Dennis Wee, 69, former Chairman and Founder of the Dennis Wee Group (DWG), admits that he is not one to ‘sit still’. In 2017, the father of three handed over the reins of his property business to his son, Denka Wee, and embraced retirement. Daughter Daphne manages Wee Bands, a hair-tie bangle business, while youngest child Denise, is a stay-at-home mother of one.
The sincere and witty Dennis, still has a boyish charm and puts anyone at ease upon first meeting. Perhaps this is the secret of his success.
Yet for all his successes, Dennis struggled in his early years. He started out as an office boy at Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and Parliament House. Yearning to see the world, he talked his way into an unsolicited job interview as an offshore oil surveyor with Western Geophysical, an oil exploration company. The job took him to the Philippines, India and Fiji. But it was not all glitz and glamour — as part of his job onboard the ships, he even had to clean toilets.
After 14 years, recession hit and Dennis was retrenched in 1986. Jobless and by then married to Priska Wee with a six-year-old son to feed, he struggled to find a job. Eventually, Dennis was invited by a friend who was in the real estate business to try his hand at property sales. So, the long-haired hippie in t-shirt and jeans swopped them for dress shirts and pants. He says it was a different clientele, “I had to borrow a pair of trousers from a friend and use my wedding shirt to work”. After about a year, he left his friend’s firm and freelanced for a while before joining ERA, where he had a successful career in property sales. In fact, back in the day, he was one of the first property agents to have a photograph on his business card.
Six years on in 1992, together with his wife Priska, he founded the Dennis Wee Group (DWG). It was hard work, but his dedication, determination and sincerity brought him blooming success. His mantra is “Work hard while you are young. You don’t want to work till you drop dead!”. When he first started the business, he only took the day off on his birthday, Lunar New Year and Christmas. Otherwise, you could always find Dennis at work — rain or shine.
With a network of agents managing real estate sales in Singapore, DWG set sights on the international markets in Japan, United Kingdom and Thailand, and the rest became history.
In 2017, DWG merged with PropNex Realty, leaving Dennis and Priska time to enjoy their golden years of retirement. To Dennis, this was the time for him to continue travelling, and travel he did. Together with his wife, he travelled all over Europe, Amsterdam, Italy, Germany and Switzerland.
The family man also loves spending time with his family. The proud grandfather of two enjoys being with his granddaughters and if they are not visiting him at his home, he is at theirs.
Having struggled in his earlier life, Dennis realised the need to save. He credits his wife Priska, for encouraging him in this aspect. In addition to the importance of savings and wise investments for retirement, taking care of his health is also at the top of the list. Whether it’s brisk walking, jogging, cycling or hitting the gym, Dennis always ensures that he keeps fit.
But Dennis has since stopped this. It was tiring to have to go to the market with Priska to select fresh, prawns and squids that go into the Hokkien Mee. Thus, despite its roaring popularity, he needed a break.
Dennis enjoys cycling and he has cycled all over Singapore, Punggol, Marina Barrage etc. with his friends, although Covid restrictions have restricted some of these.
He is also a car enthusiast and is one who enjoys long drives. As a retirement present, his son Denka gifted him with a luxury car. He feels that driving helps him to fight off dementia.