Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Personal Statements

Recently someone had asked me how I had done my personal statement when I applied to do my Masters in London. I vaguely remembered I started one of it with something about numbers.

Like..."why is anything divided by zero undefined?". Think about it, you have 10 apples, but you divided it by no one - still got 10 la. No one touched it what. LOL!!!

I totally loved numbers can't for the life of me read long sentences or ever do Law when I was younger so my personal statements to universities were always about numbers. I applied for Masters twice in my life - first one was right after my Undergraduate days and another time was after I had started working.

First-time application: I had applied to a few universities in London (as I was studying in London at that time so it all felt very familiar) whilst at the same time looking out for jobs. At that time, market was rather bleak and the financial industry had just crashed which meant that it was more difficult to get a job in the UK. But heck, I applied nonetheless for jobs in the UK (what was I thinking, so many OxBridge students I had to compete with!), KL and Singapore. After a few months of late-night applications I received my first acceptance letter from King's College London to do Financial Mathematics and was so thrilled!!! And right after that job interviews came in and I received a few offers from a few companies. What do you do at that age right? I wanted to take that KCL offer but at the same time the idea of working sounded pretty cool!

Requested for a deferment from KCL and took one of the job offers in KL (Yup! I'm still here at the first job I had chosen to pick). King's College was nice enough to defer it for 1 year but at the end of the 1 year I had to decide - to continue with the management trainee programme or to take that KCL offer. I stayed back in KL to finish up my training and had to let go of KCL's offer for good.

Second-time application: another year later upon completing my training, I decided to give it another go. Applied to a few universities in London and Melbourne (Only cause Shura's there!). Got rejected by some, got accepted into some but my favourite was Imperial College London! Was shocked and excited at the same time, but I was loving my job at that time (and I have a huge fear of failing which means going back to being a student I would have exams!) which was a difficult decision to make. Spoke to a few people and I decided that I wanted to graduate from Imperial College and get a Masters degree from there - priorities in life haha! Had this unnecessary fear that I might not be as lucky third time round if I don't take this offer now! So much fear ah in my life? :P

But the funniest part was when it came to personal statements. During my first time application I had passionately written about numbers in my personal statement and wrote in there that " dream is to be able to work in a financial institution in the future" and I totally ended up in a financial institution. In my second-time application I had again passionately written about numbers and a little bit about my experience in the financial institution but again I had used that line..."my dream is to be able to work in Corporate Finance when I graduate"....and I did get into Corporate Finance during a restructuring in the firm.


Monday, 9 January 2017

Joined the Marathon

Now that we have closed down Double A to allow for more exciting things to happen (Ok, this so deserves a dedicated post!), Aiman and I suddenly had extra time when the new year started. So as what a normal human being with extra time would usually do- we had a Netflix marathon (did you really think I joined a running Marathon?) and oh my god it FELT SO D*** GOOD!

I guess the both of us have been working two jobs ever since we got married 2 years ago and never had that little extra time to really enjoy the extra time, if you get what I mean. I'm even watching Gilmore Girls back from Season 1! With a lot of visits to the pantry for snacks and coke and vitagen and then super ring and lays. Is this what weekend feels like? Hahaha so jakun!

But...I guess God knew us too well though, first weekend into the new year I had to go back to the office to work. The best part though was because we now have that little extra time, so Aiman waited for me to finish work so we could head for tea time after at a nearby cafe :)

Oh little blessings in life. Alhamdulillah for everything! Imma happy girl :)))))

Friday, 6 January 2017

Around this time

...3 years ago, I was busy stuffing as much as I can into a suitcase, sitting on it and trying to zip it up alltogether because I was physically exhausted! and I wanted so badly to go and have a big breakfast before I had to get on that flight back home to Malaysia, for good. It wasn't an annual leave or a compulsory leave. I was in transitioning from London office to KL's.

Time has definitely flown by so quickly, because that means I've been in my current department for 3 whole years now! Longest department I've served so far in my time in CIMB (minus the short secondment to CEO's office I had in between). Longest I've served before that was about nearly 2 before CIMB sent me to do Masters at Imperial College London.

I must say though I still love my job and find it as exciting as I did when I first joined. Department I am in is always evolving, why? Because we face clients and we get the opportunities to create conversations and do presentations (heck trying to sell a deal!) to C Suites and I still get the jitters sometimes. You know those butterflies in the stomach when you walk into a CEO's office and go "I sooo wnat this deal!!" -  it's crazy adrenaline rush dude! and it's fun! In the midst of all that you get to learn new products rather so often.

Or those deals that take more than a year to complete because it gets complicated as days and months passes by? Sometimes pressing for time which means you need to do a few sit visits in a short period of time and you're required to take odd-hours flights? Tiring, but fulfiling indeed coz depending on which industry you were covering at that time, you'll get to learn something new like when I first stepped foot in a fertilizer plant and nearly puked from the very very VERY strong ammonium nitrate smell.

No doubts there are ups and downs and that's only normal in any job. Nobody's job is easier than anybody else's, but I sure do have an awesome team and colleagues who never let a day passes by without cracking jokes! hashtagawesomecolleagues!

Sometimes it's not about winning the deal, but getting to know people out there - and my job allows me to do that and I'm grateful for that! :)))

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Be Kind Always

Some people feel the rain, others just get wet. Struggles. Appreciate your struggles, it will only make you stronger if you can get through it. Everyone has their own sets of struggles and often or most times, no one else will understand your struggles unless they are in your shoes. 

Case in point: Children who are disobedient to their parents would be the same people who would tell their own kids to be kind to them in the future. Why? Because they now understand that mums weren't lying when they said labour pain is enough for them to earn her kids respect for the rest of her life!

Same goes for different types of struggles. People may look happy, strong and jovial on the outside but we will never know what battles they're fighting within. Being kind would help a great lot for you know not if the people you help would be the people you run to for help in the future. Elderly is by far my greatest weakness today. I cannot see  them begging by the roadside or even see them eating alone - I feel so so sad I can cry! Like where are their children? I cannot even see elderly guards on duty. They should be enjoying some time off doing things at their own sweet time instead of guarding a jewelry shop shouldering a huge responsibility throughout the night whist eating biskut kering to stay awake :' ((((((  I always make an effort to smile and say hi to the guards at my condo and get them pizzas when we order delivery for ourselves. Sometimes I forget that they stay up night and day making rounds and sitting on that chair and escort guests to our unit just to make sure our safety is taken care off. And yet we sometimes forget to smile and say thank you even when we walk pass and sees him sitting there happily drinking his teh ais in that half tied plastic. Bless them for working so hard!!

I cannot even see people stranded by the roadside these days, I'd tell Aiman to stop so that we can help them repair their cars or at least give them a ride to the nearest safe point. Setback is we no longer can freely stop in the middle of the road at night to help, we don't know if it's safe and that stresses me out. Once I saw a dog so lost and hungry, I gave him Aiman's dinner coz I can't stop tearing thinking this dog is really stress and he needs food to have energy to go wherever he needs to go. We made a huge turn to find the dog again after that and fed him. Even dogs have struggles guys :(

One of my resolutions this year is to be kinder and to help anyone I can as much as possible. Kinder to anyone and anything as long as it doesn't cause me problems :))

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Goodbye 2016

Not sure about you guys, but I felt like 2016 was one of the longest years I've had...and yet I've not been able to blog as much as I would like to! Hardest year too I must say.

So many significant things had taken place in 2016 and I'm thankful for all the good, the not so good and the in betweens because I believe that things happen for a reason. Sometimes I think that there are no problems at all to begin with because Allah has decided for you to go through that event on that particular day for a purpose, at that time, and you are supposed to find a solution out of it after which you rely fully on Him! It's amazing that when you accept it all, things feel a lot easier to go through :)

There were big decisions that were made in 2016 that would shape what our 2017 and beyond would be like and I must say that some were really tough decisions to make - but very glad we made it.

This 2017, I vow to be a better person, be kind to others no matter what and to be true to my intentions at all times. It doesn't quite matter what others may think/assume you're doing (it for) but at the end of the day, only God sees the unseen and if your intention was good, then good it is in the eyes of God InsyaAllah.

Happy 2017 everyone! :)

Monday, 24 October 2016

Great Leadership with Long Lasting Impact

I am privileged to have met and always be surrounded by amazing people and during this London trip I was reminded why it was very hard for me to leave this country to go back to Malaysia for good. The amazing colleagues and mentors I had here in London.

One of them was this previous boss of mine. Patrick was the first I had met, right after Masters for an interview for a job at CIMB London - he was heading the London Securities office at that time. Scored a job, he became that very trusting and dedicated Boss who allowed me to start relationships with Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Funds in London and he'll back me up at initial meetings. Today, he is more than just that and is an amazing friend to both Aiman and I who never fails to make time for us to check up and offer wise advice to us. I have major respect and love for this amazing ex Boss of mine! I think being able to have that huge respect for your Boss speaks volume of what kind of Boss he is. 

We made time to meet (he even postponed his meeting to the next day and spent the entire afternoon with Aiman and I) and spoke about global mega trends and real hard changes that are coming our way sooner than we think and I agree that not many will be ready for it, but we will adapt InsyaAllah.

Maybank London, you are no doubt in good hands with Patrick leading the team. In fact Malaysia is lucky to have had him in both Banks 😊 Nope, he is not Malaysian Chinese. He's Korean. And he insisted I take a picture with the famous tiger. 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Awesome Colleagues

I walked into our London office and the lively vibe just made me feel right at home! I mean I've left this place for almost 3 years now and the receptionist still remembers me as this girl who would come into office very happy in the morning. I guess it showed that I loved my job then whilst I was here. 

Went into the trading floor and some of them were still there from my time previously, but there were also new friendly faces and a new head leading the Trading desk out here in London. Man, I'VE MISSED THEM! What did I do to deserve all these, God is too great!

Mickey and Sophia introduced me to their new colleagues before we all headed out for lunch. Yup, they all cleared their schedule so that we could catch up! 

These are half of the team I used to work with in our London office who always had my back at any one time (always made sure I had halal food too!) and they're one of the reasons I looked forward to going to work at 6am every morning. You spend a good amount of time with them and you'll just know that they'll make good company for the rest of your life! Of course I'm remembered as this only Malaysian girl working in a Malaysian bank, always in her own world singing to Disney songs on the trading floor during trading hours whilst everyone is busy screaming.

I used to remember the times when we took clients out for drinks and they'd make sure I have orange juice and fish and chips and funnily enough one time, when the team went through the bill the next day it was a whole long list of alcohol before it came to 5 Orange Juices and since then they'd make a joke that I looked kinda hungover from too much orange juice. 


Monday, 17 October 2016

London Familiarity

Image result for tower london bridge
Recently we decided to take advantage of the Matta Fair and chose to fly to London. 

Why London many had asked?

There is something so familiar about it that is so special to me personally. Having studied in this busy city for both my Undergraduate and Masters degrees and later on continued to work here made it felt like home away from home. The familiarity of the alleys, the ability to walk without fear across its busy streets, the familiar friendly faces, the familiar rush on the 
tube, everything. 

In fact there was one night when Aiman and I had decided to walk all the way from Holborn to Marble Arch and then hopped onto a bus back to Knightsbridge where we stayed when suddenly I felt stress. I told Aiman, the city feels too familiar that I felt stress for walking out late at night because my body felt like I had assignments to complete and work the next day. Completely forgot that I was on holiday right there (Read: Mandatory leave)! I used to be in bed by 10pm last time (if I wasn't out with clients).

Oh London, you feel all too familiar I could stay here forever and ever!

Monday, 10 October 2016

That Blog Name

I often get asked how my blog name ever got so long?

To be honest, it was that one time in Uni when I was bored and was tired of studying so I thought hey why not start a blog. But then I had no name (till today I struggle to give Project names to all the deals I do at work!). When I looked around on my table for inspiration, all I saw were books and books to study and assignments to complete. Clearly this was one of the things that made me want to start writing somewhere else.

My degree.

Economics, Mathematics and Statistics.

EconoMathemathStistician. Get it? :D

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Sad Fact Is

So today, this line was used at me which I thought was far too harsh: "Takpe lah you tolong perkaya kan orang yang sudah kaya...oops sorry sorry" because I bought some duck scarves. 

Just reading that it's clear that the person was NOT sorry, having said it all in one line. I was shocked! Beyond shocked in fact. I replied stating that we should be happy for entrepreneurs that are doing well. Whether they get rich because we as customers chose to buy their product is nobody else's business. It's a willing seller willing buyer scenario we are in. 

Reply I got? "I am happy for Malay entrepreneurs when they work hard but I am not happy with salaried people chasing hard after ducks...after buying too many ducks, it will eventually be as expensive as the handbags"

So it's ok to buy expensive handbags but not too many duck scarves? Mathematically, I am still trying to understand this statement. Or how then do we encourage younger generations to be motivated and inspired to do better and earn higher in the work force if we don't set a target in life ie. what would you like to at least achieve in x number of years?

I felt it was not only an unfair statement to all salaried people (again we worked hard to get our salaries) but to also my friend who had worked so very hard to build this brand to what it is today.
  • My question is, did dUCk ever forced their customers to buy their products? No. Customers have a choice.
  • Did this person have the right to speak on behalf of everyone who had also worked so hard to earn their salary? No, at least I don't think so. Everyone has a right to manage their own financials.
  • So if salaried people like the brand and product, dUCk is to be blamed for existing? No. Again, duck never forced their customers to purchase anything.

There's a fine line between giving advice and being blatantly shallow and rude. So in the 6 years that I've worked in a Bank, I'm not allowed to purchase something that I like? So why work then, because at the end of the day, you would use that money to buy something that if bought in big quantity (no matter how minimal the cost is) would deplete your money. Not that I asked them for money either to satisfy my wants and needs. It is mind baffling to witness someone able to say such a thing when nobody had done anything wrong to you.

My point is, question about rezeki is no one's place to ask, nor should we compare our lives with other people. That would be the start of a problem that never existed. Some people may afford it some may not but we believe that Allah SWT has allocated what is there for us fairly in this temporary world we are in. Always work hard to strive for the best! And learn to be happy for someone else's successes too (being salaried is a good sign that we should be grateful for too). 

How would you know if that person that looks rich doesn't have their own struggle too? We don't know so let's not be too quick to judge. The world would be a much happier place that way. Don't you worry, I do wear non duck scarves too guys, I know my limit :))

Friday, 7 October 2016

Hibiscus Leaves

Yup, those hibiscus leaves are believed to be able to soothe down fever and help one get better - or so I was told. So Mika has been getting on and off fever the past week, and finally two nights ago he vomited out all his medication, refused to even hold down anything from water to food to his cute animal biscuits. 

It's true what they say - Grandparents would spoil and do anything for their grandchildren, thank god for them! Definitely God sent/heaven sent. 

So mama and papa actually went out on a little adventurous walk by the roadside to look for Hibiscus. Couldn't find so they decided to walk further up nearer those residential area in Subang. Nope, none too. So Papa suggested "Maybe we should go to the area near the school, because it's a national flower". Off they drove off to a school nearby. NOPE. None either. 

By now, it was already dark, and they probably would look like crazy trespassers trying to get hold of our national flower. Haha I love you Mama and Papa!! *makes me smile so wide everytime I think about it* In the end, Mama found it the next day, by some roadside, which she funnily parked her car, went down and plucked those leaves with her shades on. I'm sure you guys would think that is cute instead of crazy right? That's crazy LOVE right there for her cucu, may Allah SWT continue to bless my parents for being so awesome!

My next question is, is it that hard to find Hibiscus flowers in Malaysia? If so, how can the next generation learn more about this beautiful Hibiscus that previous generations speak about? Sooooo.....where is best for me to go find hibiscus huys?  

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Stressful Business Partners

Oh my goodness, our house is so messy! We've got a pile of laundry undone. 2 pitches to do. A thousand and one emails to reply (sorrry we'll reply soooon!) and we NEED sleep. Ok, maybe not Aiman, he falls asleep even whilst doing work.

So the other day, we had an urgent deadline the next day, but so much more to do the night before. I looked at the couch and Aiman had peacefully gone to sleep, and obviously that stressed me out because he said that he would do the task first thing when we get home, finish up and then only we head to bed (no matter how late that is). Woke him up (he got angry in the process, but I'm used to it), dragged him to the work table, started talking to him and by the time I looked at the laptop, he was already sleeping sitting down facing the laptop.


Today, we laugh about it because it did look very silly and stressful at the same time and I don't want to go through it again! I'm the kind of person who does not like to do things last minutes eg we get invited to do a pitch, I would have started working on it 3 weeks before. Aiman? 3 days before.

We breathe down each others' necks all the time. Yet, we wouldn't trade each other for anybody else :)

Monday, 3 October 2016

Double A Cafe KL - Durian for the WIN!

I'm no fan of Durian (yeah, I should be I knowwwww *cries*)

I don't hate it, but I don't extremely love it either. Hehe... :)

Recently we had introduced BAR TAKEOVER at Double A and the first takeover we had was done by The Skinny Bakers. Man! You should really get their cookies, they're soooooooo gooooooood! A bottle is never enough! (you can of course grab them at Double A too)

What's a Bar Takeover? A partnership between Double A and another homegrown brand who would take over Double A's bar and treat it like their own. So we prepare that platform for them to offer their products to our customers.

What did The Skinny Bakers bring?


It was a crazy hit amongst the customers!! I should really start loving Durian or I'll miss out on this. 

The Skinny Bakers Bar Takeover will take place every Saturday in October at Double A from 12pm-10pm. 

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Why is this a norm?

Eversince having cafe of my own, I had realised one thing.

Workers in a F&B are most of the time treated very lowly, if there is such a word. Especially so by working class people. And even when servers treat them with the greatest level of politeness.

Why do customers feel that they have the right to speak to waiters/waitresses/servers in such a manner? I fail to understand no matter how hard I try. Is it because customers think that since they pay, they are allowed to speak to servers in any way they feel like? Is it because customers think they're much more atas since they are higher paid working class out there? Is it because customers assume the workers did not graduate with an out-of-this-world degree like engineering/accounting/medicine?

But these servers are humans too. Just like any of the customers. No?

I go to the cafe everyday after work, clad in work clothes...and I get customers (who know of me) coming up to me and saying hi. So one day I tried. I tried going to the cafe in normal clothes and stood straight behind the cashier. What do I get?

A group of customers came in and sat down straight away.

I thought to myself, ok maybe they've never been here before so let me go and explain to them that they are required to place orders at the cashier, make payments and we will send orders to them. As I approached a group of girls (by this time they've open up their laptops so I know they are working people. Some were in work clothes anyway).

Hi there, how are you? *Very big cheerful smile* Over here, we take orders at the front and will send over the food to the table afterwards. Would you like to see the menu?

*glared at me* Erm, we've made reservations under XYZ (XYZ has not arrived at this time but I had taken down this reservation earlier in the day. But why did you not tell me when you entered the shop?)

Oh ya! It's for 6 pax under XYZ, yup. We've actually reserved tables for you but it's this one (points at a table reserved for them because there were a lot of reservations that night)...

...why? Tonight got event is it? What event?? (With a frustrated tone and without even looking at me)

Oh yeah yeah, we're having a different menu for kitchen takeover tonight. It's just an initiative that we are doing, but don't worry we've reserved your tables.

How come we don't know?

By this time I was annoyed. I was talking to her so nicely, yet she was raising her voice because she didn't know there were a lot of reservations that night. And she spoke to me without even looking at me, but instead continued to do something o the laptop.

Main point was, she found out I was one of the owners before she left and whoaaaa I got treated like a queen!

What was that?! Are you saying my staff will be treated very lowly otherwise?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Once I had witnessed a customer (in work clothes and tie all suited up) speak rudely to my staff about his cup of coffee that I just had to stop him and asked if he had any problems.

His answer was classic..."Yeah la, your coffee doesn't taste like McDonald's coffee"

I nearly fell into the drain nearby from laughing too hard. You entertain me sir :P

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I came to work feeling a little knackered after a busy weekend at the cafe, and the one statement a working person made to me was "Eh easy only righttttt cleaning cafe. How come you so tired from just cleaning the kitchen?"

Very easy, why don't you help me tonight so that I can close the shop faster and I'll get to sleep earlier. Don't bother changing, just come along in your ferragamos and clean the toilet for a start. Those ferragamos are just shoes anyway, you can always afford another.

I looked at her and said "People like you are exactly the customers I don't look forward to at my shop". Sometimes I feel mean saying all these, but sometimes I also think people deserve it.

I've met so many working corporate people who thinks the level of difficulty of working in a F&B business will never beat their corporate job. A server may not have academic qualification as high as you, may not even have fluent english like those working in a corporate job, one may need time to understand your (complicated) orders but I'm sure everyone can find it in them to explain it clearly and look into the eyes of the person serving you when you speak to them.

Never ever treat another human being less than yourself. Treat them like how you want to be treated (like a Queen and King I'm sure). Treat them with respect. Always.

Please guys, do not treat any other person less than you, especially when they have done no wrong to you. Put yourself in their shoes, I'm sure at your own job you wouldn't want client to treat you any lesser too. Be that happy person who makes the world a greater place with a big smile :)))))

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Managing Staff

I love my team at Double A because they're one of the many reasons Double A is where it is today. Their motivation and creativity sometimes are just so out of this world, you feel so proud they are a part of you in building the brand. But of course reality check, not all are the same and some are obviously just there for the sake of getting a pay to pay for their expenses. We've always wanted to build a family in Double A, empower people and allow them to run it like their own as well, so Managing staff is often our biggest challenge thus far.

We've had those who stepped all over your head before running back to you to ask for help. We've had staff who cheated. We've had staff with discipline problems. We've had some bad apples who did not have any chemistry with the rest of the team.

The problem is, when your start up is small, one little negative vibe will spread so quickly that it does not become so enjoyable for some.

Recently, we had to terminate a staff after multiple warnings. So he has not been coming in, nor has he been providing legit reasons for not turning up. How do you tell someone to leave without him feeling like we've destroyed his future when it was his own fault to begin with? We tried, we gave second third fourth tenth chances, but there is always a limit to everything. I've learn that if something doesn't work, you find a solution for it, execute and move on. In the process, explain to him what he did wrong and how this was not a good trait to be carrying not only at your work place but in any work places for that matter.

It's a business you're talking about and if it is affecting your day to day operations, then you don't need to feel kesian for the individual. Bigger picture is, the problem is solved, people are happier, mood is lifted back up and there are many other opportunities out there for that person who was let go. Being an Entrepreneur means you need to be very firm with your decisions because otherwise a lot of time will be unnecessarily wasted.