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.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

You are a CHAMPION with a heart of GOLD!

You are a OUR CHAMPION Datuk Lee Chong Wei!

The whole country felt you, through your eyes, throughout the journey that you've shared with us. Having been in a competitive sports myself, I couldn't help but shed tears watching him fight his way till the end in his last game. He's tired, the whole country was watching him, and he indeed felt the pressure to bring home Malaysia's first ever GOLD. 

He may not have brought home that piece of Gold medal, but his spirit and act were GOLD. 

Please don't cry for you have done more than you can ever possibly do and you have nothing to apologise for. No one will ever know exactly what you feel, but do know that each and everyone of us Malaysians have you to thank for. 

At least if you retire from this, you know that you're retiring at a high - having beaten Lin Dan AND was in the running for a GOLD MEDAL!  You will forever be everybody's CHAMPION!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Remember that question HR/Interviewers like to ask when you are in the midst of applying for a job - "Where do you see yourself in 5 years and what do you see yourself doing?"

I'm exactly at that stage, doing something I like and contented.

You know that feeling when you feel like everything is going your way? Recently I was telling Aiman about how I really love what I do at work and that I'm so thankful I have great teammates. Who you work with and who you surround yourself with are very important especially when it is something that you have to do every single day. Sleep. Work. Repeat.

...And then someone mentions "Man, I really don't like my job". 

Just like that, you feel like the luckiest person to have the best job in the world. Or at least that feeling. May not be completely on point in totality.

It got me thinking: What is it about the job that you don't like? Is it the job, or the people? Really, it is so important to differentiate these two. If it is the people, then why do you continue staying where you are? Why not seek for opportunities with people you may potentially be able to work with? Don't like what you do, then why stay where you are? Don't like the brand, then don't be selfish and stick around.

But never blame a brand because it is not a living thing. People are what represents a brand.

I guess I've been very lucky to have been able to be in situations where I love what I do and it is a big enough reason to make me feel happy and grateful. Why situations is because I have served 8 departments in my 6 years (1 year of Masters) with the firm so far. Some things that I realize would help:

  1. Trust - Be honest in your work and work hard in every single thing that you do. No matter how small the task is. Building trust amongst your colleagues should be the first thing you do. 
  2. Respect - I believe that you need to respect in order to gain it too. Discuss rationally.
  3. Be honest - This is so important as you would not want to end up doing things that are wrong or things that you aren't sure about. Ask if you don't know and express your opinion (in a polite manner) if you have ideas. In the working world, everyone is an adult, everyone (maybe not all) should be able to have mutual respect in everything that they do.
  4. It's OK to make mistakes - How else are you gonna learn otherwise? Better to make a mistake than not to have tried at all. 
  5. Positivity - Make friends with everyone in the firm. It is just a job at the end of the day. It shouldn't be something that kills you nor should it take all your happiness away after work. Do not bring work stress home. If you are not happy, evaluate and speak to your bosses about it, everything is figureout-able remember? And no issue is life's biggest problem. Be grateful for all the good things, it will take you a long way!
  6. Learn to compartmentalize - Do not waste energy on things that may disrupt your work. Divert your focus and attention away from negative vibes at all times. 
  7. Treat everyone equally - Does not mean if you are an executive officer, you are any higher than the tea lady or the drivers or even the security guards. Spend time with them too, go out for lunch with them, play sports with them. You'll be amazed at how inspiring some of them are! I love them all, always giving me smiles everytime I come to office!
These are obviously just some of the factors, but the few that have given me a really good experience :)) Take one day at a time and you'll realize that as much as good times come to an end, down times do come to an end too!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Best F&B Set Up Award at the Young ASEAN Entrepreneurs Award 2016

Last weekend was definitely a weekend that the team wanted to remember forever and ever!

Just a week before, Aiman and I had one of those moments when we realized we had a bit too much on our plate and started reminiscing those days when we were sleeping in on weekends, travelling on our off days and had ample free time to do whatever we wanted to when we're not at work. Today, weekends are like any normal weekdays, and there's clearly no such thing as sleeping early every night. Unless except for when we fall asleep without even realizing it haha!

This is why we should never forget that God hears us, at all times. Great times, down times, ANYTIME! Allah probably heard us and gave us this Best F&B Set Up Award at the Young ASEAN Entrepreneurs Award 2016 to remind us that we are actually doing pretty ok, Subhanallah such a miracle! One phone call and our moods were lifted up sky high! We totally did not see this coming at all!
The past year has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride for us, having two jobs to handle - occasionally having a lot more down times stressful moments at both work and cafe but guys, one thing that definitely kept us going was to stop, reflect and divert all focus on the good that had happened instead of the down times. Knowing that Allah is with you at all times keeps one very sane when running a business. It is so very powerful because you know He would never put you through something that he knows you cannot handle.

At the end of the day it isn't the end of the world, no customer feedback, staff issue nor shutting the freezer switch OFF (remember that time when all my ice cream melted guys????), no struggle should drag you down and demotivate. Take it with a big smile, improve and move on. Everything's figureout-able if you take one step at a time :)

Alhamdulillah for all the ups and downs that have brought us all to where we are today, and definitely for the supportive family, friends, customers and my awesome team who had worked with us for without them, we would not have won the award. This award is not just for us, but for everyone. Here's to more ideas to improve and expand!!

Friday, 5 August 2016

CIMB ASEAN Scholarship Boot Camp

CIMB ASEAN Scholarship is the first ever that was introduced by CIMB Group earlier this year and whoa!! Thousands...yup, THOUSANDS of applications came in from all applicants across Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia. If I could, I would've applied for myself too (now that I've completed my bond you know, haha. Love this company don't I?)!

I was very privileged to have been picked to become one of the Assessors during their 5th round of assessment which was the Bootcamp. We had to interact and understand the applicants' characteristics, identify their strong traits and I am amazed that they are only 18 or 19 or some 20 but they're all so academically intelligent, driven and know what they wanted in life. Some are already in their first years in Cambridge, LSE, Imperial you name it!

What was I doing at 18? Still lost trying to familiarize myself with London city and was forever homesick. Haha, gooood times!

What was great about this ASEAN scholarship was that successful applicants will become both Scholars AND Employees of CIMB, how awesome is that? You go to Uni knowing that you have a company to come back to upon graduating. Reminded me a bit of my Masters days being both a Scholar and Employee of CIMB. Good times too, I would want to go through it again and again if given the chance. Especially loved seeing so many non Malaysian applicants who had made it to the 5th round too, I know for sure they'd make a good additional to our ASEAN offices in the future. 

Made so many new friends, and obviously they made me feel 10 years younger! Totally needed that young driven positive energy vibes :))) Made assessment for me a little tougher since I wanted all of them to proceed to the next round! Hehe!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Ending it with a High

30th June 2016 - Probably one of the best days I've had for a while. Totally exhausted and worn out, yet a very satisfying productive day. The project team have not slept for the past 32 hours and was already running on reserve adrenaline rush. 

We've just signed a deal and announcing to Bursa was the last task of the day. Didn't think an announcement was gonna stress everyone out since we signed at 1.35 and had to finalise the announcement and press release before 2pm (Man bila puasa time  moves slowly. Suddenly now it's zooming towards 2!). We submitted at 2.03pm guys...Phew luckily Bursa was nice to us. 

Only hours later did I realise that hey, today is also my final day of bond with the firm. Did 3 years go by THAT fast? 3 years and 3 different departments later I still am very much in love with my job. God has been so Great to me making it easy for me, giving me teams that I love and can work with. Giving me a smooth landing in KL after coming back from London (though I used to hate being back in KL for the first 4 months, culture shock), I couldn't have asked for more. All the ups and downs that came with it were well worth it!

Indeed He is the Best Planner!