had to take up several jobs in marketing.
But her struggles didn’t end there. Her parents had a long exhausting divorce after her mother, former Miss Malaysia filed a plea saying she was in an ‘abusive marriage’ and cited his “unreasonable behaviour” for the split. After spending bills of £6.1 millions on the case, the settlement was made in a UK court. She was the only child among her four other siblings who was called in the court to testify and that was quite traumatic.
However, after a four-years of a gruelling experience during her parent’s divorce to turn things and add some positivity and colour in her life, she started her own business. Now, a fashion designer, Khoo started ‘Rosie on Fire’ that makes colourful, flirty chiffon kimonos in modern prints. And it’s not just a venture with business in mind. The fashionable garment is made as much as possible “by low-income women in Malaysia who would otherwise have to move away from their children to find work,” the report added. “There is a responsibility that comes with privilege; you have to do things to help other people,” she said explaining the thought behind her business model.