09 February 2019

Chinese New Year is here

Every Chinese New Year, it’s Back to Basics for my family.

We return to our kampung (village).

We gather in a small humble house with no air-conditioning.  

We eat our reunion dinner in the hot and humid kitchen. 

We sleep in the sweltering heat. Amazingly, we manage to fall into slumber.

Chinese New Year is a time to reminisce about our lives, offer thanks for our blessings and pray for good fortune in the coming year.

It’s wonderful to have the family together. 

Enjoying meals together. 

Chit-chatting in the kitchen. 

Sleeping under the same roof.

 Grateful for the rejuvenating moments!

19 January 2019

My Maid's Hard-Earned Money

Photo credit: www.health.com

My part-time maid bought a banana cake at her neighbourhood shop and gave it to me as a token of appreciation. After she has left, I removed the cake from the packaging and was horrified to find mould on the cake although the expiry date was a week away. 

I rang my maid and told her not to buy anything for me in the future and that she should save every penny of her hard-earned money for her young children. 

The cake cost MYR 4.50 only and I thought of just tossing it away. But, my maid said she could exchange it at the shop and would come over to my house the next day to collect the mouldy cake. Unfortunately, I reached home late the next day - around 10 pm at night. My maid said she would come over the following day.  

While watching TV, a thought struck me. I can toss MYR 4.50 away without thinking, but to my maid that amount is hard-earned money. 

At 10.30 pm, I put the mouldy cake in my car and drove more than 3 km to my maid's house. She apologized profusely for troubling me but was extremely delighted to see me. 

As I was driving home, I felt grateful for the wisdom to show my maid that I value her hard-earned money.

27 February 2011

FSTEP MoU Signing Ceremony

FSTEP created history in Malaysia when it successfully arranged an MoU Ceremony between IBBM (Institut Bank Bank Malaysia) and universities in Malaysia. The ceremony was held in Lanai Kijang, Bank Negara Malaysia, and witnessed by

1. Dato' Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Minister of Higher Education
2. Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Governor, Bank Negara Malaysia
3. Tan Sri Azman Hashim, Chairman, IBBM

The MoUs were signed between IBBM and the following universities:
A) Public universities represented by MOHE (Ministry of Higher Education)
B) 12 private universities

1. Curtin University of Sarawak Malaysia
2. HELP University College
3. INTI Laureate International Universities
4. Management & Science University (MSU)
5. Monash University Malaysia
6. Multimedia University
7. Sunway University College
8. Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus
9. Taylor's University
10. The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
11. Universiti Teknologi Petronas
12. Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)

Click to view photo album "FSTEP MoU Signing Ceremony"

Video of the proceedings:

11 September 2010

From HAZEL with love

FSTEP Batch 5 participants in Team Hazel secretly organized a show to surprise me. I did not suspect anything at all until the HAZELians "evicted" me from the lecture room at noon. That was when I sensed they were up to something.
It was the Muslim fasting month so the HAZELians used the lunch break to get their act together. They busied themselves with cutting and pasting art papers and writing their messages of appreciation on images of their hands. I guess they also practised the song "You Raise Me Up" and planned their routine on the stage.

I wonder how they managed to sneak in the long stem roses!!!

When the class started in the morning, I caught the CEO (Chief Entertainment Officer) dozing off in his chair. Later, I found out that he stayed awake the whole night producing a movie for the show. Such incredible sacrifices!

I'm deeply touched by Team Hazel's moving show of appreciation. But, what I find most rewarding is the fact that they apply their soft skills expertly and produce a show with a touch of class!

Their leadership, teamwork, collaboration, creativity and generosity is awesome.

Thank you, Team Hazel. May God bless you with outstanding success in the financial industry. Love you all!

The video footage of the HAZELian show. 
Please wait for page to download YouTube video.

29 August 2010


Click to enlarge image

FSTEP Batch 5 participants are about to embark on their internship in financial institutions.

Team Hazel discussed plans to express their appreciation to the gentleman whom they adore - Mr Lee Khee Joo, Head of FSTEP.

They decided to present a plaque to Mr Lee on the occasion of his birthday to say TO SIR WITH LOVE.

I will always remember how excited they were when the plaque arrived and how proud they felt to present it to Mr Lee.

Mr Lee Khee Joo with Team Hazel

Thank you, my fellow Toastmasters

Click to enlarge image

I facilitated a Toastmasters meeting on 27 July 2010 and was presented with a thank-you card. It was signed by the attendees of the meeting.

It was only when I reached home that I had time to look at the card. And, I was stunned! The messages of thanks and appreciation overwhelmed me. I feel so blessed to be among friends who are so kind and generous with their compliments.

Thank you so much, my dear fellow Toastmasters!

09 May 2010

Young Entrepreneurs

*Fom right: Ivan Ooi and John Lim, winners of the Silver award 
HSBC Young Entrepreneur Awards Malaysian final 2010
I marvel at the awesome duo from UTAR (Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman) - Ivan Ooi and Lim Boon Seong. They won the Silver Award in the HSBC Young Entrepreneur Awards (HSBC YEA) Malaysian final on 06 May 2010. And, they won it against all the odds!

Both are final year undergraduates at UTAR. Both are sitting for their final exam in their Bachelor's degree course.

Of all things, the HSBC YEA Malaysian final is held during the exam period. On top of that, they have less than a month to put their presentation together.

Amazingly, these two young men have crystal clear objectives and directions. They give top priority to their studies, and use the competition as a form of relaxation.

It is their destiny to participate in the HSBC YEA. The Malaysian final is held on a non-exam day. The day before the final is also a non-exam day. So, they strategically use the free day to polish up their presentation.

What strikes me is their passion, intelligence and eloquence. I admire them for their abilities to
1. package their innovative ideas intelligently and systematically.
2. enhance their presentation with interesting images and animation.
3. use their public speaking skills to dramatize, inform and persuade.

I'm sure Ivan and Boon Seong are an inspiration to their generation. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

The awesome duo

Ten Past Presidents Present

* *
From Left: President Ben Fong pose with the 10 past presidents - PP Tan Lay Theng, PP Freddie Yap, PP Lim Kien Chai @ KC Lim, PP James Arokiasamy, PP Katherine Mah, PP Khoo Nee Wern, PP Tony Lim, PP Teresa Choong, PP Kim Chow and PP TL Wuan.

On 20 April 2010, Friendship Toastmasters Club of Kuala Lumpur held its regular meeting. But, it's no ordinary meeting.

Past President Katherine Mah of DHL Regional Office in Singapore was in Kuala Lumpur and decided to visit the club after a long absence.

Past President James Arokiasamy, CEO of a pathology company, took the initiative to ring up the other past presidents and urge them to turn up at the meeting.

Past President Freddie Yap of P&O Insurance followed up by ringing the past presidents to reconfirm their attendance.

Personally, I wasn't sure if many past presidents could present themselves at the meeting. There were too many obstacles for a whole bunch of past presidents to meet at the same place at the same time. Some have to travel, some have to burn the corporate midnight oil, some have moved to faraway offices, etc, etc, etc.

On 20 April 2010, we counted the past presidents in the club. Incredibly, 10 out of 11 past presidents were there! They have decided to put their work aside and meet for old times' sake.

It was a glorious night! Heartwarming occasions do happen unexpectedly.

10 March 2010

Thank you, Mr Blue Waves

En Hanafi from Blue Waves at Jusco Seremban

I went to the Jusco store in Seremban to do some Chinese New Year shopping. The place was crowded and the trolleys disappeared like hot cakes. I managed to grab one. Unfortunately, it was moving sideways instead of going straight.
The security guard at the entrance watched my drama with the trolley. I said to him, "Troli ini cacat." That's Malay for "This trolley is crippled."

I was in a hurry. I picked up the things I wanted, put them in the trolley and struggled over to the cashier's. Only after paying did I begin to wonder how I would get to the carpark.

I was wrestling with the trolley all the way towards the entrance when, lo and behold, I saw the same security guard standing there with a smile on his face. Beside him was a trolley. He said he had found a good trolley for me.
It's incredible! This gentleman knows exactly how to win more customers for Jusco!

His name is En. Hanafi (hope I got his name correct). He hails from the security department of Jusco known as the Blue Waves.

Thank you, sir! See you soon at ... Jusco Seremban!

Mr Blue Waves keeping a sharp lookout for customers in distress!

30 January 2010

To Sir With Love

Chin VS, Leader of Team Bristol, presenting the gift to Mr Lee Khee Joo

It's the final day of the English Communication course. The FSTEP Batch 4 participants in Team Bristol did not spend the day on games or amusement.

Instead, they worked together to complete a meaningful task - writing messages of appreciation and gratitude to Mr Lee Khee Joo, the Head of FSTEP. In their messages they also expressed their appreciation to the specialists and staff, the facilitators and trainers in their own special ways.

Team Bristol's book of appreciation for Mr Lee Khee Joo

Team Bristol with Mr Lee Khee Joo

Team Bristol with Mr Lee Khee Joo