Fostering Unity Through Cultural Activities

A cute pink lion visited the Cultural Street today. Pic courtesy of JB Heritage Walk Committee

Cheers and delightful awes filled Jalan Tan Hiok Nee aka JB Heritage Walk aka Cultural Street in Johor Bahru today as this cute pink lion appeared.

After 30 minutes of strutting and prancing to music from a YouTube channel, the two performers of the lion dance were revealed to be Millie Kek, 56, who manipulated the paper-mache head of the lion, and Rafeah Hussein, 37, who acted as its hind legs.

Millie Kek (left) and Rafeah Hussein. Pic courtesy of JB Heritage Walk Committee

Kek and Rafeah had known each other for nearly 20 years, and when Kek invited Rafeah to try out as her sidekick for the event on Saturday, Rafeah gladly agreed.

“My partner, who is a 70-year-old auntie, had something on this Saturday so I asked Fifi (as Rafeah is affectionately known) to help me out,” said Kek, who started practising for the dance only three months ago.

“We can’t do the difficult moves such as leaping from pole to pole.  Ours is just a simple routine,” she said.

Kek, who was formerly an auditor, left her job in 1993 to venture into the insurance industry.  She is a cultural enthusiasts, and has formed a group called Sitomi comprising of like-minded women.

“Sitomi is also staging several plays at the Cultural Street. One of them is about a Hainanese matriarch who is trying to get along with a Teochew daughter-in-law. The two main characters are facing difficulties due to the communication barrier. It’s not only generation gap issues but also the dialect disparity,’ she said.

Cheers and awes of delight from the crowd. Pic courtesy of JB Heritage Walk Committee

“Cultural differences should bring people together, not pry them apart.  I find time to come to Jalan Tan Hiok Nee every Saturday as all the activities here are a cultural celebration,” Kek added.

Meanwhile, Rafeah, who works as a clerk, said she was nervous throughout the performance as she had only practiced three times before the live event.

“The most difficult part of being the hind legs of the lion was that I had to keep my back bent throughout the thirty-minute-long performance,” she said.

Rafeah said she enjoyed visiting her friends’ home and eating the cookies during the Chinese New Year.

Red packets featuring the Rabbit to usher in the Water Rabbit in 2023. Pictures courtesy of JB Heritage Walk Committee

JB Heritage Walk committee outgoing chairman Jacky Lim said the Cultural Street is always abuzz with activities on weekends, since its official launch in 2009.

“Sometimes events would start as early as 7am on a Saturday. The last activity will end at 4pm. There are also events on Sundays, but most of the events are on Saturdays.

“We will invite calligraphers, artists, musicians, dancers and other performers to showcase their talents here. Making the Heritage Walk a success is a concerted effort. It is the pride of the Chinese community in Johor and a cultural celebration for all,” Lim said.

Age Is Just A Number

In 2020, when the Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented in Malaysia, some had experienced depression and anxiety when they lost their jobs or when their businesses failed.

However, not everything was doom and gloom as it was in June 2020 that Goh Siew Mei launched her Auntie Boleh Facebook page.

Goh Siew Mei aka Auntie Boleh

To date, Auntie Boleh has conducted 137 Facebook Live interviews with people from all walks of life ranging from politicians to food hawkers, fishermen, artists and musicians, among others, in Johor. The interviews are in Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mandarin.

The vibrant 63-year-old, who always dons a hat during her interviews — she currently has more than 50 hats — decided to start the Facebook page because she loved sharing stories, having started out as a citizen journalist when she was younger.  Another reason for starting the page was because she wanted to build her legacy.

“My dear friend, Fung Lee Jean had helped me a lot, especially in setting the direction for me. We also came up with the name Auntie Boleh together as we wanted a local character whom most Malaysians could relate to.”

“True enough people do invite me to their restaurants for food reviews or to their events because they wanted an Auntie’s perspective, instead of having only the presence of pretty young influencers,” said Goh.

Goh said that her interviews or meet-ups with politicians like Tony Pua, Yeo Bee Yin, Hannah Yeoh, Teo Nie Ching and Liaw Cai Tung, among others had garnered to as many as 30,000 views.

“I was surprised but I don’t really care about the number of views.  I’m doing this for fun and it’s not for monetary gains.  Sometimes people asked me whether I have a crew to film and edit my videos.  I said how could I possibly afford to hire a crew when I don’t charge for my work.  I do everything myself — from shooting the video to editing and designing the video cover using Canva,” she said.

Asked if she ever felt fearful or anxious before each interview, Goh said that at the beginning she was.

“I left school after sitting for the Malaysian Certificate of Education (MCE) and I have worked as an admin executive until my retirement. After my retirement, I became bored and depressed.  So I joined the Johor Baru Happy and Joyous Club where I took part in activities like clowning and laughter yoga, and all these have helped me build my self-esteem and self-confidence.

“I easily overcame my fears, especially when I meet up with politicians and celebrities. Of course I need to prepare the questions in advance.

“My Auntie Boleh moniker has also helped me widen my network. I started learning the “guzheng” (a Chinese plucked instrument) after my meet-up with Lam Zipeng,” she said.

Lam Zipeng has a Bachelor’s degree in Arts (Guzheng, Ruan) from the China Conservatory of Music. Here is a video of her meet-up with Lam

Goh added that she has always liked music and could play the electronic organ as well as the 24-festive drum. 

Here is another video of her meet-up with a fisherman in Kg Pendas, Gelang Patah.

“I believe consistency is the recipe for success.  Since 2020, I have yet to miss a single meet-up which I usually set on a Saturday.  There was one occasion where the person had to re-schedule the interview to a Friday.

“I believe age is just a number.  One does not have to be bogged down by grey hair  — it can always be dyed or you can wear a hat!  As long as you have good health and a growth mindset, one can explore and experience all that life has to offer,” she said.

Auntie Boleh can be reached at her Facebook page here. She is also on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram.

A Self-Taught Fashionista

At the tender age of eight when most children would be doing their homework or heading to the playground after school, Lim Bee Lian would be busy helping out her father at his sundry shop.

When she was in her teens, she decided to embark on a career in the fashion industry as she loved the aesthetics of beauty and style.  But her late father had regarded her idea with scorn.

“People use soy sauce to cook meals daily.  People don’t buy clothes everyday,” her father had said to her.

After completing her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations, Lim found work in several fashion houses where she became a self-taught fashionista.  Her story bears testimony to the fact that true grit and hard work — and not necessarily gender and academic achievement — are the ingredients for success.

Today, Lim, at the age of 36, is the owner of Mona Boutique House in Taman Sutera Utama in Johor Baru.  Her initial capital outlay for the Mona Boutique, which she started 11 years ago, had been RM200,000.

“The biggest challenge of this business is sourcing for fashionwear that will suit the different body shapes of women age from 25 to 70.  In the beginning I had to travel overseas to look for the right designs, but now I just order them online after selecting the designs and receiving the textile samples.

“I am very particular about the designs, and the designers I collaborate with are from Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong who have set up factories in China.  Even though my fashionwear come with a high price tag, they are durable and I have regular as well as new customers who value the fashion advice and service that my staff and I are able to provide.

“I normally order only one size, one colour for each design to create exclusivity, unless many customers request for that particular design” she said.

Lim Bee Lian, a self-taught fashionista
Lim Bee Lian, a self-taught fashionista

Mona House is open until Chinese New Year eve as some of her customers only receive their year-end bonus on the eve, so they could only come at that time.

However, success does come with a price.

Lim has to undergo Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injections whenever she has excruciating pain in her ankle.  PRP treatments are normally sought after by athletes.

“In my line of work I have to be on my feet most of the time.  I can’t be sitting down while my customers are standing.  Over the years many of my customers have become my friends,” she said, adding that to date she has been in the fashion industry for 14 years.

Lim said that at one time, she also had to lodge a police report when a scammer allegedly accepted payment from a customer, which lead the customer to see Lim as an accomplice as the customer did not receive the items which she had already paid for.

“And sometimes when I do live streams on Facebook, I will receive sales as well as lewd video clips.  It’s quite scary as I’ve put myself out there because of my business but at the same time I don’t know what kind of wierdos are stalking me,” said the mother of two.

Lim said her husband had been very supportive of her business, which had survived Covid-19.

For anyone who would like to venture into the fashion business, Lim’s advice to them would be to learn everything they can about fashion such as colour combinations, how to match accessories to an outfit, and the different types of fabrics and cuts in clothing that would complement different body shapes, among others.

“And having management skills is very important for any kind of business.  Time and financial management are crucial to achieve work-life balance and success in life.

“If my father had been alive today, I believe he would be proud of me,” said Lim. Lim, who was born in Selangor, was the fourth child among six siblings. The family had moved to Taman Tun Aminah, Johor Baru when Lim was still a child. Lim’s mother, 59, is also a fan of Mona House Boutique and visits the shop regularly.

MONA HOUSE BOUTIQUE

3, JALAN SUTERA TANJUNG 8/3

TAMAN SUTERA UTAMA

81300 SKUDAI, JOHOR BAHRU

Connecting people with nature

Feeding wild monkeys is not a good deed. The intention may be good but certain food can cause gastrointestinal problems for monkeys. Even the high sugar content of bananas could cause primates to develop diabetes.

So, if you want to be kind to monkeys, don’t feed them and don’t leave food in open spaces. Don’t pat them. They’re wild creatures, no matter how cute they look. Physical contact may lead to aggression.

Make your waste bins “monkey proof”, and keep your windows and doors shut.

Dusky leaf monkeys in Malaysia face extinction due to habitat fragmentation which leads to roadkill, close interaction with humans and the wildlife pet trade.

Dr Yap Jo Leen, Head of Langur Project Penang (LPP)

These were some of the points highlighted by Wildlife Researcher and Environmental Educator, Dr Yap Jo Leen in a talk titled “Let’s Bridge to CoExist: The Story of the Dusky Leaf Monkey” at the Bursa Knowledge Centre in Kuala Lumpur recently.

Jo Leen, a certified Malaysian Regional Nature Guide, is the first Malaysian recipient of the Environmental Educator 30 award from the North American Association for Environmental Education in 2018.

She won the award via the Langur Project Penang (LPP) which studies the ecology and behaviour of the dusky leaf monkeys, an endangered species under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

Jo Leen’s team has successfully installed Malaysia’s first canopy bridge to facilitate safer wildlife crossing in Teluk Bahang, Penang.

Read about the canopy bridge and her labour of love for the langurs HERE.

Jo Leen will be among the 7,280 graduates set to receive their respective degrees during Universiti Sains Malaysia’s 60th convocation ceremony which begins Saturday (Dec 3,2022). She holds a BSc in Biology from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand and a PhD in Zoology from USM.

Congratulations Dr Yap Jo Leen!

Tradeview Capital Launches SRI-qualified Sustainability Fund

Neoh Jia Man
Tradeview Capital portfolio manager Neoh Jia Man

Tradeview Capital Sdn Bhd, a boutique fund management company based in Kuchai Lama, Kuala Lumpur, has launched its maiden flagship fund.

Called the Tradeview Sustainability Fund (TSF), the wholesale equity fund is designed for sophisticated investors where the initial minimum investment is RM50,000.

TSF is qualified as a Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI) fund under the guidelines issued by the Securities Commission (SC).

Interested to find out more, please click the link

https://www.nst.com.my/business/2022/11/855988/tradeview-capital-launches-maiden-fla

Sceptical About Stock Market Investment?

Are you sceptical about stock market investment? Should one rely solely on a robo-advisory wealth management platform or personally invest in the stock market to grow one’s wealth?  If you believe in integrity, would you invest in a company that display a lack of ethics?

Read what Timothy Teoh has to say about investing in the stock market in  True Meaning Of Investing which appeared in the New Straits Times on Sept 15, 2021.

This was my first article for the NST-Tradeview collaboration, which featured Timothy, a Malaysian tech whiz who had started his career as the technical director and initial web developer of Nuffnang, which was founded in 2007.

Sceptical About Stock Market Investment? Timothy Teoh

Since Sept 15 till to date, I have interviewed a total of 20 personalities.  In this post, I’m recalling the stories of Timothy, Muzahid and Adam.

“It’s normal to have profit and loss, ups and downs – as everything carry a certain degree of risk. It’s part of life. It’s important to understand why you’re investing in the first place and what kind of core values resonate with you. For example, if you believe in integrity, would you invest in a company that display a lack of ethics? I take these principles and embed it into my life and business endeavour,” said Muzahid Shah Abdul Rahman, the chief executive officer of a digital transformation company called SteerQuest Sdn Bhd.

His story A Corporate High-Flyer Turned Entrepreneur Believes In Malaysia’s Economic Potential appeared on Sept 22, 2021.

Sceptical About Stock Market Investment? Muzahid Shah Abdul Rahman

After Muzahid, the third story Treat Stocks Like Business focused on small business owner Adam Yeap.

With his annual sales of RM2.5 million dwindling to zero due to the Movement Control Order restrictions, Adam Yeap was glad he had invested some money in the stock market as it was generating some passive income.

Adam grew up in a household that did not have much faith in the stock market. His relatives and friends previously had bad experiences with investing in shares.

“Hearing all the negative stories about the stock market made me sceptical, too. I tried investing in the US stock market in small quantities but I was not an avid retail investor back then. I always believed that my own business ventures would deliver the best return on investment,” he said.

However, the pandemic reshaped his perspective. Apart from business, one should have passive investments too.

Sceptical About Stock Market Investment? Adam Yeap

Latest stats reveal that there are 801 companies listed on the Malaysian stock exchange, the Bursa Malaysia. Of these, 305 stocks are Shariah Compliant.

Stock investment lets common investors participate in the financial achievements of the companies, make profits through capital gains, and earn money through dividends—although losses are also possible.

Thai Massage To Rejuvenate And Recharge Mind And Body

Looking for a place to recharge and rejuvenate the mind and body?  Perhaps you’re craving for a traditional Siamese Thai massage?

 

Thai massage to rejuvenate and recharge mind and body Thai massage to rejuvenate and recharge mind and body

 

The health and wellness centres in Malaysia which have gone into “hibernation” since the national lockdown in March 2020, will be re-opening its doors for business come Oct 1.

 

Founder and director of Noi Siamese Traditional Massage Sdn Bhd, Tan Aun Gim says only local masseuses who have been trained by qualified Thai trainers will be serving customers at its outlet in Midlands Park (1-Stop) Centre in Penang.

 

The masseuses have certification from a reflexology/massage training school approved by the Ministry of Education in Thailand.

 

The services range from reflexology to full body oil massage, traditional whole body massage and ear candling, among others. The price range is from RM25 to RM97.50. Senior citizens age 60 and above will get to enjoy a 10 per cent discount for all the services.

 

Noi first started operations on Christmas Day in 2015 comprising of local and Thai masseuses.  But all the foreign masseuses returned home during the first Movement Control Order.

 

The masseuses will be using techniques such as energy line work, pressing, stretching, among others, to rejuvenate, revitalise and recharge the mind and body of the customers.

 

Thai Massage To Rejuvenate And Recharge Mind And Body

Thai Massage To Rejuvenate And Recharge Mind And Body

 

Opening hours: 10.30am to 7pm (daily)

 

Address: 488G-43, One Stop Midlands Park Centre, Jalan Burma, 10350 George Town, Penang.

 

For more information, you may also check out their FB

 

Watch The Squid Game, If You Haven’t Yet

 

Investing is a personal thing, just like seeking a religious path.  There are various schools of thoughts.  You just need to pick the one that is best suited for you.  At the end of the day, we just want to have enough money to do the things that we like and want to do.

 

Work when we want to, not when we have to.

 

Recently, I attended this webinar where the speaker was telling people to buy a stock when the price has achieved a “new high” in the market.  This was different from what I would do, as I would look out for stocks which are “dirt cheap”.

 

But it was interesting.  Both ways are right.  When you buy at “dirt cheap”, you need to wait a long time for the stock price to rebound.  When you buy after the rebound, as the price is rising, then you don’t need to wait that long.  So it depends on whether the investor has the patience to wait or not.

 

Investing can be boring at times, but it’s a safer bet.  If you want fun, go to Genting.  Or you can play   Squid Game, if you have the guts!  Just kidding.  I just started watching this Korean drama last night.  It only has 9 episodes but it’s really good.

 

Watch The Squid Game, If You Haven't Yet
The Squid Game

 

 

Among the cast are Lee Jung-jae (whom I first saw in New World) and Gong Yoo, who is my favourite.

 

Money makes the world go round, but please don’t lose your humanity for it.

First Collaboration As A Columnist

This is my first collaboration as a columnist with The New Straits Times, and Tradeview, the author of Once Upon A Time In Bursa.

 

Together we will be churning out weekly stories featuring retail investors who will talk about their investment journey, personal finance, portfolio diversification, among others.

 

Money and finance have always been my favourite subjects.  “Money no enough” (钱不够用) is a popular Singaporean film which came out in 1998, followed by a sequel in 2008.  The movie resonated with a lot of people.

 

Moreover, my name is Meijin (美金), so I guess money or finance should be my niche.  Meijin means US Dollar.

 

I was a journalist with The New Straits Times from Oct 1999 to Aug 2017.  I then joined Forest City – Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd in Sept 2017, and left the corporate world in Nov 2019.

 

From NST to Forest City … from journalist to columnist.  I like the way my life is unfolding.

 

Most importantly, I hope you all will like this collaboration.

 

Since 2019, I’ve been trying out content creation, affiliate marketing, e-commerce and I write every once in a while.  There are endless things to learn, and learning keeps you young or at least makes you feel young.  So one should never stop learning and investing in oneself.

 

Back to the collaboration with NST and Tradeview, let’s get to know  Timothy Teoh a little better.  He’s a software architect at REA Group Asia and a tech whizz who co-founded KitaJagaKita, PulangMengundi and also the former Chief Technology Officer of Nuffnang.

 

 

Timothy Teoh, the tech whizz
Timothy Teoh, the tech whizz

 

 

Investing
Picture Byline — feels like coming back home again

 

This is the first collab, and hopefully it won’t be the last.  Anyone out there in Malaysia  who’s passionate about money, especially if you’re a retail investor — whether you have a good or bad experience investing in stocks —  do get in touch with me at

 

 

 

 

We’d love to hear from you.

 

Don’t Get Scammed!

Don't Get Scammed!
Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels

 

We read about scams, we hear about friends getting scammed, and we always think it won’t happen to us.

 

But there are many ways to skin a cat and scammers prey on our emotions, so even people who are intelligent, streetwise, knowledgeable and (maybe they were curious) sometimes let their guard down and fall for it.

 

Like many others, I’ve received wierd messages via WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, etc.   I’ve also received phone calls from the LHDN (Inland Revenue Board).

 

And there was one time when “my uncle” sent me a message in Messenger asking me how I was.  The person had hacked into my uncle’s account, and after a brief exchange I knew it was not my uncle.

 

With so many types of scams mushrooming, one really needs to be very. discerning and alert.

 

These scammers also employ phishing attacks, so be aware of those too.

 

Besides money scam syndicates, love scam syndicates, there’s also a sea of fake gurus lurking in every corner.

 

It’s time people learn to separate the real deal from the fakes.

 

ACCESSTRADE Malaysia, a popular affiliate network, was also not spared  and in case you missed the story, read about it in the link below.

 

SCAM ALERT! ACCESSTRADE Malaysia Is Not Involved In Shopee/Lazada Online Affiliate Marketing Scams

 

It’s good that the scam victims came out to share their personal encounters.  Sharing is caring. Please learn from others’ mistakes, and do not believe that it will not happen to you.

 

Stay safe!

 

(This is a media collab with ACCESSTRADE Malaysia)

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