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Making Choices – My rights to brag..

I came to understand the word CHOICE better when I first started to read economics. Yes! It is about making decisions to have things from limited supply or sometimes oversupply with the scarce resources you have. Understanding this makes economics a breeze to learn and during college days, passed exams.

Ever since I was a kid, I was always mesmerized with people who can make something or making things happened. Mak is good in a lot of things. She could cook a lot of recipes and is good at tailoring. She made quite a bit raising the family coffers by selling her cookies as well as her sewing skills. She made decisions all the time and was in control of her very own little business.

I grew up always thinking that one day I want to own something and have total control about anything I want to do. But I was lazy in school. In my primary school, everything seems to be so easy. I was always in the top 5 in exams. Getting into secondary school at a boarding school changed me. No more daily supervision of whether I study or not from my parents. I started to become lazy. I just have to pass the term exams and I don’t really care whether I got 100 or 90s as long as I don’t flunk in any of the subjects. I was never near even the top 10. But I have always strategized my moves. Wanting to be in the science stream after my Lower School Certificate (they call it PMR today), I focused on those subjects that will put me there. I really don’t know why I choose to be in the science stream.  I never wanted to become a doctor, engineer or actuaries.  What the heck! I chose to be there and I must do the best I could. I hated maths and chemistry. (But I love it today!)

So yada yada yada, I finished high school, went to college studying a course I never asked for. Half way through, I quit college to start a career. I could work in a bank but I thought I wanted to learn something and groom myself into someone. I chose to work in an audit firm although the salary is nothing to shout about. For good 3 years, my lunch was only egg sandwich which I made myself everyday. I was always first at the office and will be the last one to leave.  There are many instances that I choose to sleep at client’s office then going back to my hotel, when I have outstation assignments.

After 2 years, the partner of the firm entrusted me to become a team leader. I wasn’t a ACCA nor ICMA graduate (now CACA and CIMA) or have a degree in accounting. My team member was and all of them thought I was graduates like them! Never mind, I taught them all the arts of auditing and all of them graduated from my “school” and became excellent auditors and accountants.

While doing auditing, my desire to make something, produce something and own something strengthens.  Owners of companies made tons of money by doing that. After my audit job, I went to sharpen my accounting skills by joining a manufacturing set up. I learnt all the trades from it! Next, I moved to a trading company learning the trades in selling and buying things. I decided to attend night classes to finish my formal education. It was tiring but I don’t really care.  I was in my mid 20s when I joined that company, apparently associated with the famed Mr.  Quek Leng Chan. Surprisingly I was elected part of the company’s management team. This gave me the opportunity to meet the successful little man but with very huge business empire.  This makes me even more determined to make it on my own but I wasn’t ready yet at that time.

I always cherished working in the golden triangle of KL. I like the looks, the offices, the style of executives, and the chic of course. I was offered a sales job with one reputable international Oil and Gas Company but I turn it down. KFC offered me a management trainee job but I did not take it up coz the shift job clashes with my night classes. I then saw a big job classified by a newly set up company right smack in KL city. I applied, went for the first interview and the interviewer said the job was mine. After 1 month, I heard nothing from them. I called the HR and they asked me to come for another interview. I met the interviewer, an accountant and was impressed with me. He said, “The job is yours”. I waited for another month but heard nothing from them.  Then I saw another classified from the same company. I called the HR and told them of the interviews I went through earlier. I asked them that I am interested to become KL branch manager. To my surprise, just one day after the classified, all jobs were actually filled up! Oh I knew no one in the company or have contacts with people who know the people in the company. The HR asked me if I am interested to take up a job in Melaka. My job is to set up the branch office there. I obliged. They finally issued me the appointment letter.  On the day I reported duty, all those who interviewed me suddenly wants me to join them in their department. I was laughing out loud at their faces. They gave me empty promises before, so how in the world will I trust them! Apparently, those people who took up that “job” told me that they were brothers of so and so who knows the then General Manager. OK. Fair enough. I get mine after all. No point bitching about it eh!

For 3 months, as I was busy commuting from KL-Melaka-KL, one fine day, I was called by the company’s corporate planner and he ordered the HR to transfer me as soon as possible to his corporate planning department. He must have like what I did or he did a back ground check on me. Anyway, it was an appropriate move I thought.

Corporate Planning opens up a new dimension to me. I became very capable looking at things from the bird eye view. I have to translate what the owner wants into strategies after analyzing the granular aspects of the business, and then pushed them down the throat to every business systems in the organization and forced them to deliver. A lot of managers call me nuts! I told them the big boss said, “deliver or ship out!”. I like my job!

After 8 good years, I decided to step up. I wanted more challenge. I applied for the investment analysis job with the company. This gives opportunity for me to move about from one country to another. One subsidiary to another. I am going international. I was given a free hand to whip and rip the company’s investments. I redevelop business and proposed closure on lame ducks. But I have never lay off people. I retrain them and transferred them to other departments or subsidiaries.  

In so doing, I decided to pursue my MBA to sharpen my management skills and knowledge. I enrolled into one, but found out that it was too educational. I quit after 1 semester and joined a UK based MBA program. I have to sit for a good 5 hours exam online with UK before they accepted me in. Classes then, were held in KL. A small class comprises the senior managers from conglomerates like Motorola, MAS, Colgate, directors of public listed company etc.  I was the youngest but not the dumbest! This was the toughest test. I am married at that time and with kids. Time was precious. I was living in my suitcases managing many investment prtfolios. I have to manage a family. Help bring up my children. When I am back in town, I have to catch up with studies, assignments and presentations as well as my family. I can only study after my kids went to bed. Sometimes I spent my nights at the office alone until the wee hours of the morning. Tough but I made it through! To repay my family’s sacrifices they made of my time, I decided to take them to NY after my graduation in Amsterdam. The plan was shelved because of the September 11 fiasco! I never attended the postponed graduation ceremony held in Oxford University as I was in the royal kingdom of Cambodia.

All these raise my confidence to pursue my dreams.  The company offered VSS and I gave no second thought taking it although the company disapproves my application. After some plea, I got my wish. 1 day after I left office, a group of owners from a consulting set up offered me a partnership. They wanted to give me 30%. I thought why not. Little that I knew, one of the firm’s partner was using me for his glory. I helped them staged an IPO for our client. I became a choice consultant for MSC status application. We even got customers from overseas. We went from nought to our first million in revenue.  I was short changed. A partner became very greedy with the wealth. Revenue raised from business that was supposed to be distributed equally was not practiced as such. I was frustrated. I quietly left and set up my own consulting firm with my financial analyst. We did ok because of the quality we delivered to customers.

After a while, I got bored doing consulting business. The last straw was when some customers whom we did some massive jobs, conned us. Jobs delivered but there was no money for us. Because of these jobs we have actually stop dong MSC status application which actually our bread winner. The two big jobs became mere whiner.  We became very tired chasing for our dues. I got fed up but found space to heal my frustrations learning holistic healings.

One day, I woke up in the morning; I decided to become a full time holistic therapist.  I got myself certified as a massage therapist as well a cupping therapist. I learn essential oil blending and blended my own therapy oil. I am very happy now. I have a shack of my own (but still rented lah). I make my own decisions. I own a business no one can share and it is cash! Yabadabadoooo…



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