In 2004, acutely aware that he owed his success to this nation's meritocratic ideals, he became a Singapore citizen.
'I am still not regarded as one of them despite my pink IC,' he told me sadly. 'Just because of where I come from, they feel I cannot be good at business.'
The 'sense of superiority' some native Singaporeans had towards him, he said, 'hurt deeply'.
Another China-born new citizen I interviewed shared his feelings. She too worked hard, found love, built a home. In a bid to pay it forward, she is now an office-bearer in her residents' committee and routinely helps out Singaporeans in need.
'When I say I am Singaporean, I am immediately asked where I was born,' she said softly, joking that her accent was a dead giveaway. 'I love Singapore,' she said. 'Will where I was born always matter?'
To better integrate, both sides need to shed pride and prejudice and open their hearts - and homes - to each other.