The great fortune of the No. 1 family in old Saigon, gave him 20,000 taels of gold when he married Bao Dai

At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, in Saigon, no one was unaware of the simile: “Nhat Sy, Nhi Phuong, Tam Xuong, Tu Hoa”. Those are the four richest rich men in Saigon in particular and the continent of Cochinchina in general.

Right at the top of the four richest rich men in old Saigon was “Nhat Sy”, ie Mr. Huyen Sy – Le Phat Dat (1841-1900), and also the grandfather of Queen Nam Phuong – the wife of King Bao Dai.

Huyen Sy’s wealth is not only due to luck but also because of his foresight and determination to get rich.

Get rich on land

Mr. Le Phat Dat’s birth name was Le Nhut Sy (so it was later called Huyen Sy) but later went to school because he had the same name as the teacher, so he changed his name like that. He was born into a Catholic family in Cau Kho area (Saigon) but his hometown is Binh Lap, (Tan An, Long An).

He had a poor childhood when he had to work as a ferryman carrying food for the villagers to earn money to support his family. Later, a French priest loved his family, so he adopted him as a godchild, raised him to attend a seminary in Saigon, and then sent him to Penang, Malaysia to study abroad.

Therefore, Mr. Sy was very good at languages, he was fluent in Latin, French, Chinese and Quoc Ngu (at that time it was still very primitive).

Although he came from a family that was not too rich, by the time of Le Phat Dat, he had quickly become the richest man in Saigon thanks to his own ability.

According to the Law of Vietnam newspaper, when Mr. Sy returned from studying abroad, it was also the time when people left their land and scattered everywhere to avoid the French colonialists, so their houses and land were empty. Mr. Sy took the opportunity to use the money he had saved while studying abroad to buy some plots of land with good terrain and hire people to grow rice.

Unexpectedly that year, the rain was favorable, the rice was green, so the crop was bountiful, and Mr. Sy collected a large amount of rice. Realizing the great benefit from investing in rice fields, Mr. Sy immediately borrowed money from friends to buy land throughout Tan An, Duc Hoa, and Duc Hue. Consecutively several bountiful harvests helped Mr. Sy gain a wealth of wealth.

And yet, with a foresight, he saw the trend of expanding Saigon city to the suburbs, so he continued to buy land in Go Vap area to build houses for rent, build factories, and factories for production. export. Anecdotes at that time were rumored, for rent alone, Mr. Huyen Sy had thousands of apartments.

Huge inheritance

According to Vietnamfinance, in the richest period, Huyen Sy’s family owned all the rich land in Go Cong, Long An, Tien Giang extending to the Cambodian border to hire people to cultivate. In the West, Le Phat Dat’s land is likened to “a stork whose wings are not exhausted”.

In the river region, the rich Phu Sy also built a riverside villa like a regional palace. Legend has it that this villa is located on a dragon-shaped land, which makes his fortune even more developed.

Besides, in Saigon, Mr. Huyen Sy’s family also owns many prime plots of land in the center for rent.

A commendable thing about Huyen Sy’s family is that although they are extremely rich, they do not have a lavish lifestyle and spend lavishly.

To remind his children and grandchildren in the family, he hung a couplet in the house: “Need to be thrifty, the ruler is superior. Forbearance and peace, handling the poor”. (Translation: In the family must be hardworking and thrifty. Deal with outsiders must be peaceful and patient).

His children are well educated. Later, they were all great landowners with a lot of land in Tan An, Duc Hoa, Duc Hue and Dong Thap Muoi (now in Long An area).

Huyen Sy’s descendants are extremely prominent in society. For example, the eldest son, Le Phat An, was conferred the title An Dinh Vuong by King Bao Dai. Mr. Le Phat An is the only person who is not a royal prince, but is conferred the title of Vuong.

Or like his granddaughter Huyen Sy – Nguyen Huu Thi Lan (ie Nam Phuong Hoang Hau) has outstanding beauty that made her 3 times awarded the title of Miss Indochina. She is outstanding in both appearance and personality, intelligence and education level.

Huyen Sy’s wealth is said to be many times greater than that of King Bao Dai. Therefore, the new story is that in 1934, on the occasion of marrying his niece Nguyen Huu Thi Lan, ie Nam Phuong Hoang Hau, Mr. Huyen Sy’s family gave his niece a million dong in cash, equivalent to 20,000 taels. dowry gold.

Spend 1/7 of your assets building a church

Today, in Saigon, there are still many works associated with the famous Huyen Sy family in the past. For example, Huyen Sy church at the corner of Ton That Tung – Nguyen Trai street, District 1 welcomes hundreds of people every day to worship and visit.

VnExpress said, in 1900, in the process of preparing to build this church, Mr. Huyen Sy died. Before his death, he made a will to spend 1/7 of his fortune to build a church, enough to show the enthusiasm of the Saigon giants with this project.

After that, the children continued his will and in 1905 the church was inaugurated. The church is 40m long, divided into 4 compartments, 18m wide. Huyen Sy Church uses Bien Hoa granite to cover the fa├žade and main pillars, in Gothic style (architecture).

In 1920, Mr. Huyen Sy’s wife, Mrs. Huynh Thi Tai, died, and their descendants took them to bury them in the gable behind the church’s sanctuary. In particular, the tomb is a masterpiece of architecture and sculpture when on the grave there is a full-body statue of Mr. Huyen Sy resting his head on two intricately sculpted marble pillows.

The statue depicts Mr. Sy, with his head covered with a turban, returning to the church’s sanctuary, wearing a sophisticated brocade dress, hands interlaced in front of his chest, and shoes on his feet.

In addition to Huyen Sy church, the No. 1 family in the old Saigon also had merit in repairing Chi Hoa church. Or later, engineer Le Phat Thanh (son of Huyen Sy) also built the famous Hanh Thong Tay church in Go Vap district today.

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According to Chi Chi

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